I miss baseball.
OK, I know what you’re thinking:
Huh? What are you talking about? Baseball season isn’t over. Game 3 of the World Series was just played tonight, and there could be as many as 4 more games. How the hell can you miss baseball when it’s still being played?!
Yes, the World Series is still taking place. But I wasn’t there at the ballpark tonight. The last game I attended was waaaaaaay back on September 30th, the Nationals’ final home game…that was over a month ago!
As awful as the Nationals’ season was, and as painful as it was to witness so many of those losses in person, I enjoyed going to the games. I had a lot of good times attending ballgames this season. I love Nationals Park. I had fun hanging out — and often commiserating — with my fellow season ticket holders seated nearby. (I’ll miss those folks when I move to my new seats next season.) I miss going to the games…I miss the Presidents Race (GO TEDDY!!)…
I miss the hotdogs…I miss the chili half smokes (served up “all the
way” with cheese, onions, and mustard) from Ben’s Chili Bowl…I miss
the funnel cakes…I miss the fireworks, and the way the stars on the scoreboard clock would blink, after a Nationals home run…hell, I even miss Screech!
I’ve got tickets for a few Washington Capitals games this season, but that won’t be the same. (At least there’s a good chance that the Caps will actually win those games.) There’s just something about seeing a baseball game in person. And that’s something I won’t be able to do for just over 5 months.
I miss baseball.
The Nationals annual Picnic in the Park event for season ticket holders took place on August 22nd at Nationals Park. As usual, it was a very enjoyable event. Fans had the opportunity to get players’ autographs, pose for pictures with players, visit the dugout, throw pitches in the bullpen, and run the bases. I have a jersey with a bunch of autographs on it, and I was able to get Adam Dunn and Nyjer Morgan, among others, to sign that jersey. Some of my photos from that day can be seen here.
I mentioned that the Nationals signed their #1 draft choice, Stephen Strasburg.
When the Nats formally introduced Strasburg to the media and fans, they invited fans to attend the press conference on the afternoon of August 21st. I took the afternoon off work so I could attend the press conference at Nationals Park. It was pretty cool!
Rain was in the weather forecast for the afternoon, but Mother Nature cooperated by keeping the rain away until the press conference had ended. We got quite a bit of rain between the end of the press conference and the start of that night’s game vs. the Brewers…and on Stephen Strasburg day, there was a rainbow over Nationals Park!
See more photos from the press conference here.
…including the Nationals 4-game winning streak.
The Nats lost to the Blue Jays on Sunday, 9-4. Shairon Martis’ on the mound was less than stellar — 6 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings of work. The game was over after the 1st inning, when the Blue Jays had a 4-0 lead. Not even a surprising 3-4 performance from Josh Bard could save the day for the Nats. The 3 runs given up by Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan in the top of the 9th inning were the nails in the coffin. For the record, the only reason I’m not calling him Suckrahan now is because his team was already down by 4 when he entered the game, so the 3 runs he gave up didn’t really matter.
Speaking of Hanrahan, I absolutely cannot figure out why he is still pitching for the Nationals rather than for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs. The only logical reason I can think of for his continued presence on the big league club is that he has some nude photographs of manager Manny Acta, acting GM Mike Rizzo, and/or team president Stan Kasten. I assume that Hanrahan is out of options, and the Nationals don’t think they could get him through waivers if they tried to send him down. But really, if some other
sucker team claims him, so what?! I don’t have anything personal against Hanrahan…he seems like a very nice guy. I met him last September at the season ticket holder Picnic in the Park, and he was very nice and very friendly. He even joked with me when I bumped into the sign with his name on it and knocked it over. (I’m a klutz….) From what I can tell, he really is a nice guy. He’s just not a major league reliever!
Next up for the Nationals in interleague play — the Red Sox. I have absolutely no idea what to expect where this series is concerned. I was convinced that the Nats would be swept by the Yankees, and they ended up winning 2 of 3 games. Will they continue their strong performances of late and win the Red Sox series, or will they revert to form and be swept? Who knows? All I can say for sure is that I’ll be at Nationals Park for all 3 games.
Interleague play returns, starting on Friday.
