Sunday, September 30, 2007

Proud


Wily Mo Pena taking that looping pitch from Brett Myers to end the 2007 Season--brought sadness to my heart. And, it had nothing to do with the fact that Our Washington Nationals had lost. Nor, the sight of The Philadelphia Phillies celebrating a National League East Title on the turf at Citizens Bank Park--with BUDWEISER BEER--Not Champagne!! (which is actually funny)

No--at 4:33PM Eastern Time--all the whirlwind watching and enjoying of Our Team that calls The Nation's Capital its home--was OFFICIALLY OVER for this season. No More Major League Baseball for Washington until April, 2008. Disheartening because, since February, 2007--following every single detail of Our Washington Nationals has been nothing short of a way of life for The African Queen and I.




It all started, innocently, in Spring Training at Viera, Florida. We had never visited there together, and really didn't know what to expect. Since Sohna and I were going--we thought it might be nice to report about what we saw each and every day. Little did we realize, how many would respond to those efforts--positively. The Access was good--the players more responsive than I ever expected. That last week of February, 2007 was a GREAT WEEK. Never, had we enjoyed our time just being around baseball--more. Sohna couldn't stop thinking about it. In fact, she became hooked.


And, we didn't stop there. Never, have we let up since. Proud, is the only word that describes our work and effort put forth.



With Sohna's Undying Support--The Nats320 Blog was able to capture the final season of baseball at RFK Stadium in a very unique way. EACH & EVERY GAME-from a Fans Perspective, from Our Perch in Section 320, not only with all Our Friends--but, with a ton of Emotion. Yet, not in our fondest dreams--did we expect to be so diligent, or complete in the coverage. It sorta snowballed--and as readers responded--we didn't want to let anyone down. That's just the type of people we are. We Cared. Hard Work Became My Most Enjoyable Season of Baseball--EVER. Nothing comes close. Despite the many long hours--late nights----some negativity directly pointed at me--and still working a 50 Hour Television Work Week--somehow it all worked out. Really--Somehow.




All the fun of Section 320. My Best Friend Screech!! The "Let Teddy Win!!!" Chant. Tom Davis, Clint and The Nat Pack. Our Team--that played well above expectations. No, they are far from the best--but Our 2007 Washington Nationals were EXCITING. RFK Stadium was an enjoyable venue during its last season as a Major League Ballpark. And, that MOST Charismatic Man--Our Manager Manny Acta made it all happen. Since the very first day he was introduced--Manny has always been positive. Promise, that in the very near future all our Fans can celebrate like The Phillies did this afternoon. What a Day That Will Be!! Yes, Major League Baseball with Our Washington Nationals was worth every minute devoted to them in 2007. We could not have asked for more.



The same holds true for all those hours spent with Our Friends. For the past three seasons--as far as we are concerned--Section 320 was The Nexus of The Nats Universe. A rather large group of individuals that came together over the love of baseball. Few, knowing each other beforehand. BangTheDrumNatly, Mr. & Mrs. MickNats, RallyTimeRichard, SeyHeyKlib, Troy & Julie, SenatorNat, Andy & his Dad Jim, Barbara, her Brother Richard, Mike & Becky--always brought in tow by Little Abby. And, of course--The Fly Boys from Andrews: John, Scott, Kathy & Dave, Lisa & Jeff, Leslie & Tim, Libby & Steve, FlyGirl Karen and Aaron. No Group more fun at RFK Stadium than that Dozen.




And, sitting just to the right of us--at every home game--the fortune of each and every Family Member of Our Washington Nationals. What a great benefit!! Kind and considerate every one of them was to us. Many enjoying the camaraderie that WAS, and hopefully always will be, Section 320--in a Section to be Determined at New Nationals Park.

Section 320 was in attendance at each and every Home Game EVER Played by Our Washington Nationals at The Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street. We were loud, but never rude. And, Were Always Having Fun!!--whether Washington Lost or Not.





