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.
However, two sources indicated that the steroids seized at the Thomas house aren’t the variety typically used by athletes who are subject to regular drug testing. The steroids itemized in the arrest affidavits generally stay in the system for a relatively long period of time.
“It is more the veterninary type steroids and not the nice commercially compounded stuff,” one of the sources said.
This makes me even more suspicious of these so-called dealers than I already was. Mind you, I am not naive enough to believe that every player in the Washington Nationals (or Caps too, for that matter) organization is completely clean. As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t be surprised if several players were using some sort of PED…from star players to the marginal players. But I have my doubts about Thomas’ claims. Is he looking for his 15 minutes of fame? Is he withholding the names of his alledged customers so he can make a deal with prosecutors? (“Give me a shorter sentence, and I’ll name names….”) And why the Nationals and the Capitals? Is he a Mets and Penguins fan with an agenda? Who knows?
Busted Steroids Dealer Says He Sold to Caps, Nats
Washington Post, 5/27/2009
A man arrested in Florida yesterday for possession of anabolic steroids bragged to law enforcement officials that he has sold the performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, including those on the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals, according to a report from Tampa Bay Online.
The report said investigators aren’t sure if Richard Thomas of Lakeland, Fla., is telling the truth when he claimed he’s central Florida’s biggest steroid provider and sold to Capitals and Nationals players. Thomas did not name specific athletes, the report said.
The arrest of Thomas and his wife, Sandra, was announced last night by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd at a 10 p.m. news conference. Judd said $200,000 in illegal steroids were seized by detectives.
“The only thing he said specifically was he sold to the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals,” Judd said. “We asked him because we knew that would create a firestorm on two more occasions because we don’t want to be quoted as saying that. Richard Thomas told us that he sold steroids to ballplayers on those teams. Now, is that one ballplayer? Or is it two ballplayers? We don’t know.”…
I don’t mean to make light of this situation, because, if Thomas’ claims are true, this will be some serious sh*t. But really…if the 13-33 Nats are juicing, then they really should get their money back, because THE ‘ROIDS AREN’T HELPING.
On a more serious note, I would not be surprised if Adam Dunn and/or Elijah Dukes are found to be using steroids. Disappointed yes, surprised no. I would, however, be extremely shocked and disappointed to hear that Ryan Zimmerman was juicing.
One important point to keep in mind is that this drug dealer didn’t happen to mention when he supposedly sold steroids to players for the Nats and Caps. Assuming his claims are true, he could have sold them to players who are no longer with the teams.
Nats’ reactions to this story:
Nats React To Steroid Claims
Washington Post, 5/27/2009
By the time the Nats reported to Citi Field this afternoon, most had read or heard about the Lakeland, Fla., man who claims he sold performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, including players on the Nationals and Capitals. But even the players who had an interest in the story still didn’t know the specifics.
“It’s just, what else can happen to us?” Adam Dunn said. “It’s just kind of piling on. Again, to me that is the last thing I’m worried about, some guy saying whatever he said about us.”
Mostly, players met the news with a mix of puzzlement and amusement. One quipped that all 25 players recently had dinner at Thomas’s Lakeland home.
“Look at that guy’s arms,” joked Austin Kearns said, motioning to teammate Josh Willingham. “Ask him about the steroids.”
Kearns, turning serious, then said, “I don’t really have a reaction. I don’t know who it is, I don’t know what he’s talking about or who he’s talking about. I just heard about it five minutes ago. I can’t even remember the guy’s name.”
At least a half-dozen former Washington players have been formally connected to performance-enhancing drugs, and current relief pitcher Ron Villone was named in the Mitchell Report. The Nationals are holding off on concern about Thomas’s claims, though, until Major League Baseball’s investigative unit gives them a reason to have any. The team does not plan to conduct an internal investigation, instead yielding to the league itself.
“All we’re going to say is that our own investigators will be looking into it,” MLB spokesman Rich Levin said. Asked if Major League Baseball’s investigators knew of Thomas before his arrest, Levin said, “Not that I’m aware of, no.”
Said Manager Manny Acta: “I know less than you guys know about this. I’m the wrong guy to talk about all this. All I know is what has been said in the paper, and we support Major League Baseball’s testing program. I think it’s good. It’s working. And if there is any truth to it, then it will come out.”
As if this season hasn’t already been crappy enough…now we have to deal with THIS crap.