I have previously expressed my thoughts about it here. I still believe that it has run its course, and if we’re going to have continue to deal with it, then I still think some changes need to be made in order to keep interleague play fresh and interesting. I know a lot of baseball fans like it just as it is now; I am not one of them. Actually, it’s not that I don’t like it. I’m just over it. It’s just not that big a deal to me anymore.
This second round of interleague play differs greatly from round one for me personally, because it may just cause my brain to explode into lots of tiny pieces. Why? Because my two favorite teams will be playing each other next week. Yes, the Washington Nationals will play the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — the 16th, 17th, and 18th.
This is a huge dilemma for me. It probably shouldn’t be, but it is. The reality of this series, most likely, is that the Yankees will sweep and not fall too far behind the Red Sox in the AL.East (assuming that they haven’t regained the lead by then). As a Yankees fan, that is exactly what I should be hoping for — a sweep of the Nationals. After all, the Yankees are battling the Red Sox, and the Blue Jays too, actually, for the division lead. The Nationals are dead last in the NL East, with the worst record in baseball (again).
But…I’m also a Nationals fan.
Taking at least 2 of 3 games at Yankee Stadium would be a tremendous shot in the arm for a struggling Nationals team. It might even be enough to boost them into an actual winning streak of more than just 3 games in a row! (The Nats have won 3 straight games only once this season.)
How could I possibly root for my home team to be swept?
How could I possibly root for my other team to lose any games when they’re in a tight battle for the top spot in their division?
The last — and only — time the Nationals and Yankees faced each other in interleague play was three years ago, also on June 16-18. The Yankees won the first game; the Nationals won the second game. In the third game, Chien-Ming Wang pitched extremely well for 8 innings. But in the bottom of the 9th, with the Yankees leading 2-1, Marlon Anderson singled, and then Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off home run. Final score: Nationals 3, Yankees 2. The celebration at home plate was immortalized in a mural above the Scoreboard Walk at Nationals Park.
For many Nationals fans, this victory over the Yankees (on Father’s Day), and this series win, is one of the highlights of the Nationals brief history in Washington. I wore a Yankees cap and a Nationals t-shirt to the first game, a Nats
cap and Yankees t-shirt to the second game…and a Redskins cap and
t-shirt to the third game. I was conflicted then, and I’m conflicted now.
AAAUUUUGGHHHH!!! What am I going to do???
0-8 is the Yankees record vs. the Red Sox this season. 0-8 is also the Nationals record in extra inning games this season.
I am not happy about this state of affairs.
I can’t help but wonder how long Chien-Ming Wang will remain with the Yankees after his latest ineffective performance in a Yankees uniform in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. Throwing 69 pitches in less than 3 innings, Wang gave up 3 runs (including a home run) on 8 hits. Wang wasn’t the only reason that the Yankees lost, of course — the fact that the Yankees left 19 men on base also had a little something to do with it. But Wang’s performance was certainly disheartening, to say the least. I don’t know if it’s a mental issue, or if his foot is still bothering him. Whatever the issue is, it doesn’t seem like something that will be “fixed” by keeping him in the starting rotation.
At least Wednesday’s game was close, unlike Tuesday’s 7-0 rout by the Red Sox. The Yankees pulled within 1 run on 2 home runs, by Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira, in the 7th inning, but that was as close as they got.
In tonight’s game, the Yankees were leading the Red Sox in the 7th inning, 3-1. And if the game had ended there, they’d have been fine. But the 8th inning had to be played, and the Red Sox fought their way back to take the lead in that inning. After a single by Nick Green and a walk to Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew singled, scoring Green. Then Kevin Youkilis singled to load the bases. Jason Bay singled, and Pedroia scored. Mike Lowell drove in the game winner with a sacrifice fly, scoring Drew. And that was the end of that. Final score: Red Sox 4, Yankees 3.
On Wednesday night against the Reds, the rain began to fall at Nationals Park in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Nationals were attempting to rally and possibly win the game. Over 2 hours later, the game resumed, and the Nats managed to tie the score, sending the game into extra innings. Unfortunately, they performed the way they’ve done all season in extra innings — poorly — surrendering 2 runs in the 12th inning to lose the game. Entering the game, Ron Villone had pitched 17 scoreless innings for the Nats, and he picked a crappy time to give up his first run of the year! Jay Bruce walked, then Alex Gonzalez was safe at 1st base on Villone’s error, sending Bruce to 2nd base. A passed ball enabled Bruce to go to 3rd, and Jason Bergmann replaced Villone. All would have been well if Bergmann hadn’t given up a double to Jonny Gomes (scoring Bruce) and a single to Jerry Hairston, Jr. scoring Gomes. The Nats did not get a hit in the bottom of the 12th and fell to 0-8 in extra inning games this season.
