Thursday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. ET


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Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2008; 2:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Barry Svrluga was online Thursday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. ET to take your questions about Roger Clemens's testimony before Congress, Nationals pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and more.

A transcript follows.


Barry Svrluga: Greetings, Nationals fans. Welcome to our first chat of 2008. I realize the gigantic image on the front of your sports section was of a 45-year-old (ostensibly former) pitcher and two lawyers, one wagging his finger. And obviously, we can talk about Clemens-McNamee-Waxman-Davis, et al, if you want.

However, pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Fla., tomorrow. It's cold up here, but warm down there. I wouldn't mind stickin' to the field, if y'all oblige.

Either way, let's get at it.


20005: Barry, how unhappy is Felipe Lopez playing in D.C.? It seems to me like he is miserable and that even if the team wanted to sign him long-term after a decent year, he would be highly unlikely to want to sign here after this season if he has any other options. I imagine the arbitration hearing only contributed to his unhappiness. What do you think?

Barry Svrluga: This is an interesting point. Lopez had the worst offensive season of his career last year, a .245 average and .308 on-base percentage. Most members of the club brass believe he is talented. He admits he struggled last year, and has said -- and I expect will repeat this spring -- that he will turn it around.

I don't believe, though, that his moping has anything to do with Washington in particular. It seems to me, and people with the club have mentioned this, that he's the kind of guy that lets a slump get away from him. When he's not going well, he doesn't play as hard, and the whole thing snowballs.


Arlington, Va.: Barry,

Dmitri Young was definitely the surprise player of the year for the Nats last year. Who do you think has the best chance of surprising (in a positive way) this season?

Barry Svrluga: An interesting question, and there are many possibilities. I'd hope, for the club's sake, that it's one of the young(er) pitchers, a Hill or a Bergmann or even a Balester or a Detwiler. Though the pitching casting call is whittled down this year, if the club is going to contend for postseason berths in 2009 or 2010, some of these guys have to remain healthy and pitch effectively. They have to show that they can be valuable pieces of the future.

So I'll cast my lot with Shawn Hill. It's no secret I think his sinker is the most intriguing pitch on the staff, one that's mezmerizing. Give him 30 starts, and I'd be surprised if the numbers weren't quite impressive.


Fort Washington : Did the Nats make any attempt to aquire Livan? Are there any other vetran pitchers on the Nats radar?

Barry Svrluga: An interesting question. Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News reported last month that Hernandez was telling other interested clubs he had a one-year offer from the Nats. My reporting said that wasn't true, and all the indications I get is that the club is ready and willing to go to spring training with a cast of potential starters named Patterson, Hill, Bergmann, Chico, Redding, Clippard, Balester and Lannan, with maybe a Mock or a Detwiler mixed in.


Yudley Harbor, Va.: So, any reporting on whether Lo Duca is going to be hit with a sizeable suspension based on the Mitchell Report? Selig made a lot of noise about imposing appropriate discipline when the report was published and, reading the thing fairly, he seems like the most incriminated active player in there.

Barry Svrluga: Lo Duca, by keeping his silence all winter, has created a situation where his mere arrival at spring training is going to be major news. Our own Dave Sheinin is on the ground in Viera, and he reports no Lo Duca sightings yet. But when he arrives, we will absolutely deal with the question of whether or not he could be suspended. You're right: Selig definitely left open the possibility, and that's one storyline that could affect many teams over the course of the spring.


Nats Park: Barry, did Clemens ever explain what he believes he supposedly said to Pettitte in 1999? I didn't hear it.

Barry Svrluga: Yes. He said that in 1999 he mentioned HGH in a conversation with Pettitte as it pertained to a television show or perhaps a newspaper article he had read in which aging men used it to stay more accurate.

Pettitte's testimony, however, said that Clemens spoke of his own HGH use in 1999 or 2000, and that by 2005, Clemens had changed his story. Pettitte said he didn't believe the change in Clemens's story, but didn't push his friend because he didn't want to argue with him.


Chantilly, Va.: Woohoo! I have no question, I just wanted to say that the best thing I've seen on The Post Web site for weeks is "Baseball, Barry Svrluga" under "discussions". Spring is almost here!

Barry Svrluga: Tremendous, Chantilly. Glad to bring some warmth to you.


