Saturday, August 18, 2007
A Wild Night
Apologies in Advance--I am ON CALL to head to Cancun for Hurricane Dean. With the distinct possibility of flying to Mexico at Noon Sunday--this gamer will just be the highlights. Working a Hurricane must be well prepared for on my part. The usual working conditions--danger--without power, food and water--must be set up in advance. Or--you don't survive. Those are the facts--Better safe than sorry.
With that--HERE WE GO.
A Packed House. A READY TO PARTY CROWD. An Abe Lincoln Bobblehead Giveway. And, The New York Mets in town for the weekend. All linked up with Our Washington Nationals to provide a WILD NIGHT at The Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street. A FULL RANGE of emotions that each and every person, on hand, much have felt--at some point during the night.
Whether you were looking to Cheer on a fine play, Growl in Disgust over a bad one--Or JUST BITCH AT A FEW TERRIBLE CALLS by the umpires--this one had it all for Washington Fans. Oh Yeah!! and for me--It was also SBF's Birthday--My 48th. My Best Friend Screech setting off a HUGE CELEBRATION IN THE FIRST. Festivities that continued with The Nat Pack & Clint in the 3rd inning--The Presidents in the 5th--and got FLATOUT WILD in the 7th as the "LET TEDDY WIN!" Chant was bellowed out in Section 320. For a Birthday Celebration at a Ballpark--No one could have asked for more. This was a fun night. So much so--four New York Fans sitting DIRECTLY in front of us were so enamored with THE JOCULARITY OF IT ALL!!--They STARTED CHEERING FOR OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS. 4 Converts SCREAMING OUT all our Cheers and Chants!! How about that!! These 4 DIE HARD METS FANS told us upon leaving--they want to come back again. "YOU GUYS ARE OUTRAGEOUS--The Best Time we've ever had at a ballpark!!"
An evening that would have been PERFECT--if not for a second straight loss to The Boys from Queens.
That's right--The New York Mets beat us at RFK STADIUM. A 7-4 Loss that was more precarious than the final score indicates. But frustrating at the same time. Our Young Starter--John Lannan--struggled all night long. Wily Mo Pena IMPRESSED with a solid bat--and with some unexpected speed on the basepaths. Although he badly misplayed the tract of the baseball on a run scoring play in leftfield. And FLop flatout killed us with runners in scoring position. But, the most telling problem this evening came from The Men in Blue. Three Times I could legitimately complain about a call. Each of which was costly. Some would say there were more instances. I will just go with those I believe were wrong.
In the bottom of the second with Austin Kearns at second and Pena at first with NO BODY OUT--Jesus Flores smashed a shot to David Wright at third base--a carom off his glove that The Mets Jose Reyes eventually picked up and fired across the diamond toward first base. A toss that Jesus appeared to beat--but First Base Umpire Ed Hickox called out. A Bang-Bang Play that the replay on the TV MONITORS at RFK Stadium showed safe. An out call that quelled a rally. Although Washington would eventually score two runs in this inning, the damage was done. A Bad Call had helped kill our further scoring chances.
In the top of the 5th--the always dangerous Jose Reyes was standing on second base after a single. Luis Castillo on first after his sacrifice bunt became a single. With David Wright now at the plate--Ronnie Belliard sneaked in behind Reyes--Lannan wheeled and TOSSED OUT the unsuspecting Jose. A Fine DEFENSIVE EFFORT that was nullified when Second Base Umpire CB Bucknor called Reyes Safe. A Verdict that SET WASHINGTON FANS INTO A FRENZY!! Ronnie Belliard JUMPING UP AND DOWN IN DISGUST!! An awful call finding Our Manager Manny Acta jogging out to the field to argue the call--IN VAIN. A decision that got worse when the always tough Wright looped a double down the rightfield line scoring both runners for New York's 3rd and 4th runs of the evening.
Finally, in the bottom of the 5th--Felipe Lopez bunted down the third base line--David Wright scooped up the slow moving baseball and heaved it to first base. FLop dove and appeared to beat the throw. Again, Hickox called Felipe out!! A ruling that once again--set off the Washington crowd in disgust.
Individually, those calls don't really add up to much. Cumulatively--they killed us. Game Changing Moments that should not happen, over and over again, in a Major League Baseball Game. Too many times, Umpires in today's game get caught up in The excitement--and fail to realize exactly what's happening in front of them. Its too bad that these arbiters find it OK to just give the "SAFE" Call and not look at the effort put out before them. By that, I mean Umpires, many times, go with what they expect to see. And in PREDETERMINING THE CALL--they MISS THE POINT OF THE ENTIRE GAME. Its a shame.
All of which was compounded when John Lannan did not have it. The Mets knocked him all over the ballpark. The very light hitting Luis Castillo JUST PLACING a Lannan pitch over the left field fence--near the foul pole in the first. A situation that got worse when Reyes laced a double to left and scored on a FLop throwing error in the third. A routine ground ball to Lopez that he hurried for no apparent reason--sidearmed the toss--and threw it into the dugout screen behind first base. And finished, with that Wright Double to right after Reyes was DEFINITELY PICKED OFF--but called safe.
Our Washington Nationals had their scoring chances, but as has been the case all season long--sustained rallies were killed--by inefficient bats. Zimmerman, Flores, Logan and even Lannan all had RBI hits tonight (Lannan's first hit and rbi). Runs batted in that FLop failed at all night long. Felipe striking out badly to Guillermo Mota with the bases loaded and two out in the 6th. An 0-5 performance that limited the production from the top of the batting order.
