Sunday, September 16, 2007
Dear Batters for Our Washington Nationals:
Where you in a hurry Today? Were we, Your Fans, not aware of some Big Party? Or, has Week Two of the NFL Season caught your attention so much--you needed to get home in time for this afternoon's West Coast Games on DirecTV? If so, have you ever heard of TIVO?
Whatever the reasons--you guys showed no patience at the plate today. Really, I understand that Tim Hudson is one fine sinker ball pitcher. In fact, one of the best in the game. And, everyone is fully aware that, he walked to the mound at RFK this Sunday having already beaten Our Washington Nationals three previous times in 2007.
Yes, he was good today--but not unhittable. In fact--Tim Hudson allowed allowed seven hits and one walk (to of all people--Shawn Hill) . But, 11 Times a Washington Batter stepped to the plate--and that First Offering from Atlanta's Number 15 was swung at. And, if you decided not to swing at that first pitch--14 other times--Hudson's second pitch was offered at. Why? We only had 34 Batters all day long. So, only 9 times did any batter show the slightest patience.
In the sixth inning--already down 3-0, D'angelo Jimenez stroked a nice lead off double down the right field line. The very first time--all day--that Our Washington Nationals had ANYONE in scoring position. So, what do you do?--First Pitch ground out by FLop. First Pitch pop out to right by Ryan Zimmerman. First Pitch fouled off, Second Pitch ground out to shortstop by Austin Kearns.
Come On!!--What exactly are you swinging at? Have you not heard that sometimes its good to take a pitch? Even a pitch that you know is a strike--but is one that you can't handle? Sometimes--The Pitcher makes a good pitch. Sometimes--you just have to let it go. And, sometimes--if you are a little more patient--that pitcher makes a mistake. And, sometimes--you can take advantage of his error? That's how you get ahead in the count. Its how you face a difficult opponent. Its how you WIN.
Has not anyone instructed, any of you, on this hitting nuance to the game? Really, the fact seems so simple.
Obviously--patience as a hitter has been instructed throughout The History of The Game. If you happened to read My Conversation with Frank Howard--even "Hondo" came to learn that letting a strike go by--helped him--in the long run. Howard was, at one time, one of the BIGGEST FREE SWINGERS IN THE GAME. Of course--My Favorite Player Of All Time!! was taught by The GREATEST HITTER IN THE GAME--Ted Williams--in 1969. That lesson occurred for Big Frank--38 Years Ago!!
"Hondo" enjoyed his FINEST SUCCESS listening to Williams' instructions. Honestly, Howard became one of THE MOST FEARED HITTERS OF HIS TIME!!
Have Any Of You EVER Received This Message?
I guess not.
Please--use today's effort as schooling for the future. Sure, Our Washington Nationals have little to play for--when it comes to the standings in 2007. There is little room for improvement. But, please--do me a favor--over the final 13 Games of a FAR BETTER than expected championship campaign--SHOW SOME PATIENCE AT THE PLATE. Yeah, I know--everyone wants to be THE HERO. The Game Changer. The One--who is called "THE MAN".
But, all of you will earn a great deal more respect--where it counts the most--from THE VISITORS DUGOUT--if you would PLEASE--JUST TAKE A PITCH EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.
Look for something YOU can hit. Not something the pitcher Wants You to hit.
Dear Batters for Our Washington Nationals. That's all I ask. PATIENCE.
Final Score This Afternoon at WONDERFULLY COMFORTABLE & COOL RFK Stadium--The Atlanta Braves 3, Our Washington Nationals 0.
Not Much of a Ball Game--Unless you love to Tomahawk Chop. Or appreciate Tim Hudson.
Game Notes & Highlights:
A Marquee Matchup between Hudson and Shawn Hill left the crowd with an empty feeling. Hudson would go the distance--for the first time all season long--getting his 16th Win of 2007 in the process. Feasting on Washington Hitters that played directly into his hands--Tim Hudson pitched confidently. Domineering that Shawn Hill was not. Our Number 41 had little command, walking four hitters--more than each of his last four starts combined. He was not sharp and left after five complete innings after allowing three runs, five hits and one TOWERING HOME RUN to--of all people--Kelly Johnson--on an 0-2 pitch. A SMASH to deep centerfield and over the 410ft sign. A Blast that made the score 3-0 and left Shawn Hill disgusted with himself and solemn on the mound. His head dropping, knowing--today was not to be--HIS DAY. Maybe--another day--hopefully five days from now--will. One Bad Outing does not take away from Shawn Hill's Talents though. He's a keeper.
