Sunday, May 13, 2007
So Very Special
The last 22 Hours at RFK Stadium reinforced why The African Queen And I Love Our Washington Nationals, so very much. Undeniably, we enjoy baseball. This Professional Game played by our very own Home Town Team. But, far more than that-are the adventures Sohna & I continue to experience by attending each and every home game. When you sit through nearly 4 hours of rain delays, like only a handful of diehards were determined to accomplish late into the early morning, you do so enjoying company. The Friendships of like minded individuals and couples whose very unique personalities have combined to form one of the most pleasant Group Bondings ANYONE could ever be blessed to enjoy. And then, when your team fights back, winning in GRAND STYLE at 1:42AM, immediately followed by all of us returning--less than 11 hours later to witness history all over again--memories are formed. Treasured Recollections to be stored away and CHERISHED FOREVER. As I mentioned to SayHeyKlib this afternoon. "Last Night IS WHAT ITS ALL ABOUT. NOTHING FINER. NOTHING MORE SPECIAL AS A BASEBALL FAN. Something EVERYONE SHOULD EXPERIENCE at least ONCE in their Lifetimes. Together, Section 320 and Our Closest Friends have sat through 5 such Late Nighters in Two Plus Seasons of Nats Baseball.
Iris & Biff, Colleen & Jeff (with their Curly "W" Rally Monkey), MickNats, SayHeyKlib, Joe Riley, Myron & The "NOISE BOYS" -What more can Sohna and I say about our DEAREST BASEBALL FRIENDS--This MARVELOUS WEEKEND TOGETHER with Our Washington Nationals--a fine moment in all our lives. Really, I don't expect many to understand our excitement and joy at the ballpark. But, Trust ME, the feeling is EXCEPTIONAL. The African Queen and I are so very fortunate.
And, today--Our Washington Nationals completed their first Series Win of 2007, SWEEPING THE FLORIDA MARLINS on Mother's Day before 20,486 fans and a host of Nats Players Parents. Their Mothers The GUEST OF HONOR this afternoon, on as GORGEOUS a day as Our Nation's Capital can possibly host. Yeah, this 6-4 victory had it moments, heart thumping at times, but when Big Jon Rauch closed this one out in the 9th--BANG!! ZOOM!! Went The Fireworks!! Our Washington Nationals had won three in a row. A SERIES SWEEP!! "The Wookie" Jon Rauch had recorded One Win & One Save, all within 15 Hours. Our Nats starting off the longest Home Stand of the season (10 Games) in style. Their Fans Rejoicing in the aisles. The Player's Parents thrilled at the attention thrown at them by the Team. Their Sons, PROUD to be standing by their sides. What A Fabulous Day to Witness Baseball in Washington, DC.
Jason Simontacchi continued to make tracks in his comeback attempt to be a solid Major League Starter again--Nearly 4 years after his last win in The Big Leagues. Cristian Guzman continues to revitalize his reputation, again with a key hit and two fine plays in the field to end Marlin Threats. Jesus Flores, once it all plays out, may prove to be one of the FINEST RULE V Draftees in History. This 22 Year old is emerging before our very eyes. Today, two key hits, TWO KEY RBI's. And, without a doubt, one of the FINEST CANNON ARMS IN THE GAME. Number 3 can PLAY THIS GAME-WHAT A FIND. The Sun was glowing today, not only down from the clear blue sky above, but directly on Our Washington Nationals.
Many times after such a laborious, intense affair, last nights thrilling 7-3 win--I remind you, witnessed by just 76 folks early this morning--the players for both teams return--not in the best of playing minds. It's difficult to keep the volume pumped up, after such an UPLIFTING WIN, and Heartbreaking Loss--no matter what side you play for. Yet, Our Washington Nationals came ready to compete--inclined to keep a winning streak alive. Realizing, The Florida Marlins were ripe for the taking.
In the second inning, Washington showed their new team Modus Operandi. Without much power, Our Nats are quickly becoming PESTS--swinging away, slapping the ball, playing some small ball, causing just enough commotion to throw an opponet off key. With one out Austin Kearns lined a single to left, followed immediately by a Robert Fick grounder through the hole in right. Then Jesus Flores continued to grow, rapping a solid single to center off Wes Obermueller scoring Kearns, giving Our Washington Nationals their first lead of the game, 1-0. With Runners on first and second, Ryan Langerhans walked to load things up. The Crowd into the spirit of the affair. Many understanding, The Nats are playing decent baseball right now. You just knew, this time, they were NOT GOING TO FAIL with Runners In Scoring Position.