DJ: Already have a Ryan Zimmerman jersey, but looking to get another one. Which player on the Nationals right now would you recommend getting (think long-term)? Thanks.

Barry Svrluga: This is an interesting question, and I think you're right to think long-term. I think Lastings Milledge is the call. Some people doubt his talent and think his attitude will cause him to stray. But I have to tell you, almost every single New York writer who's been around the Mets -- and I've asked almost all of them -- say, "Good dude," when asked about Milledge. Yes, they allow that he was immature at times, and he has arrived at games an hour before first pitch, and that has to stop.

But if he can mature, he could be a long-term member of this team, one that helps it contend for the postseason.


Bozland: Hey Barry is Boz okay? I was looking forward to seeing a juicy column from him this morning talking about why Clemens is a cheater and liar.

Barry Svrluga: Boz is fine, and I'm sure he thanks you for your concern. He is on an extended vacation following baseball postseason into the NFL season into the Sean Taylor tragedy into a Skins coaching search. I am almost certain his next column will come with a Viera dateline.


Infield Gallery: Barry:

If both Meat Hook and Nick Johnson are healthy, can we see a platoon at first or are both too "veteran" to expect that to occur? And, if both are healthy, could we see one of them traded, let's say the Yankees, and keep the other for another year with hopes that Marrero is ready to play full time? Does either contract dictate who is more likely to be traded?

Barry Svrluga: I've said it before, but I think this is the central issue for the Nationals in this spring training.

The contracts:

Dmitri Young is signed at $5M for '08, $5M for '09 with a $6M option for '10 that vests based on a tremendous number of plate appearances the previous two years.

Nick Johnson is signed at $5.5M for '08 and $5.5M for '09.

My guess -- and at this point, it's just a guess -- is that one of them will be traded if Johnson shows that he's healthy. My further guess is that if that's the case, the traded guy will be Johnson, because he is more valuable to another team and because the Nationals have pitched the idea of Young as a mentor to Elijah Dukes, who apparently needs some structure to turn around his life.

Here's a clue: There are two bobblehead nights at Nationals Park this year. One is for Ryan Zimmerman. The other is for Dmitri Young. Makes you wonder.


Savala, Ga.: Have you heard which Nationals have already arrived down in Viera?

Barry Svrluga: Yeah, there's a bunch. I've been in touch with Nick Johnson, who arrived Sunday, as well as John Patterson, who arrived that same day. Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico and some other pitchers have rolled in.

Sheinin reported that the clubhouse was pretty empty today. That'll change in coming days.


Section 111 (formerly 223): Barry-

What's your projected opening day line-up/rotation? Also who are some of the sleepers in camp (Elijah Dukes, Collin Balester, etc?) Thanks.

Barry Svrluga: All right, I'll put myself out there:

Lopez -- 2B

Lo Duca -- C

Zimmerman -- 3B

Johnson/Young -- 1B (Johnson if both are still on the team)

Kearns -- RF

Pena -- LF

Milledge -- CF

Guzman -- SS


(With several caveats, I suppose, such as Milledge could hit second or Guzman could hit first or Belliard might beat out Lopez.)

Rotation: Hill, Patterson, Bergmann, Chico, Redding.


Washington, D.C.: Do you think Paul LoDuca used steroids or performance enhancing drugs? What can/should he say at spring training to put the issue behind him and focus on the season ahead?

Barry Svrluga: I think the evidence in the Mitchell Report -- which includes hand-written notes from Lo Duca to former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski -- would point to Lo Duca's use of PEDs.

I also think that what we've learned through all this is that if guys did it, they should admit it, because the public generally lets them off the hook then. If you recall, the day after the Mitchell Report's release, I talked to former Nats catcher Gary Bennett, who admitted his involvement -- a one-time use of HGH, purchased from Radomski, he said.

I talked to Bennett perhaps a week later, just to see what the reaction was. He said it had been almost completely favorable.

If Lo Duca did it, it would seem the best strategy would be to admit it.


Centreville, Va.: What will Manny Acta's toughest decision be this Spring?

Barry Svrluga: Panera or the Asian noodle place?

Hmmm. I think it will be the first base situation, unless Jim Bowden is able to make a trade. I may be naive (bite your tongues), but I believe Nick Johnson will be ready to play. I saw him work out for two days in his home town of Sacramento a month ago, and he looked really good. He'll have to get his timing back at the plate, etc., but Acta knows he's an important on-base percentage guy.

