Sunday, June 29, 2008
Never Meant To Be
It was never meant to be this way.
New Nationals Park on display with 8 of 9 Opening Night Starters heading to the Disabled List at some point this season. Tonight Lastings Milledge added to the pain and suffering when he pulled his groin muscle chasing down a liner to left center off the bat of The Baltimore Orioles Alex Cintron in the 3rd inning. I could complain about the quality of Our Players all I want--but when Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, Austin Kearns, Chad Cordero, Shawn Hill and Milledge all are placed on the DL--Our Washington Nationals are a far worse team.
Sometimes not competitive, like this evening before the largest crowd to ever attend the new South Capitol Street Ballpark.
39,479 posted up to watch The Curly "W" Boys take on The "O's". Unfortunately, this game got out of hand early--thanks to some poor communication defensively by Our Washington Nationals, followed by worse pitching by John Lannan (having just a bad night) and "The Human Rain Delay" who just made sure things got out of hand.
I could complain about Dmitri's Defense. I could complain about Lannan missing a comebacker to the mound. I could complain about Young and Lannan not calling for a simple infield blooper in the key third inning that fell for a crucial hit. I could complain about how Lastings Milledge played the hit ball in which he was eventually injured. I could complain about a Jesus Flores passed ball. I could complain about Luke Scott and Ramon Hernandez hammering Our Number 31 for some well stroked Home Runs. And I could complain about how Our Washington Nationals lost all forward steam once Our Number 44 went down.
But, what good would it do?
You can't blame players or management for injuries--no matter how good or bad you believe those lost starters to be. Someone, most likely Our General Manager Jim Bowden, believed they were Our Best choices. Obviously, from the way Our Washington Nationals are competing right now--there is some truth to it. You can't win without your best--even a team that during pre-season a .500 record would have been considered respectable.
You know it, I know it--at times, Our Washington Nationals are hard to watch--such as this evening when The Orioles crushed Our Team 9-1. No way around it--this game was over early. Washington was not coming back into it.
There is no use speculating over What if Nick This? Or How about Ryan That? or Could "The Chief" Do? It doesn't matter. Our Washington Nationals have been dealt a bad deck of cards in 2008. A Full House of injured players in this Poker Match that has decimated Our Lineup. Six of a Kind is not possible in cards--but Our Washington Nationals have found a new way to bend the rules.
It's sad really. Our Team deserves better. Our Fans deserve better. And New Nationals Park deserves far better for the amount of effort made to put that ballpark together by--The District of Columbia--under the tightest deadline ever projected for a stadium.
Before some of you set off on a tangent. I remind you--many thought Our 2008 Lineup had a lot of potential. Quality talent now lost to the Disabled List. Of course--I am not talking about Wily Mo or FLop--they are unique cases all their own. But clearly--the injuries have decimated Our Lineup. Our Washington Nationals are hurting. And as difficult as they may be to watch at times--The African Queen and I are not giving up. No, we are not.
You can complain about under performing players, roster moves, trades, or the inability to sign player such and such. But, you can't complain about hurt players. Key performers all lost for significant time this season for the team that calls The Nation's Capital it's home. No, you can't. That's just not right.
Our Washington Nationals are a far better team with Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, Austin Kearns, Chad Cordero, Shawn Hill and now Lastings Milledge all healthy. No question about it. None of those losses are anybody's fault. But it doesn't make watching games like tonight at New Nationals Park any more enjoyable. We miss all those guys.
Because--it was never meant to be like this.
Final Score from Humid, Hot, then Rain Delayed Cool and Comfortable New Nationals Park--The Baltimore Orioles 9 and Our Washington Nationals 1.
Game Notes & Highlights
To many fans great credit--the 39,479 who showed up tonight on South Capitol Street proved that people like baseball and it doesn't matter whether your team is in first place or not. As summer commences, schools are out and many folks turn to baseball for their outdoor enjoyment. This was one terrific crowd--reportedly a larger one coming for the Sunday Finale.
But, The African Queen and I could do without the usual drunken bozos. Mostly Baltimore Fans in this case, who feel it's necessary to be vulgar and shout profanities the more The Orioles built their lead. Like Phillie Fans who have no class--it would nice if Baltimore's Fans would show a little more respect. Sohna and I never berate other team's fans. In fact, we usually engage them in friendly spirited fun. Unfortunately this evening--those fans from Baltimore sitting around us were classless. We did not appreciate their antics.
During the game, Milledge was placed on the 15 Day Disabled list and AA Centerfielder Roger Bernadina was called up from Harrisburg. That roster move was not all. Additionally, Our Washington Nationals announced Collin Balester will be added to The Major League Roster for Tuesday Night's game at Florida. The 22 Year Old Pitcher is a top prospect and has been lights out over his past 10 starts at AAA Columbus.
With not much more to say about tonight's game--the off field antics were quite entertaining.
During the One Hour and Three Minute Rain Delay--most everyone on Club Level retreated to the friendly confines of The Stars & Stripes Club. As the crowd built--My Best Friend!! Screech!! showed up to ham it up, sign autographs and hand out a few Kids Baseball Gloves to a few children. But his best effort of the evening was racing some of the Suite Ushers on the second level. This was funny. Believe it or not--SCREECH!! Won The Race!!
Finally--Tonight was The Grudge Match. The much anticipated Baltimore Oriole Bird versus Teddy in a NON-Sanctioned Middle of The Fourth Inning Race. This challenge by Teddy the result of The Bird tripping up Our Lovable Loser last night at New Nationals Park during The GIECO Presidents Race. This evening, virtually the entire crowd was on their feet waiting for this moment to come. After The Bird & Teddy were introduced--The Oriole Mascot took off--well in front of Our Number 26. But, then Teddy TURNED ON THE HEAT. Running at a pace never seen before--The Rushmore who has never won a Live Presidents Race--streaked across the outfield warning track--toward the right field corner--then pushed on by MIGHTY CHEERS--Teddy handily WON THE PRESIDENTS RACE for the first time IN HISTORY!!
Teddy dropping to his knees in JOY!! This was a victory never before witnessed at RFK STADIUM or New Nationals Park. The standing ovation for Teddy said it all. But not moments later, it was announced by some organization called The Presidents Racing Association of America--they had not sanctioned this race. So, technically--Teddy DID NOT WIN!! Still, it was a GREAT MOMENT. I can't tell you how happy I was to NOT SEE The Baltimore Oriole Bird WIN!!
We couldn't possibly go that low.
Tonight's InGame Photo--(AP) Lawrence Jackson
All Other Photos--Nats320