As the journey continued we met many more friends--Colleen & Jeff, Iris & Biff, Richard, Charles, Gloria, Janet, Boris, Karen, Tillman and Susan--just to name a few. But, nothing was more appreciated than the many Fans of Our Washington Nationals that made the effort to personally come and meet Sohna and I in Section 320--Thanking us for Our Efforts face to face. There are far too many of you to name here--but a few stand out. Greg, Adam & his son Brian for their Wonderful Banner given to me during last Sunday's Final Game at RFK. An offering Sohna and I will CHERISH FOREVER!! The Best Gift Given to me in a LONG, LONG,TIME!! Jim (Mr. Red Shoes) & Doug. Paul--always fun and interesting. Melissa & Matt (If you were watching closely this afternoon on MASN--Melissa and Matt made a cameo appearance in the 4th inning). Matt famous in Section 320 for wearing his "Trade Clint, Keep Dmitri" Shirt earlier this summer. A Classic. Eddie Cunningham--faithful fan. And, of course--Lou Gehrig. Yes, that's his real name. There were many, MANY More--but far too many to personally single out here.

Although, I must acknowledge some in the contingent of Nats Bloggers--some whom Sohna and I have met over the past year. Miss Chatter, The Three Girls With Heart, Chris Needham (Mr. Capitol Punishment), Brian from Nationals Farm Authority, Brandon from The Curly W and Joe Riley (Nats Power). Its quite amazing the amount of dedication to Our Washington Nationals. We don't all agree on many topics--but the discussions and debate are always worthwhile for me.


So, from the bottom of Our Hearts--Sohna and I Thank ALL OF YOU--So Very Much!!! Your Gratefulness has made EVERYTHING WORTHWHILE. We have been through alot in the past 8 months. But, we wanted EVERYONE to know how much we appreciate everyone's support. And, that The Nats320 Blog will continue--in fact, its keeping its name--although we don't know our Assigned Seats yet for New Nationals Park. Section 320 is the spot were The African Queen and I began Our Love of Our Washington Nationals. We want to Honor that Section of RFK--FOREVER!! Nothing else would feel right. Nothing. Besides--Then I would have to make up a New Customized Jersey? My SBF 320 Jersey is just three months old.

The 2007 Season has now come to a close. Yes, it would have been FINE for Our Washington Nationals to defeat The Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon. But, as The Phillies celebrated right in front of Washington at Citizens Bank Park, Our Players could plainly see that Today's Glory, Was Not Their Time--But, Philadelphia's Time. Someday soon, Our Washington Nationals will revel in The Glory--of Their Own Time!!

THAT WILL BE ONE PROUD DAY!!

Yes, The 2007 Season Ended This Afternoon, sadly so--but Sohna and I raise our heads highly. We are Proud of Our Hard Work. Proud that so many appreciated the effort. Proud that Our Washington Nationals made a nice run this season. And Proud--that The Future Shines Bright as Our Washingon Nationals move to New Nationals Park on South Capital Street.

Game Notes & Highlights:

Despite struggling at the plate mightily during this season ending series--Ryan Zimmmeran still had the guts to make The Defensive Play of this Game. In the bottom of the 8th--mere moments after striking out--"Z" dove, completely outstretched--to snare a sharp grounder to his left from The Phillies Chris Coste. Our Number 11 smooth as can be, when he simply jumped to his feet, and made a perfect toss to Dmitri Young at First Base for the out. There is no one better at fielding the baseball at The Hot Corner than Ryan Zimmerman. No, he did not have a breakout season at the plate--and made 23 errors in the field during his Sophomore Campaign--but there is no better third sacker in the game. Our Franchise Player well deserved of The Gold Glove.


Playoff Games are all about pitching. And Game Number 162 was a defacto post-season game. The Ageless Jamie Moyer came with his "A" Game this afternoon. You would think 21 seasons in The Majors would give anyone the experience to work through the nerves of an ALL or Nothing Battle. The Mind Set that Moyer had on the mound at Citizens Bank Park--convincingly so. The Head that Tommy Glavine, of The New York Mets, did not have on the mound at Shea Stadium at the same time. While Jamie pitched his way through 5.1 innings of effective baseball--Sure to Be Hall of Famer--Glavine only lasted .1 inning. 1/3rd!! and he gave up Seven Runs in the process to The Florida Marlins. An early 7-0 Lead in Queens that sent The Phillies Faithful into Frantic Mode at the start of Our Game.


All Philadelphia needed was a win. All they wanted was, for Washington, to roll over. Yet, Our Team didn't--they simply got beat. Jason Bergmann struggled from the start and only lasted three innings--giving up three earned runs. And, Our Washington Nationals really could not solve Moyer or any of Philadelphia's subsequent three relievers. Once Jimmy Rollins laced a two run triple down the right field line in the 6th to make this game 5-1, all that was left was The Celebration. Which Ryan Howard got started even earlier than expected when he BLASTED OUT a Mike Bascik pitch in the 7th to score the final fun of the regular season for The Phillies. At 6-1 now--its was only a matter of six more outs to conclude the season for Our Washington Nationals.