That said, Young had an outstanding 2007 and is a professional hitter. How Acta handles all this will be fascinating.


New York: I think you're seriously discounting Milledge's issues. His rap enterprise continues to produce increasingly violent and misogynist material. D.C. will be a tough market for him to avoid controversy in.

Barry Svrluga: Indeed, the hip-hop song is his greatest transgression to this point. Very offensive. And yes, that will be worth watching.


Washington, D.C.: Will there be single-game tickets available for the opener?

If so, any idea how many?


Barry Svrluga: The Nationals announced earlier this week that season-ticket holders will have the right to buy Opening Night tickets prior to the general public. But the club has not yet announced (and won't for probably another month) how many season tickets they have sold.

My guess is there will be tickets available for that night, March 30 against the Braves. But it's tough to say how many right now. If you want to make sure you get them, either buy season tickets (channeling Stan Kasten now) or befriend a season-ticket holder and have them purchase a couple for you before the general public gets their hands on them.


Chevy Chase, Md.: Barry,

I'm going to make a potentially unpopular post here, but I think it is time in the wake of the comments about the bobbleheads on Nationals Journal before all the Clemens posts came. And I start with a DISCLAIMER that there are fans like me who have my experience or a similar story and don't fall in to what I'm about to describe, yet there are plenty more who do whether they admit it or not.

I have lived in D.C. and the Maryland suburbs my entire life, and until 2005, rooted for the Baltimore Orioles. I still do. Unlike some other Nationals fans, I can't just give up the Orioles, though I do hate Peter Angelos and what he has done to that franchise. I am also a fan of the Nationals. I've been going to games for years, keep score at every single one, and am (slowly) visiting every MLB stadium. I know the game fairly well, can "play" manager or GM, and can have intelligent baseball conversation in the stands at the ballpark.

It appears to me that most Nationals "fans" have had little interest in baseball prior to 2005, based on the fact they don't understand the game (not knowing a bad play when they see one) or management (i.e. Let's keep Soriano), and a sense of entitlement concerning promotions and everything else imaginable (i.e. the recent bobblehead commenting or that the Nats should always play at home on July 4th). They complain about everything possible, seem to be unable to realize most traditions that have been at RFK over the past few years are borrowed from elsewhere ("Sweet Caroline" is played at Fenway Park, hopefully not at the new stadium). The fans show up late and leave early consistently. Is this really what the future of baseball in Washington holds in terms of its fan base? Fair weather fans with little to no understanding of the game who complain endlessly about every perceived "injustice" against them and borrowing traditions from the other 29 stadiums?

Perhaps Peter Angelos was right when questioning if D.C. has "real" fans. So, my questions are:

1. Do you agree with my perception that the Nationals fan base is starting to earn a bad reputation in baseball?

2. When will the new Nationals fans take the time to learn how the game really works and learn it, instead of continuing their current antics?

3. Do the fans in other cities actually complain about simply ridiculous things such as what national holidays are home dates and how many bobbleheads are distributed?


Barry Svrluga: Well, Chevy Chase, you're right about one thing: That's not likely to be popular around here.

I'll largely stay away from this one, other than to say I have had far more moments at RFK the past three years thinking, "Wow, lots of fans recognized the importance of that play," than, "They have no idea what's going on."


Transportation: Does Kasten prefer that I take Metro to the game or look for a parking spot?

Kidding aside, I wish these naysayers would stop whining about parking and take the train or walk from Capitol South area. There aren't many stadiums around baseball that have thousands of parking spaces right next to the stadium, especially stadiums within the city confines. And remember people, this stadium location was brought to you by Selig and his cronies, not the Lerners.

Barry Svrluga: The stadium locale was also brought to you by the government of the District of Columbia.

And yes, that will be Kasten wandering around downtown with the sandwich board that says, "Metro: It's your friend."

I would, though, add that the parking situation is very important, even though there are other parks in other cities where it can be difficult. This is a developing franchise, one that needs to build a fan base almost from scratch. It cannot afford to have many reasons for potential fans to say, "Nah, I'd rather sit at home."

I've done the walk from Capitol South, by the way. It's doable, though I'd rather do it with 1,000 friends or so than solo.


