Saturday, September 22, 2007
Eventually--if you send enough pitchers to the mound, one of them--is not going to have his best stuff. Our Manager Manny Acta sent six different throwers to the mound AFTER 6.2 Innings were played tonight. All in an attempt to keep a 1-1 ballgame close--so that maybe, JUST MAYBE--Our Washington Nationals Bats could get ONE MORE RUN HOME!! Yet, they couldn't. Given a Golden Opportunity late--they couldn't finish off The Philadelphia Phillies.
In the 242 Home Games now played at RFK Stadium--I would SWEAR Our Washington Nationals have FAILED to get a runner home from third with NO OUTS--at least 81 Times. A Good FULL SEASON's Worth of Home Games. That's just speculation off the top of my head--but its doubtful--anyone would deny that belief. Again tonight--we were all just left shaking our heads in Section 320--Washington left EVERYONE STUNNED at their inability to plate the go ahead run.
A pitchers duel broke out in the Penultimate Major League Baseball Game to be played at RFK Stadium by Our Washington Nationals. Tim Redding allowed just one run--a first inning roped liner to right by Chase Utley--JUST OVER THE FENCE for a Home Run. His counterpart--Rookie Kyle Kendrick was just as good--if not better. His only run allowed was of the unearned variety. A sure inning ending double play ball hit by Austin Kearns to third that Abraham Nunez fielded--tossed to Utley at second base to retire Ryan Church--only to see Chase heave an awful throw to first base in the dirt. A short hopper that Ryan Howard had ZERO CHANCE of catching. A costly error that allowed Ryan Zimmerman to score Washington's, eventual, only run of the night in the sixth.
Which brings us all back to the 7th--The Bottom Half. Boy, was this inning EVER FRUSTRATING.
Philadelphia had finally sent down the very effective Kendrick and replaced him with J.C. Romero. Brian Schneider greeted him with a laced liner into center. A fast falling rocket that The Phillies Aaron Rowand should have played safely--giving up the single. Instead, one of the most DARING PLAYERS in the game--went for THE MIRACULOUS. You don't become a GAMER like Aaron Rowand without putting your body on the line. Their Number 33 went all out--and dove--head first in an attempt to snare the liner. He failed--stunningly. The Baseball getting past him and rolling all the way to the wall. Schneiderman ran hard all the way--and motored into third base with a Stand Up Triple.
Finally--after being outnumbered BADLY by Phillie Fans all night long--Section 320 saw daylight. This was the chance. Not only to take the lead--but SHUT UP THE MOST OBNOXIOUS FANS IN THE GAME!! Honestly--are they BORN THIS WAY in Eastern Pennsylvania and South Eastern New Jersey?? Talk about NO CHARACTER, has ONE PHILLIE FAN ever taken a class in manners. No Respect do they EVER SHOW. None. Makes me proud that in the 145 Years of Major League Baseball, The Philadelphia Phillies have just ONE CHAMPIONSHIP. ONE. Even The Washington Senators won ONE World Series Title--in 1924. And, we missed out on 33 years of Major League Baseball. Really, who should be crying more?
Of course--once Our Washington Nationals become a Contender--this relationship could bud into one serious rivalry. Already--in three seasons--these two teams have consistently gone DEEP into the night--countless times. Extra Innings--Midnight Starts and 2AM Finishes. Memorable Game, after Memorable Game. And, Tonight--was no exception.
Our Number 23 on third base with a lead off triple. The Score is 1-1. Since Situational Lefty Arnie Munoz was the next scheduled batter--Manny turned to Tony Batista off the bench--looking for the go ahead run. Batista battled him--through 6 pitches, and drew a crucial walk. OK--1st and 3rd now, STILL NO OUTS!! The Washington Minority at The Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street whooping it up. The Rest of The Stadium might have been Outnumbered--but WE WERE NOT IN SECTION 320. Pride was on the line--both on the field and in the stands. You may come into Our Yard and take over--but you are not going to OUT SHOUT Section 320!! Not going to happen. EVER!!
Nook Logan was next up. As far a strategy is concerned--you had to figure that THE FASTEST RUNNER on the team--would possibly attempt a bunt. Maybe not a suicide--but one of the base hit variety. If Nook is successful--at the least--there are runners on 1st and 2nd, one run in. Or, if Schneider could not score--bases loaded. Yet, Our Number 7 swung away. And, lined a blistering shot--RIGHT AT JIMMY ROLLINS at shortstop. Nook did get a good stroke on that Romero pitch--but the resulting out--set up this ever stranger inning.
