Sunday, July 23, 2006
Get An Owner, Sweep Cubs, Draw Crowds, Look Like A Team--WOW!!
In the time it takes to enjoy a long 3 day weekend, the Washington Nationals have gone from DEAD to actually looking like a franchise with a future. Late, Friday night, just after 10PM, when Alex Escobar was about to play hero number one for the first of 3 versus the Cubs, Stan Kasten signed off on the last papers to actually turn control of the Nats over from dreaded MLB to the Lerner Group. The Nats then went on to beat the Cubs 7-6. Nats put away the Cubs again on Saturday, 7-3, with the BIONIC, Alfonso Soriano, going 4-5, scoring twice (and just for fun--getting thrown out at the plate 2 other times) while Alex Escobar did the Injured Kirk Gibson routine to hit a pinch hit 2 run homer to put it away. Finally, our Nats decided to sweep the Cubs today 7-1, in a game, never in doubt, when MY MAIN MAN, Ryan Church, slugged a TITANIC UPPER DECK 2 run homer off Carlos Marmol into section 468 in right center field, with Soriano adding a solo blast, his 31st homer of the season, a few batters latter. Of course, Church then decided to swing for the fences every time up and K'd badly twice. On his last strikeout, Ryan received a nice earful from Frank Robinson. Despite all that, Tony Armas pitched a solid 7 innings, putting himself, possibly, right back on the trading market, to contenders by the July 31 deadline.
All these wins came during The Grand Re-Opening of RFK Stadium. A three day affair that drew over 104,000 to the old ballpark, with fans being met by players at the gates each day, receiving Hats, Shirt and Rally Towels as gifts and improved services all around the stadium. Even after seeing the President's Race three times now, we love it every time! There was actually excitement back at RFK!!
And what was most compelling was the sight that the Nationals actually played and looked like a team. Granted, the pitching is horrible right now, but the everyday batting/fielding lineup is starting to take shape. Schneider, Johnson, Lopez, Zimmerman, Kearns, Escobar, Soriano is a decent starting 8. Don't know who will be on second. Vidro is making himself untradable right now--too bad!
And the players are all coming forward, pushing for management to KEEP SORIANO. Livan Hernandez is even publicly stating HE WANTS TO STAY. "I'm a Washington player. I represent these colors, this city, and I want to be here for the new stadium." according to the Washington Post. Then the Post quoted Ryan Zimmerman with this doozie on Soriano: "We all want him here. Who wouldn't want to have that guy on your team? You definitely don't want to play against him. I think everyone here -- the fans, everyone in this clubhouse -- wants him on this team. It'll be interesting to see what they do, because he really wants to stay, and everyone here gets along with him. He's great for the team, and he's great for the city. He could be a part of this team for a long time."
Zimmerman understands how Soriano, in his prime, is a GAME CHANGING-DYNAMIC part of Washington's success. Soriano is a HALL OF FAME player, who, despite his original unwillingness to change positions, has become a far more valuable player now, then the beginning of the 2006 season.
That's a TEAM coming together, teammates that understand the Nationals are on to something special. DC is the PLACE TO BE!! The Nationals are actually building team chemistry again. Things have been bad most of the year, but when everyone hangs together and works through it, the sun will rise again. We, as fans, are seeing the first glimpse of something special!!
Personally, I have tettered back and forth on Alfonso. Unless Jim Bowden can get 3 absolutely terrific young players, I say its time to keep Soriano and sign number 12 long term. Alfonso obviously enjoys it here, and we as fans enjoy him. Lets get behind him and get Soriano to stay!!
The Nationals finally have DIRECTION!! And the past 3 days at RFK was a small sliver of fun to come!! RFK was a great place to be this weekend. And there are many more fun days to come, this season, 2007, and in the new stadium (GOD HELP THE DC GOVERNMENT!) in 2008 and beyond.