Washington scored their only run of this game and Final Run of 2007 due to an error. Ronnie Belliard reached on a throwing error by Philadelphia 3rd Baseman Greg Dobbs. A mistake that found Our Number 10 on Second Base after a ground out by Dmitri Young and scoring on a single to left by Austin Kearns. A fast moving liner that Pat Burrell actually picked up nicely and threw a fine toss home. A potential out at the plate that "The Ballplayer", JUST BEAT, on a pop up slide past Philadelphia Catcher Carlos Ruiz. The score at that time in the 4th was only 3-1 Philadelphia. But, Rollins' Triple would be the decisive blow two innings later.

Washington's only other real threat came in the top of the 6th--when Belliard singled to lead off and Young followed with a one out single. A hit that found The Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel replacing Moyer with Tom Gordon. The Veteran Reliever getting Austin Kearns to ground into a inning ending, rally killing--double play. That frame, would yield the final potential comeback of 2007--as Our Washington Nationals did not threaten the rest of the way.

Final 2007 Record for Our Washington Nationals: 73-89, 4th Place, National League East. 9 other Major League Teams have the same or Worse Record than Our Team. No, they were not terrible. In fact--fun to watch most all season long. They came a long way from that awful 1-8 start and 9-25 early season record. Over 162 Games, Our Washington Nationals became a team. Not a championship team, mind you--but enjoyable--nonetheless.


The Sight of all those Phillie Fans waving those White Towels IMPRESSIVE. Personally, I can't wait for a similar day at New Nationals Park. Although Colleen did call me from her seats directly behind Washington's Third Base Dugout this afternoon--to say they were trapped in their seats--after the game--surrounded by celebrating Philadelphia Fans. Some of whom--were dousing she and her husband, Jeff, with Beer. I guess even in victory--class--never describes a Phillies Fan.

Finally, The African Queen and I were expecting to attend the final game of 2007. But, Timing did not work out. We were willing to go. It just did work out.

Look Forward to seeing EVERYBODY at New Nationals Park. No excuses now--about The Crappiness of The Stadium.

Today's InGame Photos--(AP) Tom Mihalek

9 comments:

Jim H said...

SBF and Sohna...

Proud you should be! Congrats on a well chronicled season. Keep in touch and we'll see you at the next one!

I hope you'll continue to provide you insight and scoops during the upcoming playoffs and Hot Stove season.

You guys are terrific. Thanks for all the time and effort.

Let the playoffs begin...

paul said...

Did anyone hear Carpenter's goodbye to the fans today? I started to listen but had to do something.

Eric said...

Thanks, SBF, for another fine season of Nats commentary. I always enjoy your blog and appreciate all your hard work. See you next year-- go Nats!

Elizabeth said...

Sohna and SBF - As a NEW fan to baseball (as a result of my 5 year old son's intense interest), I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for your true commitment to this team and adding color to the season for this novice. Your efforts are much appreciated! I look forward to reading in the offseason and next year! Many thanks.

Davidson said...

SBF and Sohna,

Thanks for a great season. As a Nationals fan in Philadelphia, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this season as much without your game recaps and interviews. You certainly made me feel like I was still in DC, enjoying the energy and excitement of Nationals baseball.

Enjoy your offseason and I look forward to cheering on the Nats with you both next season at opening day in the new park!

Anonymous said...

Great reading all summer. Sorry the season (for us) is all over. Already can't wait until next year!

All my best to The African Queen; and Screech of course... ;p

SenatorNat said...

It is amazing what the blog grew into from the germ of your original idea, and how integral it became as part of the essential building of "Nationals Spirit."

People say to guys to be funny: "You Married Up" which is to say that you are elevated by your wife.

You both have had an amazing experience shared at RFK - good, clean, gracious fun.

The new team, from it management to Screech, has been the beneficiary of what you committed to it, out of pure love of the game.

We were fortunate to have been part of the Gang.

Next year, the Nats go a bit corporate; but, it is time, and no one can say that we didn't ring every last drop out of the RFK experience in this, the 21st Century.

Trust in SBF. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for everything this season. My son and I have looked at the blog every day.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Thanks for what you do, I love coming here to read your take on the games. :)

I was at the game on Sunday, and the energy there was simply amazing. I can't wait until we have that here. It was definitely the most excited I've ever felt after a loss.

-Sarah