Ever have a feeling that something is going to happen, before it happens?
After Tuesday night’s loss to the Giants, I had a feeling that Ryan Zimmerman’s hit streak would end at 30. I just had this unshakable feeling that 30 games was it. That’s why I mentioned “The Event That Shall Not Be Named” — TETSNBN — in my post after the game. TETSNBN can be named now…Ryan Zimmerman’s 30 game hit streak, which unfortunately came to an end on Wednesday afternoon against the Giants. From April 8 through May 12, Zimm’s stats were:
Outstanding numbers…outstanding streak!
More on Zimmerman’s hit streak:
Longest hit streaks in Nationals/Expos history
Year Player Games
1999 Vladimir Guerrero 31
2009 Ryan Zimmerman 30
2002 Vladimir Guerrero 26
2002 Jose Vidro 21
1993 Delino DeShields 21
Longest hit streaks, third basemen
Year Player Games
1978 Pete Rose 44
1893 George Davis 33
2009 Ryan Zimmerman 30
1980 George Brett 30
Longest hit streaks since 2000
Year Player Games
2005-06 Jimmy Rollins 38
2006 Chase Utley 35
2009 Ryan Zimmerman 30
2007 Moises Alou 30
2006 Willy Taveras 21
2003 Albert Pujols 30
2005 Johnny Damon 29
Some of Zimm’s postgame comments (per yahoo.com):
“I’m not relieved it’s over, because I would have liked to keep it
going for as long as I can,” said Zimmerman, who fell just short of
Vladimir Guerrero’s franchise-record 31-game streak with Montreal in
1999. “But it’ll be good to go back to the usual routine. … I’ve said
every day that I’d rather win. It’s been a tough year for us. I feel
like we’re a lot better than our record.”
It’s been a pleasure to watch Zimm this season…not just because of the streak, but because of his overall performance. He’s been one of the few bright spots in what has been an extremely dismal and frustrating season so far. And the way he handled himself through the streak was just as impressive as the streak itself. There was no hint of cockiness or arrogance at any point during the last 30 games; he remained on an even keel, with his humility intact.
Well done, Ryan. Congratulations on a marvelous streak and a terrific start to the season. Keep up the great work! And you’re still Superman to me!
Maybe Zimm will start another lengthy hit streak against the Phillies on Friday. I will be there, and I will definitely give him a standing ovation before his first at bat.
Although I was disappointed that Zimm’s hit streak came to an end, I was pleased that the Nationals beat the Giants, 6-3. Shairon Martis pitched another good game, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits over 7 innings and improving his W/L record to 5-0. Martis even hit a double in the 5th inning and then scored on Nick Johnson’s double. Johnson himself had an outstanding game, going 4-5 with 2 RBI. It’s always nice to get a win…especially when they don’t happen very often!
By the way, I was very impressed with the class displayed by Giants fans when they gave Zimm an ovation after his final at bat, acknowledging the end of his hit streak. Way to go, Giants fans! 🙂
The Washington Capitals were not as lucky as the Nationals…they lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-2. Very disappointing, to say the least. First Zimmerman’s streak ends, then the Caps lose…not a great day. 😦 But the Caps had a great season, and I look forward to bigger and better things next season.
Now, let’s see…whom shall I root for the rest of the way? Definitely not the Penguins…the Blackhawks? The Ducks? The Red Wings? The Hurricanes? The Bruins? Hmmmm…..
Loss number 20, that is…which is what the Nationals apparently will get tonight. It’s the top of the 8th inning, and the Giants are leading the Nats, 10-4. Randy Johnson — who I swear must be about 60 years old (Jamie Moyer looks young compared to Stretch) — gave up 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, including 3 home runs and 9 strikeouts. When the starting pitcher allows 4 runs in 5 innings, including 3 home runs, you would think the team that got those runs would win. But then, we’re talking about the Nationals here…Daniel Cabrera started the game for the Nats, which is why the Giants are kicking the Nats hindquarters. Cabrera issued 6 walks in just over 4 innings. Six walks! Why the #$&% does Cabrera still have job??
On a much better note, the Capitals beat the Penguins tonight, 5-4 in overtime, to force a game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals!GO CAPS!!!
