So Santangelo figured it would make sense for him to stay in California after the Giants series, missing just one six-game homestand before rejoining the team in Philadelphia.

Fans, though, freaked out. Throughout the weekend series against the Mets and Monday’s opener against the Braves, I received untold numbers of e-mails and tweets asking me about Santangelo’s whereabouts. One local blogger wrote to me that his site has been “bombarded with hits from Google, Bing, all day, with people asking that question.” And fans have also peppered Santangelo’s Twitter account with the same question; he said he’s gotten dozens of messages a night.

“It’s just blown up, every night — where are you, we miss you, are you ok, my husband wanted me to ask you if you’re all right,” he told me in a brief conversation Tuesday afternoon. “It’s been flattering and overwhelming.”

By staying in California, Santangelo got to celebrate his daughter Summer’s 15th birthday. He’s spent time hitting fungos to his 17-year old son, F.P. Jr. He’s spent some time relaxing, but also watched intently as the Nats took two of three from the Mets and beat the Braves in 13 innings on Monday.

“Every inning, every night,” he said. “I haven’t taken an inning off. I’m addicted to this team like everyone else.”

When he made the plans to stay home, it wasn’t clear just how big this Braves series would be, and Santangelo said he now feels somewhat guilty being away from Nats Park. But he also was surprised by the massive interest in his absence.

“I didn’t realize it was this big a deal, but it’s kind of nice, right?” he said. “You don’t always know what people think about you. You’re just going up there to try to inform people and analyze stuff.”

Anyhow, Santangelo will leave home on Thursday and be in Philadelphia Friday for the start of the Nats’ five-game road trip. So climb in off the ledge, everyone.


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