Infield Gallery: I read the Nats have redesigned Screech to look more like an eagle. Have they redesigned Clint to look unemployed?

Barry Svrluga: I can't believe I've hung on to this for so long:

I have heard that Clint will not only return in 2008 (easy, easy, sit down. Come on now, calm down) but he could have a larger role.

So there's that.


Boston: Why is it that so many sports reporters and commentators were hoping to see Clemen's come out well in these hearings, and drowning in shock and disappointment when he doesn't? I can't recall anyone ever wanting Barry Bonds to come out well in anything. Why is a tainted home run record so much more offensive than half-a-dozen tainted World Series? Will reporters ever admit that 90 percent of the vitriol directed at Bonds was because he isn't nice to you guys? And does Pettitte deserve to be roundly booed in every stadium in the country from now on?

Barry Svrluga: There is absolutely no question that the vitriol spewed at Bonds comes in part from his demeanor and attitude, not only toward reporters (though that is significant) but toward his teammates at times. Clemens has, for the most part, had a very good relationship with reporters.

I didn't, however, notice writers rooting for Clemens to succeed yesterday. In fact, many columnists I read this morning -- including Mike Wise in the Post -- believe Clemens is lying. Interesting that you would have the opposite perspective.


Washington, D.C.: Say it ain't so?!?!?! Are you really leaving the baseball beat and going to cover the Redskins? Good luck and thanks for the solid Nats coverage!

Barry Svrluga: This is, in fact, true ... eventually. This transition, though, will be gradual. Dave Sheinin, our national baseball scribe, will chart the first 10-12 days in Viera, beginning today. I'll arrive down there on Feb. 25. And presumably, our permanent replacement on the beat -- who has not yet been hired -- will replace me at some point.

We'll make the transition as smooth as possible, and I'm sure we'll get a great person in place.


Baltimore: Just before you came on the Kornheiser show this morning, I heard Tony say Clemens doesn't look any different now than he did before. Maybe from the neck up. I would like someone to compare pre-1998 and post-1998 pictures. His legs have gotten bigger. And since power pitcher's strength comes from their legs, I think this is circumstantial evidence that Clemens used performance enhancing drugs.

Barry Svrluga: Body change is an interesting part of all this, though I'd be careful about making assumptions because of it. I do, though, think you're right. There are some changes in Clemens's body around that time, though I don't think they're as dramatic as those of Bonds or others.

And you're right about so much of Clemens's power coming from his leg. It's his legs that help him keep his arm so healthy for all this time, too.


Nuts for Nationals: Wow. Lopez over Belliard in your lineup. Really?

Barry Svrluga: I've been going with that for a while, though I'm well aware that Belliard had a far better year last season, and in fact I've become a fan of his. I like how he plays, and he's good in the clubhouse too. I can't say the same about Lopez.

The reason I give the nod to Lopez is because I believe the club is trying to light a fire under him and that they believe he is more talented. That said, if he tanks in spring training, he'll be on the bench. Just call it a hunch of mine.


Rosslyn, Va.: The Nationals announce signings out of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic in January of 2007, but I haven't seen anything comparable so far this year. Is this a function of them just not reporting it or are they not presently making any signings?

Barry Svrluga: The signing date for Venezuelan and Dominican and other players from the Caribbean and South America is actually July 2. I know that the Nationals had scouting director Dana Brown in the Dominican at least twice in the last month seeing prospective free agents down there. It's an area Stan Kasten calls "the wild, wild west," because it's almost like college recruiting -- only you can pay them big bucks.

I'd expect the Nats to be in play for some of the studs down there. Doesn't mean they'll land 'em, but I think they'll try.


Anonymous: Barry,

How can believing or not believing whether a grown man took an illegal substance break down along party lines? Is Roger Clemens a big Republican donor? Would these same Congressman/women be fitting Barry Bonds for his Hall of Fame hat if he was in the Rocket's seat yesterday.

Barry Svrluga: That was striking, wasn't it? Both Waxman (D-Calif.) and Davis (R-Va.) denied that was the case after yesterday's hearing. But when the most memorable exchanges were Dan Burton (R-Ind.) scolding McNamee and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) railing against Clemens as unbelievable, and then others fell in line behind them, it seemed like something was up.