Wonder of wonders, the Nationals managed to pull out a win in today’s game against the Reds, 3-2. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, with the bases loaded, Ryan Zimmerman hit the ball to Alex Gonzalez, who got the force at 2nd. Alberto Gonzalez slid hard into Brandon Phillips at second, as Phillips was trying to get Zimmerman out at first for the double play, and Phillips’ throw to 1st was off-target. Anderson Hernandez and Cristian Guzman scored to take a 3-2 lead. Joe Beimel pitched a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win and get his first save in a Nationals uniform.
The save was the Nationals’ first since May 24th.
The Nationals are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 2-3 in their last 5 games. Those numbers are a lot better than 0-8.
Another night, another loss for the Yankees.
Facing his former team, A.J. Burnett kept the Blue Jays hitless for 3 innings, until things fell apart in the 4th inning. By the time he was finished for the night, he had given up 5 runs on 7 hits, including a home run. There were also 3 strikeouts and 4 walks. Aside from those first three innings, the only good really thing about Burnett’s performance is that he pitched into the 8th inning, thereby not wearing out the bullpen. But giving up 5 runs is not a good thing to do when he’s going up against former teammate Roy Halladay, who just so happens to be one of the best pitchers in the American League.
On top of the loss, Derek Jeter was scratched with a sore right oblique, and Hideki Matsui left the game in the 5th inning with a tight right hamstring.
The Yankees are 3-7 in May, and have 5 wins against AL East opponents so far this season. At the rate they’re going, they really could be out of the division race by Memorial Day.
Last week, Jenn at the Phillies Phollowers blog mentioned that she had checked on ticket prices at Yankee Stadium for the Phillies series there. She was appalled at the prices. I also would like to see the new stadium, so a couple of days ago I checked the Yankees web site to see if there were any affordable tickets available for the June 18th Yankees/Nationals game. It’s a day game, so I could just take an early train up to NY from DC, take the subway to the game, and then reverse the process after the game. It would be a long day — up at 5 a.m., return home at about 1 a.m. — but it would be fun.
Not gonna happen.
The least expensive ticket I found cost $90. Ninety dollars. For a seat by the left field foul pole. A seat in a similar location at Nationals Park would cost $30. The ninety dollar seat is actually one of the cheaper prices for Yankee Stadium. As much as I’d love to see that game, there is no way in hell I’m going to spend that much money for a ticket, especially considering how much a round trip ticket on Amtrak would cost me.
I do want to see a game at Yankee Stadium sometime this season, so I’m not going to give up trying to get a reasonably priced ticket (by reasonably priced, I mean under $50) for any game. But I definitely won’t be seeing the Yankees play the Nationals in person.
No, there isn’t a new “Bad News Bears” movie in the works. But apparently, a movie will begin filming in June that involves the Washington Nationals bullpen.
Per yesterday’s Nationals Journal in the Washington Post:
The Nationals need bullpen help. In the world of fiction, they’re getting it. In fact, their newest bullpen member is probably more famous — and certainly more well-paid — than the rest of the staff combined. Not sure about his pitching ability, but hey, when did that ever become a prerequisite for membership?
Here’s the deal: Today at Dodger Stadium, numerous representatives from Sony were on site, touring the visitors’ clubhouse and chatting with some of the Nationals. Turns out, they were doing some wardrobe research for James L. Brooks’ latest film. It’s currently in pre-production, but filming, the representatives said, will begin in June. And the film’s main protagonist? He plays a relief pitcher on the Washington Nationals. And the actor playing that relief pitcher? Rumor says, it’s Owen Wilson. (Actually, I was told it’s definitely Owen Wilson; it’s just a matter of finalizing the contracts, etc.)
The film was described to me as a romantic comedy. (So they better keep ninth-inning scenes to a minimum.) But it will be filmed primarily in Washington, D.C., and it will include scenes at Nationals Park.
Oh my. This sounds like a real winner of a movie. NOT.