The Nationals beat the Astros last night, 9-4. After being down 4-0 at the top of the 5th inning, the Nats began their rally in the bottom of the 5th, scoring 2 runs. They added another 5 runs in the 6th inning and 2 more in the 7th, providing enough run support to give starting pitcher John Lannan his first win of the season. This game could have been a true blowout were it not for the 14 LOB by the Nationals.
A terrifying moment came at the top of the 7th inning when Joel
Suckrahan Hanrahan entered the game for Lannan. Amazingly, he got three quick outs without giving up a hit…and he even had a strikeout. Congrats, Joel, for not sucking last night! Garrett Mock pitched the 8th and 9th innings and didn’t suck either…he gave up just 1 hit, struck out 1, and didn’t give up any runs. What a delightful change of pace to have a 5-run lead actually hold up!
Oh and, for the record, Ryan Zimmerman is Superman!
He was 4-4 in last night’s win over the Astros. Zimm has gotten off to the best offensive start of his career…he has always been a slow starter, but he’s currently hitting .333. Part of this turnaround may be the effect of working with a new hitting coach (Rick Eckstein), but it’s more likely due to the protection of Nick Johnson and Adam Dunn in the lineup…particularly having Dunn hitting after him. He has also playing great defense as well. Of course, the fact that he’s now stinking rich, after having signed his 5 year $45 million contract, has also probably gone a long way towards putting him in a pretty good mood! 😉
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I had to split my TV viewing time between the Nats game and the Capitals game (and “Dancing With the Stars” — shut up, I love that show!), and a bit later, the Yankees/Red Sox game. My TV remote control had a busy evening! The Capitals/Penguins game was one hell of a game, with both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby scoring the first postseason hat tricks of their careers. But the Capitals came out on top, 4-3, to go up 2-0 on Pittsburgh. I’m pleased about this, of course, but the Penguins have come back to knock the Caps out of the postseason after being down 0-2 before, so the Caps still have a tough road ahead in this series. But last night was awesome…GO CAPS — ROCK THE RED!!!
Yep, baseball’s worst team beat baseball’s best team. (I know…I can’t belive it either!)
One way to keep the Nationals dreadful bullpen from giving away a lead and a game is for the starter to pitch a complete game. That’s exactly what Shairon Martis did on Saturday, and the Nationals defeated the Cardinals, 6-1. In fact, Martis took a no-hitter into the 5 inning, until Yadier Molina singled. Until this game, the 22 year old Martis had never pitched more than 6 1/3 innings. He struck out 6 and did not allow a walk in his 110-pitch effort. This game was the first complete-game win for a Nationals pitcher since 8/15/2006, when Pedro Astacio beat the Braves.
An assist, so to speak, should be given to Cardinals first baseman Chris Duncan, who dropped what would have been out #3 of the 5th inning. With the Nats leading 1-0 and Cristian Guzman on first, Ryan Zimmerman popped up into foul territory. Instead of being the final out of the inning, he got one more chance at bat when Duncan dropped the ball. Zimm made the Cardinals pay for that error by hitting a single. Adam Dunn then hit a 3-run home run into the upper deck in right field, above the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals added two more runs in the 8th inning when Elijah Dukes scored on an Austin Kearns triple and Kearns scored on and Anderson Hernandez single.
Speaking of Hernandez, he had the #1 web gem on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight…an incredible diving catch in the first inning. That catch was also #4 of the top plays on ESPN’s Sports Center. (Simeon Varlamov’s save in the Capitals’ win over the Penguins was #1 — see below.)
I was lucky enough to be at this game…it was a great one! What a performance by Martis! And the scattered showers that had been in the forecast for the afternoon did not materialize, which was nice for a change.
Of course, I have tickets for Sunday’s game as well, and there is once again rain in the forecast for the afternoon. The chance of rain is 70% for “later in the day”…so I hope that means the rain will wait until after the game is over.
Gotta give a shout out to the Washington Capitals, who won defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, in Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals. GO CAPS!!!!
One more thing. As a lifelong Washington Redskins fan, I absolutely despise the Dallas
Cowchips Cowboys. But I was relieved to hear that no one was critically injured (or worse) when the roof of the Cowboys practice facility collapsed on Saturday afternoon during a storm. Several injuries do sound serious — including the broken vertebrae suffered by special teams coach Joe DeCamillis — but the reports about the incident say that everyone is expected to recover. I wish everyone who was injured in the incident a speedy and complete recovery.