I know the Clemens camp thought of it that way. It was suggested to me by one member of that camp that it's one of the reasons they wanted Clemens to testify. They didn't want a report produced by the majority (i.e., Waxman's Democrats) because they thought the majority wasn't behind their guy.


Washington, D.C.: Barry, welcome back. What are your predictions about which Nats player is the winner in each category:





First hit in Nationals Park

First homer in Nationals Park

Barry Svrluga: I'll go with Zimmerman for homers and RBI, Lopez for stolen bases, Hill for wins, Zimmerman for first hit and Zimmerman for first homer.

You think I think Zimmerman's going to have a big year?


Silver Spring, Md.: Many posters on Nationals Journal have been complaining about the uneven and sometimes superficial quality of Nats coverage in the paper.

I've tried not to harp on that theme myself, but the critics do have a point. Now, let it be said that you yourself do all that can be asked, given that you're one guy who answers to an editor.

But where are the big guns? Either (a) spinning on the Redskins or (b) trying to turn 15th and L into ESPN South.

I could turn this into a litany of all the things I'd like to hear about and am not. Maybe, in fact, that would be more constructive, but others have tried and would seem not to be succeeding.

If the Post's editorial policy were "We're All About the Redskins, With Filler from Other and Lesser Sports as Needed," they couldn't do a finer job of fulfilling it. Too bad, say I. What say you? What am I missing?

Barry Svrluga: This is a difficult question for me to answer, I suppose, because I'm right in the middle of it and would probably sound defensive if I, well, defended the paper.

But I'll try anyway.

Indeed, all indications the Post's editors and writers get -- both anecdotal and scientific -- is that the Redskins are the paper's biggest draw for sports. The rest of the sports subjects -- including the Wizards and G'Town hoops and Maryland, etc. -- fight for No. 2, and the Nationals have been right in the middle of that fight since they arrived.

It is a fact that we have one columnist, the unmatched Thomas Boswell, who is comfortable with and even excels at writing baseball. Wilbon has told me he just doesn't feel comfortable with the subject, nor does Mike Wise, though he has been out a few times. That puts a lot of pressure on Boz to write Nats a lot, and during the season, he does -- and he loves it.

I would argue, though, that the coverage isn't "superficial." I understand people probably wanted more offseason stories on the Nats than I produced this offseason, and indeed, that's my responsibility. But I'd like to think that when we hit, we hit with some substance -- such as recent stories on Johnson's recovery or Jack McGeary's experiment. I'd also point out, again at the risk of sounding defensive, that I had more bylines than any reporter at the Post last year, which is not to say that I'm working any harder, it's only to say that there have been tons of stories on the Nats.

At any rate, I understand the complaints, or at least try to. I've said it before: I think we're developing as a baseball paper, and I think we'll get better. My editor and I fought for more space for baseball in 2005, and we got it. I think we'll continue to evolve -- for the better.


Best Questions Ever: Are the Nats really on top of everything and thusly do you expect Opening Night to be a success entertainment/customer-service wise?

What level of capacity (season-long) is considered successful for a new stadium? Is Camden Yards a good comparison?

Barry Svrluga: If Camden Yards is a good comparison, they better be sold out every game. I don't think anybody's predicting that.

I would say that I expect Opening Night to be a success -- in large part because it has to be. But there are other things working in its favor. It's a Sunday, so the traffic getting into the city and around the park will be reduced. It's a night game, so there's an entire day to fix up little problems between the March 29 exhibition game and the March 30 opener.

The bigger test, I believe, will be the homestand a week later, when the games will be on weeknights and people will really get a sense of what getting to the park and getting out is like.

(Did I mention: Take Metro!)


Silver Spring, Md.: Chevy Chase may be right about one thing in his post. I believe the fans at Camden Yards are very knowledgeable about baseball. They're all Yankees and Red Sox fans, after all.

Barry Svrluga: Touche.


Chevy Chase comment: I understand his point, and I align with him to a certain extent (root for the O's as well as the Nats, can keep score, but would not attempt to "play" manager), however, I would give the Washington fans a little more leeway. It takes years to make a baseball fan. There are so many levels to the game and I think it can be enjoyed at so many levels. While I think I am fairly sophisticated, for example, I get a real education watching a game with my father, who used to coach baseball. And for the final game at RFK, I sat in front of three actual professional statisticians. It was fascinating to eavesdrop on their conversations (talk about an only-in-Washington moment!).