Why now does Our Number 14 substitute Cristian Guzman as a pinch runner for Brian Schneider? Would that not have been a smarter move with ZERO OUTS!!? More Speed, more options--with Logan at the plate. Yet, now--"THE GUZ" entered and FLop failed to deliver, again. Felipe Lopez smacked a grounder to Chase Utley at second base. With the infield playing in--Utley had to swiftly move to his left to cut off the baseball. In a move only a Professional Player can make--Chase scooped the baseball and threw to Chris Coste at home plate--OFF HIS WRONG FOOT, no mustard on this throw--but still enough to EASILY retire Cristian Guzman at the home plate.
Guzman had no chance. I understand he was trying to force the play. But, with Ryan Zimmerman up next--would you rather have Our Number 11 at the plate with a runner on 3rd--than ANYONE else on second with two outs. Sometimes--you have to REALIZE the situation at hand. Felipe Lopez had not delivered. Don't try to make up for it.
"The Guz" being thrown out at home--sent those Phillie Fans back in control of RFK Stadium. Supremacy that only got worse when Ryan Zimmerman stepped up and began to swing at EVERYTHING. Of late, "Z" has somewhat reverted to his early spring woes--swinging at crap out of the strike zone. Pitchers Pitches--that he well knows--should never be bitten at. The Sign of the Times--Our Number 11 again trying to DO TO MUCH. Dmitri Young, now lost--due to a freak injury. No one behind Zimmerman is considered a major threat.
On most nights--everything must go PERFECTLY--for Our Washington Nationals to win. That's the breaks of the game--when you are a rebuilding franchise. Eventually--after a lucky foul call by Third Base Umpire Larry Poncino on a grounder down the line that Nunez fielded and touched third base to supposedly end the threat--Ryan Zimmerman swung at THE WORST PITCH Geoff Geary could possibly have thrown. Ryan half swinging, striking out--so mad at himself--he slammed his hand into his bat--in disgust--raising his head in dismay. Even he knew--with the game on the line--he became unglued and cost his team--when it counted the most.
An inning ending strikeout that sent RFK STADIUM into a Tizzy. Yes, The Fans of The Philadelphia Phillies had taken over control of the ballpark. And, it only got worse when this 3 hour, 55 minute affair reached the 10th inning. The Extra Frame that found Chris Schroder and Jesus Colome completely losing their control. Yes, eventually too many pitcher will expose the weak point. Schroder allowing 2 hits and 1 walk in ZERO INNINGS Pitched. He did not have anything. Colome was worse-- allowing Two INHERITED RUNNERS to score. Including an incredible BONEHEAD PLAY when Our Number 43 FAILED to run to first base on a routine ground ball to Robert Fick by Shane Victorino. Victorino is recovering from a pulled hamstring. Honestly--I could have beat Shane to the bag. Jesus was a witness to his very own crime. An offense that proved costly when Jonathan Abaladejo entered for Jesus and allowed a sharp single to left by Carlos Ruiz--scoring The Phillies 4th run of the night. But, also providing ONE TERRIFIC toss out at the plate by My Main Man!! Ryan Church scooped up the sharp hit and tossed a PERFECT STRIKE to Jesus Flores at the plate to end this MOST FRUSTRATING of innings by retiring Wes Helms at home.
Ryan Church made a nice play--but it did not matter--in the long run. For tonight--Our Washington Nationals couldn't finish off The Philadelphia Phillies. Instead--Our Best Rival defeated The Nation's Capital's Team 4-1 in 10 Innings. And, those Philadelphia Fans Finished off there very own delightful evening--playing a "HOME" Game at RFK Stadium.
Were their Fans EVER LOUD!! Did we ever HATE IT in Section 320 during that 10th inning. When its late in the season and Our Team has little to play for--its hard to take--when the opposing fans put their gestures and obscenities directly in your face. Yes, I am going to miss RFK STADIUM after tomorrow. But, there is NO WAY--I will miss being out manned in Our Very Own Park. When Our Washington Nationals become a contender, some day soon--and finish off these Very Same Phillies to win--I don't want to hear those that refuse to come now--in support--say they have been behind Our Team--The Entire Time.
That wasn't the case tonight. We were finished off, both on the field and in the stands at RFK Stadium.
