Thursday, August 17, 2006
MY BEST FRIEND!! MAKES MY DAY!!
He showed up, RIGHT AS THE GAME BEGAN!!-Pointing and Chirping, rotating his little belly--shaking his head, pointing that claw--RIGHT AT ME! As most people know, Screech and I have a long history, since early in the Inaugural Season. And as that relationship developed, there has not been a SINGLE TIME, NOT ONCE, that myself and the Section 320 FAITHFUL have not SCREAMED HIS NAME (sometimes followed by "DOWN IN FRONT")--Whenever he moved in or around our portion of RFK Stadium. We've even asked Screech to drive us home in the ScreechMobile ZipCar (That's not happened yet, figuring Screech doesn't have a Drivers License).
And he's been GREAT!! Getting into the spirit of the fun we all have, EVERY SINGLE GAME (WIN OR LOSE) in SECTION 320. And it HILARIOUS to see Screech bend down, almost walking on his hands and feet trying to move through our area without blocking the view. He's become a GREAT FRIEND, for not only me, but everyone else surrounding us.
Screech learned some time ago--that I was SCREECH'SBESTFRIEND (and for a very good reason as I previously blogged), and he got a big kick out of it. Even reads the blog, when he has the chance. Its amazing how you can communicate with someone without a voicebox.
But, Today--SCREECH HIT THE GRAND SLAM!! In honor of my 47th Birthday, Screech stopped by to wish me a Happy Birthday and presented me with a FABULOUS GIFT!! A Signed Screech BobbleBelly! He even led the Chorus in Singing Happy Birthday. And paused long enough to take pictures with myself and the African Queen, before heading off on his appointed rounds.
Sohna and I were very pleased and Section 320 helped bellow out the Birthday Song in Style. Thanks Screech!! Made my Day!!
And, considering the outcome of today's 5-0 shellacing by the Atlanta Braves---It was, UNQUESTIONABLY, the highlight of the day. Our Nats just didn't compete today. And, if it was not for Alfonso Soriano throwing two TERRIFIC throws home attempting to throw out runners attempting to score, THIS GAME WAS TOTALLY FORGETTABLE!!
On a beautiful summer 84 degree day with virtually no humidity, the Nationals slept through this one, after a rousing 9-6 win last night. The Nats could only manage 1 hit off Atlanta emergency starter Oscar Villarreal, making his first start in over 3 seasons, but raising his record on the season to 9-1. Washington only managed 4 hits all day off Oscar and 3 relievers. The Bats were pretty quiet.
Although, Braves Catcher, Brian McCann would hit a solo home run in the second inning, all the real action came in the 4th when the Braves sent 7 batters to the plate against Nats Starter, Jason Bergmann, who proved, hopefully for the last time, he is just not starter material. With one out, Matt Diaz doubled down the right field line, and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. Ryan Langerhans would walk, followed by a Villarreal sacrifice bunt, moving Langerhans to 2nd, but leaving Diaz at 3rd. 2 Outs-- It looked like Jason might get out of it, but then, the game fell apart.
Marcus Giles would step to the plate, and on the very first offering from Bergmann, would line a single to left, Soriano ran in on the ball, confidently, scooping up the ball with his glove hand and fired a SIDEARM HEAVE toward home. The ball arrived, just a split second late, before Brian Schneider could make the tag, Langerhans sliding to the left rear side of the plate, it was a FINE THROW, but Langerhans was safe. 3-0 Braves.
Edgar Renteria, he of 3 hits today, would then go deep into the count, 2-2, and line a single, again to left, right at Soriano. And, in a carbon copy play, Alfonso scoops up the ball and heaves it home, once again. A PERFECT THROW, that arrives a split second before Marcus Giles. Schneider catches the ball, just off the plate, to the front left side, and drags his glove hand right into the sliding GILES!! Giles knew he was out. Unfortunately, Home Plate Umpire, Ed Rapuano, thought otherwise. To the shock of virtually EVERYONE at RFK. Rapuano called Giles SAFE!! The video replays clearly showed the truth. Giles was out!! Frank Robinson, came running (well more like hobbling) out to Rapuano to argue the call--TO THE GREAT DELIGHT OF THE RFK FAITHFUL!! Finger pointing as well as FRANK could ever do!! It didn't change the umpires mind though, but it gave the Nationals Fans something to cheer about today. The Braves would close out the scoring in the 7th on another 2 out Renteria RBI single off Chris Schroeder.
It wasn't much of a game, especially after last nights raucous win. Future Hall of Famer, John Smoltz, just didn't have it on the mound last night for Atlanta, and admitted so after, but the Nats second at bats of the game, made for a MEMORABLE MOMENT. Already ahead 2-0 on a run scoring ground out by Bernie Castro and a rbi single by Alfonso Soriano, the Nats had starting pitcher Billy Traber on 2nd base and Alfonso on 1st with 1 out. Felipe Lopez (FLop) was at the plate and worked a 2-2 count from the struggling Smoltz. FLop would then get a pitch high, over the inside portion of the plate, and TURN ON IT, DRILLING THE BALL DOWN THE RIGHT FIELD LINE, about 10 feet left of the foul pole. For Whatever REASON, Third Base Coach, Tony Beasley, DID NOT SCREAM, YELL, and PROD Traber to get his BUTT moving!! Soriano and Lopez were FLYING AROUND THE BASES--Traber AMAZINGLY was standing on 3rd with Alfonso 5 feet away. Lopez hustling toward 2nd. Soriano DISGUSTED with the STUPIDITY of the play infront of him, Just stopped, Chipper Jones tagging him out at 3rd, leaving traber on the bag. AND THE RFK STADIUM CROWD BOOOOOOOOOOED TO NO END!! And deservedly so. For consecutive nights, Tony Beasley had NOT DONE HIS JOB!! Beasley does not react well to the action in front of him. He has too many jitters. Not the person a team needs as the third base coach. Too important of a position. Tony Beasley does not impress me.
Fortunately, the Nats would score 2 more runs on a Zimmerman infield single to Chipper Jones at 3rd, with Z SLIDING into 1st to avoid the tag, and Nick Johnson would clean single to right scoring FLop to make it 4-0. Traber would give most of it back in the 5th when the Nationals decided to give Atlanta 6 outs in the inning which included a Zimmerman error, and Johnson unable to track down a difficult foul ball down the right field line, that Castro should have called for and retrieved, but was hesitant to take command.
Zimmerman would fight back in the 6th by hammering a 2 run homer off Smoltz and Brian Schneider would put the game away in the 7th with , believe it or not, a 2 out, 3 run shot off Atlanta's Ken Ray, making the score 9-5. Jon Rauch would give up his 11th homer of the season, a TITANIC BLAST, by Adam LaRoche, 7 rows deep into Section 466, but would settle down to give the game to the Chief, Chad Cordero, who recorded his 22nd save of the season.
Rauch is really starting to worry me. As I have mentioned previously, he gives up too many first pitch home runs. And he did so tonight. "WOOKIE" needs to realize that just because you are the tallest player in Major League History, it doesn't mean you can overpower everyone.
The Nationals continue to struggle, and will as long as the pitching talent is mostly of the Minor League Variety. But, Sohna and I continue to enjoy attending every single game. We have alot of friends at RFK. And we can't appreciate enough the efforts today of MY BEST FRIEND--SCREECH!!