Saturday, May 10, 2008
Ugly On The Field--Nice Off The Field
At 7:11PM, Mike O'Connor threw the very first pitch of tonight's game. And before the clock struck 7:12PM--The Florida Marlins had already scored. A Leadoff First Pitch--Hammered--Home Run well over the leftfield wall by Cody Ross. A Tone Set that played out all night long. Not many baseball games are over early. This one was. Five Singles, Two Doubles, Three Home Runs and Seven Walks allowed by Washington this evening.
The Fish plating runners at will in ONE UGLY GAME.
Making his first Major League Start since September 28, 2006--the night of the infamous Midnight Game at RFK Stadium--Mike O'Connor did not have anything in the tank. No control, less command and when Our Manager Manny Acta slowly walked out to the mound to remove Our Number 54 from this game--you had to feel sorry for him. Because not only was Mike booed by those fans on hand, but the emergence of Manny from the dugout to take him out--elicited cheers--sadly. Tonight's crowd not in a forgiving mood. Mike O'Connor slowly and dejectedly walking to the home clubhouse having allowed six walks, six hits, two home runs and eventually nine runs allowed.
Because--once Joel Hanrahan relieved O'Connor--amazingly--this game GOT WORSE. The Hard Throwing and many times out of control Hanrahan immediately threw a wild pitch to score Florida's sixth run. Then, after walking Jorge Cantu to again load the bases--Dan Uggla UNLOADED A GRAND SLAM off Our Number 38 over the left wall into The Marlins Bullpen. A 93 MPH First Pitch Flat Fastball that Florida's Second Baseman whacked. A resultant Seven Run 4th inning that now put this game out of reach. 10-0 before The Geico Presidents Race was even run. I don't recall that large of a deficit, ever, at RFK Stadium by the 4th inning--during the first three seasons since Major League Baseball returned to Washington.
An eventual 11-0 shellacking by The Florida Marlins--winners of all five games they have EVER PLAYED at New Nationals Park. A lopsided victory for The NL East Leaders that also found Our Washington Nationals providing no offensive support. Highly touted Florida Lefthander, Andrew Miller, shuting down the Washington Offense through seven innings. Taylor Tankersley and Matt Lindstrom finishing this blowout off.
Not much more to say about this one. Just a terrible game to watch on the field. Ugly. Thankfully, Sohna and I were treated tonight to a special time--off the field--making this evening far more bearable. More on that later.
Game Notes & Highlights
By the time The Marlins completed their game breaking Seven Run 4th inning--Mike O'Connor's ERA had ballooned to 13.00. Ouch!
Only FLop seemed to have his bat moving in a positive direction. Felipe Lopez with two of Washington's three hits. "The Guz" with the other. Not one--for extra bases. At one point--Andrew Miller retired 14 Nats Batters in a row. When Cristian Guzman singled in the bottom of the first--not one Washington Batter reached base again until FLop singled in the 6th--to rousing applause.
With the score already 11-0, Cristian Guzman ripped a Taylor Tankersley pitch to the wall in left field in the bottom of the 8th. Florida's Brett Carroll ran hard all the way to the track and leaped into the fence--making a very fine catch. The Defensive Play of This Game that also found Carroll bouncing off the wall--onto his back--and flipping over--landing steadily on his two feet. It was a very nice catch and roll for a game well out of hand.
The Marlins' Matt Lindstrom can HUM the baseball. Pitching in a mop up role in the bottom of the 9th--this righthanded fireballer consistently reached the upper 90's. Three times, the radar gun clocked him at 97 MPH. He was impressive!! What an arm--with control.
Tonight Sohna and I were invited to The Lexus Presidents Club. An opportunity to enjoy the various amenities. Sitting in the first row, next to Our Washington Nationals On Deck Circle--we experienced the ball game up close and personal--like never before for a Washington Home Game. Impressive to witness a 96 MPH heater thrown directly in front of you. The game appears to be played at a faster pace. The reaction times speeded up. The many Grunts, Groans and Chatter among the players--compelling and within earshot. The players so close--you could actually reach out and touch them--if not for the protective screen.
At first, we found ourselves a little disoriented. After sitting 25 rows from the field in Section 320 at RFK Stadium and now slightly farther back but higher in Section 218 at New Nationals Park--watching the game flat was odd for Sohna and I. But, as the game progressed we became far more accustomed to the sight angles. And we enjoyed the ability to look into Our Washington Nationals Dugout during a game for the very first time ever.
Even Nick Johnson acknowledged The African Queen while warming up. Third Base Coach Tim Tolman stopping by for a brief chat before the game.
The fully padded seats extremely comfortable. In-Seat Waiter Service included a whole host of food menu items at no cost--except for Alcohol/Liquor--available until the 7th inning stretch. The Order Taker simply came to your seat--asked for your choices. Shortly thereafter--a waiter would bring your items directly to you. This evening--Sohna sampled The Chicken Tenders, while I enjoyed The Chicken Ceasar Salad for dinner. Later--The African Queen ordered a Hagen Daz Chocolate Ice Cream Bar, while I munched on some Curly "W" Popcorn.
After the game ended--we retired to The Presidents Club for Coffee & Tea--while watching Our Manager Manny Acta's Press Conference from the Viewing Glass inside The Club. Very neat.
A different experience. A different angle to watch the game. All providing a different story to tell and pass on. Team President Stan Kasten chuckling upon first noticing us sitting in tonight's seats, stating: "This ought to be good, and I want to hear the entire story!"
We LOVED the opportunity to see Our Washington Nationals play at New Nationals Park from just off home plate. The Presidents Club was enjoyable and helped take the sting out of tonight's ugly loss. Many thanks to Pete--Presidents & Diamond Club Team Captain--for his hospitality this evening. He was TERRIFIC!!
Finally--this post could not finish without noting that The African Queen was voted The Fan Of The Game!! this evening by the 28,663 in attendance. Cheering for Ryan Zimmerman--the NatsTV camera caught her rooting for Our Number 11. Later in the game--she was shown on the HDTV Scoreboard with two other contestants. Sohna received the biggest cheers and was given a $50 Harris Teeter Gift Card for her effort. She was quite thrilled.
Tonight's Photos--Nats320 (All Rights Reserved)