Game Notes & Highlights:
Never could I say a disparaging word about Aaron Rowand. The Man can play and he ALWAYS gives his all. Yes, he set up that frustrating 7th inning when he went all out for Schneider's liner--resulting in a triple. But, in the bottom of the 5th--Tim Redding reached on a terrible fielding error by The Phillies Pat Burrell. He simply dropped a catch--moving to his left.
Now on first, with two outs--FLop laced a fast dropping liner to centerfield. Willing as always to live dangerously--Aaron Rowand dove HEAD FIRST to snare the baseball JUST OFF the ground. An inning ending, run denying--DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THIS GAME. Yeah, I know that Team President Stan Kasten has stated Our Washington Nationals are not going to be heavy spenders in the Free Agent Class of Winter 2007--but Aaron Rowand is still a player to be seriously considered. I don't care about the naysayers who claim Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia has padded his statistics. When you can play, you can play--in any ballpark. Those same people said the EXACT SAME THINGS about Alfonso Soriano. Case Closed.
26,412 posted up for the Final Night Game at RFK--Included was "TEDDY". No, not Our Lovable Loser--but a Fan. A Huge Fan of Our Washington Nationals--dressed as THE REAL TEDDY ROOSEVELT--with his very own "LET TEDDY WIN!!" Sign. An effort that garnered huge support from Section 320. The 7th Inning Stretch providing some serious fun when "TEDDY" met Teddy in the Tunnel to the left of Section 320. Don't let anyone let you believe the fun OFF THE FIELD is Not as Enjoyable as the play on it. Alot more fun goes on off the field at RFK Stadium--than you could ever imagine. Making the best of what we got--has made Section 320 the enjoyable spot it always been for three seasons of Washington Baseball. You don't need to be entertained with canned variety schtick--when you can be creative on your own. That's why we have so much fun--each and every Home Game of Our Washington Nationals.
Finally--this weekend is, of course, a sad weekend for many of our good friends, we have come to know at The Old Ballyard. When The African Queen and I attended our very first home game for Our Washington Nationals in 2005--WE DID NOT KNOW A SOUL. Not ONE SINGLE PERSON at RFK Stadium. Three years later--Sohna and I have been very fortunate to find so many new friends and acquaintances. In many respects, We have a New Extended Family. This evening--we were STUNNED by some visits and offerings from those that have appreciated our work, our generosity and our efforts to JUST HAVE FUN. Honestly--we couldn't believe it. Without going into great detail--Sohna and I just want the THANK ALL OF YOU--that took the time to stop by and say such kind words to us tonight. We were GREATLY TOUCHED.
Of course the final home games mean some finishing touches must be taken care of.
Neal--having to work The Redskins/Giants Game at Fed Ex Field tomorrow--served up his final beer to MickNats for the 2007 Season tonight. You have no idea what A BIG MOMENT this was in Section 320. Neal, The OFFICIAL BEER PIMP for MickNats and Section 320.
Screech & MickNats performed The Bobblebelly Dance--A Section 320 Exclusive. Quite The Sight. Then, Screech sat alongside Mrs. MickNats--plopping himself down in MickNats customary seat. A sight that has always made us laugh. Screech and MickNats--what a pair.
Of course My Best Friend & I struck our Patented Pose for this final night game.
During the 5th inning, I headed out to The 300 Concourse Level to see The Racing Presidents.
And, talk strategy with Teddy for his FINAL ATTEMPT at winning tomorrow at RFK Stadium
The African Queen and I have a great passion for Our Washington Nationals. But, more than anything, we LOVE ALL OUR FRIENDS.
Thank all of you--so very much.
No doubt--many more sad goodbyes tomorrow.
PS--Immediately after the conclusion of The Final Game and Ceremony at RFK Stadium--I must leave for New York City and The United Nations for the Opening Fall Session. The Meeting of EVERY SINGLE HEAD OF STATE in the world. On the train to NYC tomorrow night--I will attempt to post up my final gamer of the 2007 Home Schedule. Having to get up at 5AM Monday Morning might make it tough--but I will try. Of course--the good part about this trip is that Monday Night--I will be heading to Shea Stadium to watch Our Washington Nationals play The New York Mets. No sleep is scheduled--but that's OK--I love my job. And, I love Our Washington Nationals.
What more could I ask for?
OH Yeah--I Love The African Queen Too!!
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Manuel Balce Ceneta