Simontacchi was next. And Florida's biggest defensive hole came back to haunt them. Like I stated two nights ago, Miguel Cabrera may well be one of the finest IMPACT HITTERS in the game today, but, BOY O BOY, he is a TERRIBLE FIELDER. Why in the world is he playing the Hot Corner for The Marlins. Truly, Miguel is KILLING THEM. Jason would knock a slow hopper toward Cabrera at third--Miguel just had to glove the ball, make an easy toss to home--to retire Fick. Yet, This GREAT HITTER Fumbled the ball--EVERYONE SAFE!! Fick scores easily. You could see the frustration on Obermueller's face. Cabrera non plussed. With the score now 2-0, Felipe Lopez stepped to the batters box, Obermueller taking his frustrations out on FLop. Lopez not getting good swings, fooled early, then grounds what seems to be a easy inning ending double play ball to Hanley Ramirez at Short. The Reigning NL Rookie Of The Year had trouble getting the ball out of his glove, finally releasing the toss to Dan Uggla at second. But, with FLop charging hard to first base, Felipe JUST BEAT THE RELAY. Flores scores run number 3. And, when "THE GUZ" continued his remarkable turnabout by HAMMERING an Obermueller fastball down the right field line, deep into the corner--The MERRY GO ROUND was in FULL CIRCLE. Langerhans scored, FLop scored, Cristian Guzman on third with an electrifying TRIPLE!! 5 Runs on the board for Our Nats. The Faithful on their feet, enjoying this inning tremendously. When was the last time, Our Washington Nationals jumped all over another team for 5 Runs EARLY IN A GAME.
With Jason Simontacchi pitching lights out through the first five innings, many in the stands had not one concern. Number 50 in your program was hitting his spots ON ALL HIS PITCHES. His change up, possibly the finest seen in DC by a hometown player in the short history of baseball's return. Jason had command. He was cruising. And then, The Marlins came to bat in the top of the 6th. Bad luck, and one key BAD PLAY put Florida right back into this game.
Dan Uggla popped what seemed to be an easy out to left. My Main Man!! Ryan Church with sunglasses already on--simply lost the ball in the high sun. Uggla standing on second with a cheap double. As always happens in baseball, every single mistake usually comes back to haunt you. Simontacchi, possibly shaken by the misplay, began to fade almost immediately--walking the dangerous Cabrera. Then, The Marlins would become Pests all their own. Jason Wood blooped a single to center, scoring Uggla. Josh Willingham followed with another liner to center, loading up the bases. Joe Borchard was next. Simotacchi jammed him inside. Borchard, swinging left handed, fought off the pitch, lofting the ball into short left field. Guzman ran hard, but JUST MISSED the pop by MERE INCHES!! Cabrera scored Florida's 2nd run of the afternoon. 5-2 now--Simontacchi struggling. And, when Alfredo Amezaga followed with a liner to center, caught by Langerhans, but scoring Wood, just like that, it was a two run game--still one out, runners on 1st and 2nd. There was a distinct possibility, Our Washington Nationals were going to blow the lead.
Our Manager Manny Acta had seen enough of The Marlins ruination of Jason, replacing Simontacchi with Jesus Colome. Colome came out firing, reaching the Mid-90's on his fastball--and immediately getting Matt Treanor to pop to Church in left for Out Number Two. And, when Colome got pinch hitter Aaron Boone to lazy pop to Robert Fick in foul territory at first base, this inning was over. Over, until Fick, shockingly, muffed the easy pop. A ball barely in the air, its flight no where near the overhead sun. Robert blew it, the ball glancing off his glove. Boone still alive. The Crowd giving it to Number 13. The Boos cascading down throughout RFK STADIUM. Colome visibly upset--pounding his glove with his right hand--throwing his head in the air in disgust.
And, wouldn't you know it--Jesus couldn't retire Aaron. Boone blooping a single to center, Willingham scoring Florida's 4th run. A one run game now, out of nowhere. With Colome losing some cool-only Cristian Guzman's nice play on a grounder up the middle, sidearming the ball to Fick at first to retire The Marlins next batter, Hanley Ramirez. Thankfully ending a most trying inning, keeping both Colome & Washington in the game, still leading 5-4.
