The Nationals open their season today, which means there are only a few more hours of innocent, hopeful bliss when everyone is convinced their team is a playoff contender.

By all accounts, Nats fans have reason to be hopeful. The team has tons of talent and on paper it could make the playoffs. But as we’ve all learned the hard way, baseball games aren’t played on paper.

You know who does play their game on paper? Journalists.

“A franchise that finally has found its way eight years after relocating from Montreal,” says Adam Kilgore.

“Washington Nationals may finally meet expectations,” heralds the headline on this Marc Fisher piece.

“With the pitching rotation they have right now, the Nats will win, or lose a close battle, in a large majority of their games,” declares Thomas Boswell.

Today we begin to find out if what is on paper means anything at all.

BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER
* Nats pitcher John Lannan has asked Mike Rizzo to be traded. He announced his intent via an emailed statement to reporters, probably because it wouldn’t fit into 140 characters.

* Howard University has suspended some of their student athletes. It is rumored that some of those students spent scholarship money meant for books on other things. Just because you can read stuff on it, doesn’t mean an iPod counts as a book.

* The Redskins might win their arbitration case against the NFL. Or, they might not.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Robert Griffin III is already asking Obama for favors.

Baylor girls won the championship, Me+Griner are set for a distant future dunk contest. Only fitting that you come be … say.ly/ExA1Ha6

— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 4, 2012

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Davey Johnson on coaching:

“People think it’s the won-loss record. No. It’s seeing these kids doing what they’re capable of doing. That’s the joy: Knowing you didn’t mess them up.”

PHOTO OF THE DAY
RGIII is making some powerful friends.


Robert Griffin III on WhoSay

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Nats season opener is on MASN at 2:20 p.m. Hello, baseball! The Caps play Florida at 7 p.m. on CSN. The Wizards play Detroit on CSN+ at 7 p.m. All TV/Radio listings are here.

THING THAT WILL MAKE YOU THINK
Carla Peay wrote a great piece about NBA players and social issues. Roger Mason said it best. “One of the great advantages of social media now is that I think athletes are definitely using their voices. [Athletes] have a great instrument to really reach out to the masses. I love what the Heat did. I think sometimes it’s tough for athletes to speak out, because I know a lot of guys want to be politically correct. At the same time, we have a great voice and a great influence in our culture. A lot of people look up to us, and it’s a responsibility that we have.”

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO WOAH
Laser guns will replace traditional air pistols in the modern pentathlon at the 2012 London Olympics. From these pics it appears they may run on AA batteries. Perhaps locating replacement batteries in a kitchen junk drawer will be one of the five events.

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