It was so fun interviewing Heather Zimmerman, Matt Nadel, and Meggie Zahneis that I decided to interview another really interesting person for this Matt’s Bats Chat. As almost all of NatsTown knows, we are very lucky to have reporters and broadcasters who are so entertaining to listen to, read and watch talk about the Nationals. I had the great chance to talk to Amanda Comak, the Nats’ beat writer for the Washington Times. I asked her about how she got interested in baseball and the life of a newspaper reporter. She said some really interesting things about being a journalist, including two things that made me gasp. (I’ll point it out in the interview).
Last week, I met Amanda briefly while waiting for autographs at Tradition Field in Port Saint Lucie, FL before the Nationals-Mets spring training game. I only talked to her for a few seconds but she seemed very compassionate. So, now let me introduce you to Amanda Comak! As the season started a few days ago, I’ll say “It all starts… RIGHT NOW!!!”
MB: Did you study journalism in college?
That said, the variety is part of what makes this job so great. You never know what you’re going to see on any given night at a ballpark. That’s part of what makes baseball, and sports in general, so great, and what makes telling those stories such a privilege.
MB: It must be really exciting to get to travel with the team. Do you like doing that?
My take on it has always been that it comes down to respect and professionalism. If you carry yourself professionally and treat those around you with respect and in a professional manner, it shouldn’t matter what gender you are or what you’re covering. I’m there to do my job, just like the players are, and if you treat people with respect, they will most often return the favor.
I am allowed inside the clubhouse whenever any other media is allowed, including before and after games, as are all women, and I have never been singled out for my gender during my time covering the Nationals.
MB: When did you become a Nats fan?
Most beat writers will tell you that they grew up as a fan of a specific team, but once you get into this business, that part of being a fan must fade away if you’re going to be able to do your job well and remain objective. I am still a fan of the game of baseball, though, in a larger sense and always will be.
MB: Do you think one of the guys in the rotation will throw the team’s first no-hitter?
AC: I do think trading Michael Morse was a good move, though I think he will be missed in the clubhouse. Once Adam LaRoche returned, though, Morse became a valuable piece for the Nationals to replenish some of their prospect pool.
I don’t get a chance to do it much during the season, but I love to cook and I like to try new recipes in the offseason. I also love cooking competition shows, like Bravo’s Top Chef and Food Network’s Chopped.
I am also a dog lover, though my schedule prevents me from having one right now, and hope to have a golden retriever (or any dog, really) in the future.
This is somewhat journalism related, I suppose, but I also absolutely love to read. I think it’s one of the best ways to become a better writer, so it’s important, but I also really enjoy it.
I am looking for more people to interview for my blog. If you know of other people who would answer some questions from me, you can send an email to web[@]mattsbats.com. Thanks!
The team plane left Viera and landed in DC Thursday night. For Nats fans, Opening Day was around the corner and we were about to see GAMES THAT COUNT!! The last time we saw the Nationals win was when Charlie Slowes made his famous “Swing and a Long Drive! Deep Left Field! Going, going, it’s gone!!!! The Nationals have won the game, 2-1!!!” call. But the next day we didn’t make it due to bad luck caused by the Saint Louis Cardinals. And baseball ended for Nats fans for about 5 months.
But after the season ends, the players have their calendars marked for one day: Opening Day. That day is where the players try to get off to a fresh start. No injuries. No slumps. Just baseball.
It’s also fan day at the ballpark. On Opening Day, you can meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a while and talk with them. (I also met some of my Twitter followers like @Smeshie, @TheRealFrankL, @DavidMorris9656, @RedPorchReport, @jonfeng1, @laineydel12, and many more were there too). Yesterday at Nationals Park, 45,274 people came to cheer for the Nats! The game had the largest attendance rate for a Regular Season game in the history of Nationals Park and only a little less than last year’s playoff games!
Right off the the bat, I predicted the Nats would SQUISH THE FISH in the season opener. Nationals Opening Day starter, Stephen Strasburg, gave up a single to Juan Pierre in the first inning. F.P. Santangelo must’ve said “There Goes The No-Hitter!” for the first time on MASN. But Stras recovered in time to avoid damage. First, he retired Chris Coghlan. Second, Strasburg was very lucky that the got Giancarlo Stanton out. Then, he got veteran Placido Polanco out to retire the side.
The last home run hit by a Nat in 2012 was Michael Morse, as he took Adam Wainwright deep into the opposing bullpen on October 12 (Game 5 of NLDS). Put that back in history. In his first opening day, Eye-Black Man smacked a looping change into section 140. He showed the lighter side of the MLB how to hit a homer, served medium rare with a side of #NATITUDE!!! And then, in the 4th, the ball Bryce Harper hit basically pretended he was Bob Carpenter and said “See. You. Later” to Ricky Nolasco’s 6th pitch. Bryce hit another tater into the right field stands. The league leader in home runs, folks, is #34 Bryce Harper! You barely t see where it landed until you heard the “A-Wooga! A-Wooga!” of the submarine horn. It cleared the bullpen. It was an absolute bomb off the Kid’s bat.
Without the exceptional arms of Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos, Adam LaRoche, and Danny Espinosa, the Nats wouldn’t of made the awesome 7-2-3-4-2 double play in the 7th inning. Rob Brantly flew out to Bryce Harper. (7) Bryce threw it to Ramos. (2) Ramos saw that Placido Polanco was trying to advance to second, so he threw it to Adam LaRoche. (3) Laroche couldn’t get Polanco, so he threw the poor little ball to Danny. (4) Danny fired it to Ramos again, who tagged the great (and surprisingly speedy) Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. All on the same play! It ended the inning for the Nats, and stopped Miami from causing any damage.
Talk about recovery. Stephen Strasburg threw 7 scoreless innings, and gave up only 3 hits. We all cheered when Tyler Clippard came on. We also clapped and danced to “Pitch Soriano” when they announced new closer #29 Rafael Soriano.
I also want to give a shout-out to @MattsBats follower and Nationals center fielder Denard Span for getting his first hit as a Nat! I hope he has many more to come.
My dad, my brother, and I scored opening day. My dad scored the whole game; My brother and I did partial due to viewing issues (we left our seats when it started to rain and got chicken fingers).
The lucky number around Nats Park: 1. 1st Opening Day for Bryce Harper. 1st season without any limit for Stras. 1st game of 2013. 1st time there were that many fans at the game. 1st hit by Denard Span in a Nats uni. And of course, Rafael Soriano’s first save for the Nats. He closed the came perfectly with a flyout and 2 backwards Ks, including getting Giancarlo Stanton to look at a fastball right in the middle of the plate. The submarine horn sounded at Nats park on the gloomy but wonderful day of April 1. The Nats won their season opener against the Miami Marlins, 2-0.
|The 2013 Nationals celebrate their first win of the season!|
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