However, I love watching the kids soak up the atmosphere and play with their bobbleheads, even if they are marginally interested in the game. If they keep coming, one year they will be duitfully filling in the scorecard, too.

Barry Svrluga: One of Stan Kasten's mantras is that if you're marketing just to hardcore baseball fans, you're limiting your audience, and the idea of this venture is not to limit your audience. That means that if the Nats are successful attendance-wise, they'll draw families with kids hardly paying attention to the game, college kids there to hang out in the bars (and there are many) as well as people who are passionate about the game.


Section 218: There has been no word of late concerning Ryan Zimmerman's recovery from that broken bone in his hand this past winter. Is it safe to say he will be 100 percent or will this be another instance where a player shows up and camp -- the team states he's not ready -- for another month.

Barry Svrluga: No, I've been in touch with Zimmerman on and off over the course of the offseason, and he reports he's doing fine. He has been in Florida for the past month and is working out, swinging. I'd be surprised if there was a setback, but like you, I'm anxious to see him with my own eyes.


Springfield, Va.: How much practice time will the Nats have at the new stadium before the season starts? I would think they would need to find out what the nuances of the new stadium are before they start playing games there.

Barry Svrluga: The answer: None. Well, I guess a day. They'll get in and play an exhibition against the Orioles on Sat., March 29 and then play the next night against Atlanta.


Northern VA: I know who Screech is -- he's the chicken, right? -- but who's Clint?

Barry Svrluga: Anyone want to provide the answer?


AU Park: Do you think that Clemens will actually go forward with his defamation suit against McNamee? Wouldn't that just open him up to more charges of perjury?

Barry Svrluga: His lawyers indicated yesterday that they would continue with that case. And if the lawyers were really concerned about perjury, you'd think they wouldn't have trotted him out in front of the committee.


Tenleytown: What's next for Roger Clemens?

Barry Svrluga: This is an interesting question. Waxman left open the possibility that he and Davis would recommend Justice get involved in the case (and I don't mean David). But he certainly was non-commital about that. He also mentioned that it doesn't take a referral from the committee to have that happen; Justice could decide it's something that it wants to pursue on its own.

The other possibility: Nothing. It's really possible that Clemens is never investigated by the Feds, and he ambles toward the horizon, his reputation open to interpretation.


Arlington, Va.: Just to be contrarian here, what is wrong with HGH and other stuff? We don't complain about the stuff about workouts during the winter (the old story) nor the fact that the equipment is far different than that which Ty Cobb or even Joe DiMaggio used. In other words, anything that enhances performance is acceptable enough and, like Bill James, just measure the performance and be done with it.

Barry Svrluga: There are people who believe in this, that folks should just be allowed to inject themselves with whatever they want, and the playing field would be level. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing Wednesday, however, in which medical experts testified that HGH and anabolic steroids can be very harmful. One labeled it a major public health problem.

But it's a very interesting debate.


Viera?: It's a long weekend. Anything worth going to see down there as a fan? Or should I wait till the games start?

Barry Svrluga: This weekend would not be good. The first workout isn't till Sunday. The guys have physicals on Saturday, and you might catch a few throwing or taking BP for a while. But I'd wait. The best thing about the workouts before games start is that the guys are pretty accessible. But for really interesting stuff, I'd go down in March, take in the minor leaguers working out in the morning and then catch a game or two.


Barry Svrluga: OK, I'll answer it: Clint is the 20-something dude who paraded around RFK Stadium throwing t-shirts into the crowd and leading the "Nat Pack." Because of RFK's sound system, he was hard to hear, and certain people (not saying who) found him unbelievably annoying. Or at least that's what some people have told me.


New York: Do sportswriters understand how many hundreds of thousands of (at least) men actively work out and have understood for years that "all" is a closer approximation to the number of MLB-ers who have used anabolic steroids and/or HGH than is the Mitchell 50, or even 5 or 6 times that number? Do sportswriters understand how transparent the morphological changes associated with steroids and/or HGH are, to those of us who concentrate on our bodies?

Barry Svrluga: And with that, we'll close our first chat of 2008. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions.

Make sure you stay tuned to Nationals Journal for news and analysis -- from Dave Sheinin in Viera starting tomorrow, and then from yours truly when I get down there in 10 days or so.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy pitchers and catchers!


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