Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Space Time Continuum
Can the Space Time Continuum be disrupted during a Major League Baseball Game? That "TECHNOBABBLE" Term well known to aficionados of Star Trek had me pondering the possibilities tonight at RFK STADIUM. From the very first batter of the game between Our Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, nothing seemed in its proper place. Juan Pierre led off and popped a routine fly down the right field. A ball with some serious "hang time"--but with Washington's Outfield Defense overplaying Pierre to hit toward left--rightfielder Austin Kearns could not reach the ball--a baseball now bouncing around in the corner, the swift moving Juan ending up on third base with a lead off triple.
This entire sequence played out in slow motion--right before my eyes. It was odd, almost imaginary, yet it was only the beginning of the strangeness witnessed on this Tuesday Night.
Throughout this 10-0 drubbing by The Dodgers over Our Nats, there was a total disconnect between Los Angeles Offense and Washington Defense. With a FULL MOON overlooking RFK, every single development appeared off-kilter. Not trying to pick on him, but Cristian Guzman was the focal point of so much of this disjointed evening in the field. Consistently, Dodgers batters would slap, strike, ground (never anything overly hard or stroked) or flair the baseball over, under, past, or in one case, right through "THE GUZ" (for an error). The ball JUST MISSING HIS GLOVE so many times, I lost count. Enough so, that when Guzman picked up a Russell Martin grounder and threw him out at first base for the final out in the top of the 9th inning--there was a Mock Standing Ovation given by those fans still remaining from announced crowd of 18,483. You had to wonder whether the Spatial Anomaly was directly hanging over Number 15?
But, "The Guz" was not the only one affected by the shift in Natural Ways of The Universe. After Pierre blooped his triple in the first, he roped a liner to right center his next time up in the 3rd that Kearns slipped and fell, resulting in a two base hit. Later, with the game well in hand in the top of the 8th--Rafael Furcol lofted a pitch JUST over Kearns' head--a ball that fell lazily near the warning track for another double. You had to wonder, are these two teams playing in the same game--the timing for everything was off.
Then, My Main Man!! Ryan Church felt the odd powers at work--surprised when Dodgers Pitcher Brad Penny stroked a Jason Simontacchi pitch over his head--AGAIN JUST OVER HIS HEAD--Penney chugging into second base with a ground rule double, setting up the game changing 6 run 7th inning for Los Angeles. A Breakaway Inning decided when, after Simontacchi was replaced with Winston Abreu--The Dodgers now had the bases loaded, one out--only up 3 to Zero, when Nomar Garciaparra chopped a ball to Ryan Zimmerman's left on the infield grass. Ryan picked up the ball, whirled and keeping pace with the whimsical ways on display tonight defensively, attempted to throw out Penny at the plate--instead Zimmerman tossed the ball against the backstop (so far off target, Brian Schneider had NO CHANCE, yet they were less than 40 feet from each other) allowing not only Penny but Pierre to score the Dodgers 4th & 5th runs. This game was basically over. And, officially, just two hitters later, when Jeff Kent singled in Furcol and Luis Gonzalez LACED A LINER over the right field wall for a three run homer and 9-0 lead. The Space Time Continuum parting such a distance between The Dodgers & Our Washington Nationals this May 29th, most of the fans in attendance decided to part way with both teams, early. Not much left to enjoy in this one.
Really, this entire game felt like The Dodgers were playing on one dimensional plane, Our Nationals another. Each and Every Time Los Angeles hit the baseball--it appeared Washington was delayed in moving to make the defensive play. Almost like you are watching the game on television--but listening to the radio announcers. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler are describing the action actually occurring, but your eyes are telling you something completely different.
A Two Second Delay--that lasted all night long--until this dreadful loss was thankfully over.
Honestly, it was one of the oddest games I have ever seen. Mystical and Nightmarish at the same time. Not a good combination. Maybe, I can get in touch with "THE MIRACLE WORKER"--Star Trek Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, "Scotty", to solve the Space Time Continuum problem before tomorrow night's game two of this three game series.
Fortunately, tomorrow is a new day, a new game, The Spatial Anomaly GONE!!! Tonight, should just be forgotten.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Whether The Dodgers scored 10 runs or not--Our Washington Nationals couldn't score even one. Los Angeles starter Brad Penny was terrific. Number 31 went 6 2/3rds innings giving up 4 hits and one walk. Not a single Nationals hitter was finding a decent stroke against him except for Ronnie Belliard (who had two of those 4 hits). Never was Penny in trouble, and when he handed the baseball over to his bullpen--their relief corps continued to shutdown the Washington Bats.
Jason Simontacchi also pitched into the 7th inning--he certainly wasn't sharp though. Number 50 gave up 11 hits, one walk, but left after throwing just 87 pitches. He had little command, giving up 5 two strike hits. He was only down 3-0 when Winston Abreu relieved him. But, Winston not only let all three inherited runners to score (with an assist from Ryan Zimmerman's backstop toss) but four more earned runs of his own--including the Gonzalez Home Run. Abreu's ERA ballooning tonight to 4.72. It was below 2.00 just two days ago.
In the top of the 3rd, after Juan Pierre had doubled in the Dodgers 2nd run of the evening--he straddled a little too far off second base. Cristian Guzman sneaked in behind on a timing play--Jason Simontacchi spun--Pierre froze--Jason's perfect throw to "The Guz" picked off Juan easily. It was The Defensive Play of This Game.
MickNats & I couldn't stop laughing about The Dodgers Numbers and Names on their jersey backs--especially Kent and Penny. The Numerals are very thin, The Letters SMALL. "It almost looks like a replica jersey they are wearing," MickNats stated. To me, they looked like Little League Printing--and both their jerseys seemed TWO SIZES, TOO SMALL. It was funny. But, at least better than the past two seasons of Dodger Baseball. Since the McCourt Family took control of The Dodgers, they had refused to put ANY PLAYER NAMES on Jersey Backs. After wearing names on Los Angeles Uniforms for a couple of decades--it didn't look right. MickNats & I were both glad to at least see the name return-just not in the Font Style chosen.
During the top of the 7th inning of each home game--The Racing Presidents tend to hang out in the tunnel to the left of Section 320. Tonight, Teddy and George were making an appearance-taking pictures with fans--Teddy taking in the love of our "LET TEDDY WIN!!" chant while GW gave the usual thumbs down. When, all of sudden, this one beer vendor came walking by--yelling at TEDDY--"You're a LOSER, because you are a DRUNKARD!" Everything sort of stopped for moment. The Vendor repeated the phrase, then moved on. Like everything this evening, it was odd--strange. No one knew really what to do, say or react.
Finally--leading off the bottom of the 2nd--Austin Kearns fouled out three consecutive ROCKET SHOTS over the first base dugout--each successive one harder hit. The third stroked ball scorched its way toward the walkway in the lower bowl--right at MY BEST FRIEND SCREECH!!!! Screech was over in that part of the stadium delivering Papa Johns Pizzas to a lucky section. The fast moving baseball JUST MISSED HIS HEAD!! bouncing along the walkway while a dozen folks attempted to track down the now souvenir. Screech's reaction was terrific--immediately checking to see it he still had all his parts in place. Later, when he came past Section 320, he wiped his brow in relief--knowing we were worried for him. Happy, Section 320 was, to see MY BEST FRIEND still with us--ALIVE!! What would we do without SCREEEEEEECH!!! Close CALL SCREECH!!! VERY, Very Close!!
Just a fitting ending to one ODD EVENING OF NATIONALS BASEBALL.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Haraz N. Ghanbari