Although, despite his poor night at the plate--Felipe Lopez dove to his right on a BLAST by Lastings Milledge in the 6th. FLop, fully extended, snared the baseball, got up and threw out the fast charging Milledge for The Defensive Play of This Game. A effort that during this At-Bat found The Mets Damian Easley rushing to second base, after a single and wild pitch. A loose ball that Easley considered running around second base and on to third. But, when Jesus Flores deked a throw to second base after recovering the baseball--Damian stepped on the bag wrong--crumbling to the ground. Spraining his left knee in exasperating fashion. A fluke injury any ATHLETE would HATE to see happen and was removed from the game (as a sidenote--Damian Easley earlier in his career, was The Angels Starting Third Basemen in The Infamous Cal Ripken 2131 Game at Camden Yards in September, 1995. I don't have time to check, but I believe he homered that night, also).
Jose Reyes is a dynamic player. All he needs to do is get on base and he mostly moves around the bases with free will. Tonight, he stole his 63rd base of the season. Nearly unstoppable that guy. Really fun to watch.
Wily Mo Pena--He showed some serious power during batting practice. Hammering a blast to Section 535. Scored two runs tonight, scorched a double to the right centerfield gap in the 6th. And simply got unlucky on a laced liner to center off Jorge Sosa with two runners on in the 7th. A shot that went right to Carlos Beltran. Although Pena made the last out of this game on a tapper back to the mound--he did show promise--including some of the skill that Our General Manager Jim Bowden raves about. He was surprisingly swift on the base paths. Running hard and quickly--shocked I was actually to witness this speed. Not Jarred I was though, to see Wily Mo take a wrong tract on an eventual double by Mike Difelice in the 6th that scored a New York run. Wily Mo Pena is an "All or Nothing" Package.
And those rumors floating around RFK STADIUM tonight that Our Washington Nationals are involved in a three way trade in the "player to be named later" portion of the Pena trade--make no sense--if Jon Rauch is the player to be sent to Boston. Why in the world would we trade Big Jon Rauch to Arizona--so The Boston Red Sox could get one of The Diamondbacks Prospects? Wily Mo cleared waivers--either Boston lets him go or calls him back. Seems very strange that Washington would give up a Decent Player for Pena--under those circumstances. That's the part that makes no sense--especially after the roster move after tonight's game.
Regretful news to read that Ryan Langerhans has been Designated For Assignment and Jesus Colome returned to the 25 Man Roster. Yes, Langerhans struggled at the plate. But honestly, do you really think that Nook Logan is a better player--long term--as a 4th outfielder? I don't. Yeah, just a 4th outfielder, an interchangeable part--but I would take Langerhans over Nook--anytime. And, this move makes The Jose Vidro trade a money decision--and nothing more. Emiliano Fruto, the other pitcher involved in that Mariners' trade has struggled at AAA Columbus--in a starting role. Too bad. I doubt Ryan will clear waivers.
And, those four New York fans sitting in front of us in Section 320. One of the them, wearing a Carlos Delgado Mets Jersey, just couldn't believe the constant noise being blared out by us. By the time they left the game--As New York Mets Fans, they were far less supportive. Living in the DC Area--you can bet they will return as Fans of Our Washington Nationals. Made us proud tonight getting them to convert--just for the fun of it all!!
35,157--the 3rd largest crowd of the season. Our Washington Nationals still have an outside chance of drawing 2 Million to the last season at RFK Stadium.
SCREECH!! was terrific tonight--At FIRST PITCH, MY BEST FRIEND!! surprised me with a Birthday Celebration. Throwing Confetti in the air and leading a Chorus of "Happy Birthday To You!!" Then, he presented a gift--"MLB BASEBALL TRIVIA 2007 DVD" which Sohna and I loved. Finally, we hammed it up for pictures. Photos that would have been a whole lot better if not for this obnoxious Mets Female Fan that CRASHED THE PARTY to DEMAND TAKING A PICTURE WITH SCREECH!! Incredulous we all were. My Best Friend! being cordial as always--obliged the daring lady.
Then, in the bottom of the 3rd--Clint and NatPack Ladies came around to conduct The PNC Bank "GUESS THE PIN" number to receive the $50 Debit Card. We had a good time.
Later--in the 5th--The African Queen and I ventured over near Diamond Club to take a SPECIAL PHOTO with The Presidents, Screech and The Geico Gekko.
Finally--As The Racing Presidents spotted up in the tunnel just to the left of Section 320 before the 7th inning stretch--the "LET TEDDY WIN!!" Chant began. A Boisterous Bellow that got "TEDDY" so excited he stood on the railing to CHEER ON THE SONG!! A Special Rendition in appreciation for all the fun we have in Section 320. Was it EVER LOUD!! Just a GREAT TIME! Really, you have no idea the enjoyment we have, unless you experience the moments. We've all become FAMILY. Each subsequent game episode anticipated with amusement.
The African Queen and I can't thank all the folks with Our Washington Nationals enough for their attention tonight. Their efforts, very touching--and very much appreciated!!
PS--Sohna and I very saddened to hear that Meredith--Our Favorite Nat Pack Lady will be leaving after tomorrow's game against The Mets at RFK Stadium. Time to return to college. She's such a wonderful person. We will miss her--tremendously!!
PSS--Again Sorry for the discombobulated post--I understand its not my usual. Too much to do between now and 10AM--whether I go to Mexico or not. I hope you understand.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Tonight's Party Photos--Janet Wamsley