As annoyed as Our Washington Nationals must have felt heading to the bottom of the sixth, they showed some moxie--getting back that important insurance run. My Main Man!! Church would draw a full count walk to lead off the bottom half from Randy Messenger. Austin Kearns followed with a grounder to second, moving up Ryan. Robert Fick moved Church to third on a grounder to first. Yet, with Two Outs, JESUS FLORES DELIVERED--AGAIN--LINING A CLEAN SINGLE TO CENTER, scoring Number 19 with THE KEY RUN OF THIS GAME. With score now 6-4, Manny Acta handed the ball over to his bullpen.
Colome with a 1-2-3 7th. Saul Rivera with a 1-2-3 8th, assisted by a Guzman 6-3 Double Play on an Amezaga grounder. Then, Jon Rauch to close it out, with his FIRST SAVE OF THE SEASON. Filling in for Chad Cordero (away due to the passing of his Grand Mother), Number 51 walked Hanley Ramirez with 2 outs, but Struck Out Dan Uggla on a checked swing in the dirt to finish off this fine victory.
In The GREATEST GAME PLAYED by Our Washington Nationals since early this morning--their 12th win of the season, was a solid victory. A Triumph at the hands of a very solid Florida Marlins team. For all our good friends, now called "FAMILY" at RFK Stadium--A Triumphant weekend of fun--enjoying Washington Nationals Baseball.
Game Notes & Highlights:
In the top of the 7th, Jesus Colome on the mound with two outs for Washington--Jason Wood sliced a fast dropping liner to left. Ryan Church charged hard to his right, being a left hander helped him on this drive. With the ball barely one foot off the ground--MY MAIN MAN!! reached down, near his right foot and snared the ball--a TERRIFIC SHOESTRING CATCH! Ryan Church's inning ending out was THE DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THIS GAME.
Jason Simontacchi was rewarded today with his first win in The Major Leagues, since September 20, 2003. No doubt, Jason is celebrating tonight. Having struggled for nearly 4 hardship seasons, playing in Independent Leagues and Foreign Lands--there can be NO GREATER JOY than to be rewarded for being ever vigilant, ever hopeful, ever willing to do whatever it takes to get back what you have lost. You must be mighty proud of Jason Simontacchi Today. His win this afternoon, a just and deserved reward.
And, during the top of the third inning, Simontacchi and Guzman combined to pickoff Dan Uggla at second. With Uggla a little to far off the bag. "The Guz" sneaked in behind the unsuspecting Dan, Jason whirling and throwing a PERFECT TOSS to the lower corner of 2nd base. It was A BEAUTIFUL PLAY. Well worthy of The Defensive Play of This Game, until Ryan Church upped the stakes.
Having obviously read my post from this morning, Team President Stan Kasten stopped by briefly to exclaim: "Would you please get some sleep!!!" The African Queen and I just laughed. But, honestly, it was important for us to stay up most of the morning to post about last night's, TERRIFIC, last inning victory.
Many players in today's game and throughout MLB today used PINK BATS to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.
Talking with Iris, Biff, Colleen & Jeff after today's game--Jon Rauch's Father, Ed, stopped by to tell a terrific baseball tale. He asked all of us whether we had stayed throughout last night's thrilling victory. Of course, we had. Mr. Rauch had to take home his young grandbaby due to the late hour, so he missed the thrilling ending. But, he told us, during Jon's Minor League Career with The Chicago White Sox, he witnessed the back end of Doubleheader in Charlotte, North Carolina where his Son started. A game that DID NOT BEGIN until 1:40AM. "We were still there when the birds and roosters started to make noise." We all laughed, enjoying his generosity in sharing the moment. Mr. Rauch is a extremely nice gentleman.
And, I couldn't forget wishing The African Queen, MY LOVE--A Happy Mothers Days. Having stated it before, you have NO IDEA how lucky I am. Sohna and I hope every reader's Mother had as wonderful a day as she did.
Finally, as The African Queen and I were leaving by Gate A, we heard a shout: "Hey, how you guys doing?" Gary Church and his lovely wife, Karen, called us over. We all talked for some time. Gary telling us, during the Mothers Day Ceremony on the field, Ryan's brother, Matthew, with PERFECT TIMING, called his Mother from IRAQ where he serves Our Country. A Touching Moment, for sure. Proud, Sohna and I were that this wonderful couple shared the moment with us. The Church's are tremendously nice. We were so pleased they made the effort to meet us this weekend.
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass