The big story this week comes not from the team itself, but from an outside source. Ex-Washington Times Nats writer Mark Zuckerman has started a new blog called Nats Insider and asked for donations from fans in order to raise $5000 to send Zuckerman to Viera, Florida to cover the Washington Nationals Spring Training independently. In close to 24 hours, he has hit his goal and gone over it. Many Nationals blogs are hailing this as an incredible success in showing the passion of the fanbase and the power of the collective Natosphere.
And it is. It’s downright pretty cool.
The NQ has been going to Spring Training for a week annually now since 2007 and have always wanted to attempt something like what Zuckerman is doing now (I know few Nats blogs who wouldn’t), but time and funds have always gotten in the way of that Great Grapefruit Dream. As the NQ prepares to embark on it’s fifth journey to the Land of Oranges and Senior Drivers, Zuckerman’s actions have inspired us to take the big plunge in 2011.
In the same vein as Mr. Zuckerman, the Nationals Inquisition has decided it is going to attempt to collect funds to go the distance to cover 2011 Nationals Spring Training and do it in true blogger/new media form. Raw, uncut and in “Oh my God, what the hell is going on?” style.
This should be an interesting experiment. Mark Zuckerman, former pro-paper guy who covered seven World Series, six MLB All-Star Games, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, two NCAA Final Fours, and a BCS National Championship rocks 2010 Nats Spring Training. In 2011, a three-year old blog with a simple yet complex Nats fan at the helm, with no major contacts, little player access and not part of, nor ever was part of the select media, goes to Viera with a camera, notebook, computer and a strange obsession looking to unlock the mysteries of Nationals Spring Training and the American Dream.
It’s sort of like Johnny Appleseed except instead of riding on a raft down the Ohio River planting apple trees we are riding on an alligator’s back through the swamp throwing baseballs. It’s true Do-It-Yourself fashion that encompasses the blogger spirit. And the blogger spirit needs to be harnessed because with all the major media downsizing or folding all together it looks like Nationals bloggers are going to be covering more and more anyways.
So let’s get this party started now.
Zuckerman asked for $5000 to complete the journey. We at NQ Headquarters have painted on the wall “D.I.Y Bloggers Do It Better For Less” and we stand by that credo so we are only going to collect $4000. We’ve worked out the numbers and found that we can survive Florida comfortably and creatively at that price.
A professional writer was able to make $5000 for his trip in roughly 24 hours. Let’s see what a good-looking, bearded, Nats fan nobody can raise in 12 months. If every visitor to the NQ donated just $2 to the cause we would be set. Or give more than $2. We won’t object.
But we’ll be highly thankful. We know it is a lot to ask in these trying times and some might even ask, “Who the hell is this guy and why this guy?” The simple answer: because I am willing to do it. Many say they want to, but those many never take that leap. Thanks to Zuckerman’s story, the NQ is willing to take a jump off the cliff. It won’t be easy and all I can promise you is a new, unique perspective that we haven’t seen printed a hundred times out in a Washington newspaper. We might not even make our goal, but it needs to be tried because nothing has ever stopped Nationals bloggers before. This is what blogging is all about and what it was meant for.
All donations will be and are appreciated. This is relatively new territory for a Nats blog of our stature so Lord knows what sort of shenanigans is going to come out of this, but here is hoping that in 2011 we together will start an Endless Spring.
If anyone has any questions pertaining to this adventure, please feel free to e-mail the NQ at firstname.lastname@example.org.