In the top of the second inning--Atlanta's Andruw Jones broke his bat while swinging at a Shawn Hill pitch. As has been the case all season long--bat after bat has broken. This time--a truly DANGEROUS FLYING OBJECT. The Broken Object SWIRLING in the air--directly toward Ryan Zimmerman. The hit baseball slowly grounded toward Ryan Zimmerman. "Z" reflexing first--dipped down and away from the projectile--scooped up the roller and side armed to first to retire Jones for the out.
An excellent play under pressure that Zimmerman exceeded in the very next frame. With the bases loaded and Jeff Franceour at the plate--Their Number 7 laced a hard grounder to Our Number 11 at third. As Ryan moved to his left, the baseball took a bad hop and redirected directly in toward his body. With Cat Like Reflexes--Zimmerman again showed the talented fielder that he is. While diving--he quickly rose his glove--from the the ground to the air--and caught the baseball falling over backwards. Still, with the presence of a 10 Year Veteran, he righted himself--threw home to retire the hard charging Chipper Jones at the plate. A toss that Jesus Flores caught, a little off line--and tagged out Jones for a key out. As has been the case--many times for two seasons--Ryan Zimmerman made The Defensive Play of This Game.
Lesson to be learned--keep your glove down to the ground. Its far easier to raise your arm--than lower it. Ryan Zimmerman an ARTIST at his profession.
D'angelo Jimenez continues to show new life. Two more hits today--whether D'angelo's late season upswing will garner him a position in 2008--far too soon to tell. Everyone has their day, or days. Being consistent is what baseball is all about.
When Ryan Zimmerman stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 3rd inning-- a COUNTRY TUNE played out as his Batter's Song. Say What? The only country music played for any Washington Hitter all season--as been Austin Kearns. In Section 320, we figured this must be one of those mistakes we love to laugh at, concerning THE P.A. Controllers at RFK. Yet, we couldn't ignore it--mistake or not. MickNats stating: "Maybe Ryan has been "KEARNED" to Country Music." It was funny. Fortunately, the remainder of the afternoon--Zimmerman's regular music played out when he stepped into the batters box.
Finally--many thanks to "TEDDY". Yes, Our lovable Loser has EMBRACED the "Let Teddy Win!!" Chant shouted out in Section 320 during EVERY 7th Inning Stretch. "Teddy" now--making a tradition of Standing On The Railing in the Tunnel to the left of Section 320 to FEEL THE LOVE from his fans. Really--his effort, along with The Chant--an anticipated moment each and every ball game. Only 7 More to Go at The Old Ballyard--Will Teddy Get his Curly "W"? When, and if, he does--The Bang!! Zoom!! of the Fireworks BETTER BE READY!! Unquestionably--The Crowd Will be ready to respond--in kind.
When Teddy ran hard and was over taken at the last moment by George this afternoon in the 4th inning Presidents Race--the RISING Crescendo from The Faithful was palpable. EVERYONE WAS INTO IT. I would imagine MANY WANT TO STATE--"I WAS THERE--When 'Teddy' Won!!" The Atlanta Braves actually threw water at Teddy & GW when they ran past the Visitors Dugout this Sunday. Its sort of amazing to see Major League Baseball Players and Major League Umpires actually WATCHING THE InGame Event. Our Racing Presidents are larger than life. You can't say--"Our Rushmores" are not popular.
To think--we have to put up with New York and Philadelphia Fans for the final games at RFK Stadium. Its going to be good!! Although, The African Queen Stating: "The P.A. Guys better remember--NO ROCKY SONGS--when The Phillies come to Town!! Not even "EYE OF THE TIGER" for Luis Ayala."
Today's InGame Photos--(AP) Pablo Martinez Monsivais