Friday, August 15, 2008
One Mistake, One Miscue, One Mental Error
For nearly five innings tonight Our Washington Nationals played a fairly tight game. They were in the lead, up one run against The Colorado Rockies, and Tim Redding was putting up a representative outing on the mound. As Our Starter, he was even on the receiving end of some keys hits from his teammates. Our Offense was scoring a few runs--early. And for the first time in over one week--Washington was possibly closing in on a win.
All on the night--Sohna and I spent the entire game visiting with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler in their Broadcast Booth--WAY UP TOP and Nearly OVER TOP--New Nationals Park. Man!! Those Boys Sit HIGH ABOVE THE PLAYING FIELD!! A get together that has been in the planning stages for some time. We had a blast!!
Then--just like that--One Big Mistake, Miscue, Mental Error, by Washington unraveled this game. No, it never fails. When things are going bad, one little slip up can prove costly. With Two Outs and one runner on base in the top of the 5th inning at New Nationals Park--that moment came. Quickly, and decisively.
Our Number 17 held a 2-1 lead before allowing a two out single up the middle to The Rockies--Seth Smith. Still, Redding needed just one more out to get out of this frame unscathed. Unfortunately, he had to face perennial All Star Left Fielder Matt Holliday. A tough task that Tim seemed to have under his control, at least, until Holliday uncorked on the 4th pitch of this game changing At-Bat--and sent a screaming liner to dead centerfield--right at Lastings Milledge. A hard stroked ball--but playable.
Easily caught--until Our Number 44 misplayed his read on the ball. Instead of backing up a few steps to catch the stroked baseball--Lastings misjudged the arc and ran in. Big Mistake, and he knew it--right away. Attempting to readjust and use his athletic talents to his best ability--even Milledge could see--he could not overcome this misplay. As Lastings Milledge leaped as high as his back running legs would take him--in an attempt snare the hit--the baseball sailed Right Over His Glove. An eventual ruled double that scored Smith all the way from first with the game tying run. And had many in the Home Faithful Crowd of 27,965 Moaning and Groaning over whether Our Washington Nationals were about to throw away another winnable game.
One batter later--that belief came true.
Brad Hawpe would UNLOAD on a Tim Redding fastball just over the centerfield wall for a two run homer. In a mere matter of minutes--a one time one run lead, was now a one run deficit in favor of Colorado. Our Washington Nationals had found a way to fall behind again--by not helping themselves make the routine plays. Lastings Milledge had make the first gaffe and Tim Redding made the second. Washington should have been out of the inning--easily. Instead--they had put themselves out of this game.
How quickly things changed. How fast Our Offense shut down for the remainder of the night. Washington would add one more run to the tally board in the bottom of the 6th by manufacturing their third score--but they never really threatened again. Hope had turned to dismay when Lastings Milledge did not catch Matt Holliday's drive. And all was lost when Tim Redding gave up the game winning home run. All three runs for The Rockies Scoring--after Washington SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE INNING--sitting in their dugout--heading to home plate--to bat. Not still standing in the field, wondering, what should have been.
Since it was raining when The Colorado Rockies began this Two Out Rally--maybe The Baseball Gods were also crying--upset over whether Our Washington Nationals can pull themselves back together again in 2008. This loss was sad--because it did not have to be. Now losers of 8 Straight and 18 out of 24, Loss Number 79 came on a cool wet evening when Washington proved that when things are not going well--something always seemingly happens--to take even the slightest chance of winning away.
One Mistake, One Miscue, One Mental Error--proved costly.
Final score from a disappointed New Nationals Park--The Colorado Rockies 4 and Our Washington Nationals 3. Just 39 Games Remaining In This Season--can Washington possibly avoid 100 loses?
No--we didn't get to hear Charlie Slowes BELLOW OUT "Bang!! Zoom!! Go The Fireworks!!" or "Another Curly 'W' is in the BOOKS!!" As badly as we wanted to hear him shout those two FAMOUS CALLS OUT IN PERSON--LIVE!! But it did not take the fun away from one terrific night hanging out with two of the best Baseball Broadcasters in the business. Really, we love those guys. And of Course the now Infamous--The Jack Of All Things--Jack Hicks. No Nats Radio Broadcast is ever the same without Charlie and Dave's Chief Engineer on the scene--making everything work--and adding to their hilarity.
There will be MUCH, MUCH MORE on Our Special Night with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler at New Nationals Park coming up in a later posting. Interviews, a little play by play action, and some comedy--some really funny stuff. Along with Jack Hicks, they are as professional as can be, and hilarious beyond belief in person--just like on the radio. They let it all hang out tonight--for our benefit. They were great hosts.
Game Notes & Highlights
Tim Redding became noticeably bothered after Lastings Milledge's miscue in centerfield on Matt Holliday's drive. Our Number 44 made a mental mistake, something he will hopefully learn from. But Redding should have known better--pitching to a dangerous and powerful lefthanded slugger in Hawpe. In the top of the 3rd, The Rockies shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki also took Redding deep to left for a homer--Colorado's first run of this game.
Two pitches into the game--Our Washington Nationals had a one run lead. Emilio Bonifacio slashed the first pitch he saw from Jorge De La Rosa and ripped it down the left field line. Ronnie Belliard followed with another first pitch drive to right field scoring Bonifacio easily. But with Colorado Rightfielder Brad Hawpe playing the baseball well--Our Number 10 attempted to stretch his RBI Single into a Double. HUGE MISTAKE. Hawpe easily threw out Belliard at second base. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a two pitch At-Bat before grounding out and Milledge followed with a first pitch flyout to center. Five minutes into the bottom of the 1st--and after only five pitches total were thrown--Washington led 1-0.
Washington scored their second run when Belliard walked, moved to second on a Wild Pitch and scored when Ryan Zimmerman ripped an opposite field drive to right for his 32nd RBI of his injury shortened season. Hitting well of late for average--Our Number 11 still not hitting for much power.
Austin Kearns was hit by pitch to lead off the bottom of the sixth--advanced to second on a wild pitch by De La Rosa and moved to third on a Jesus Flores flyout to center. Eventually, Our Number 25 would score Washington's final run of this affair on a ground out to shortstop by Aaron Boone. Routine, except for the fine defensive play made by Tulowitzki. Boone would hit a sharply hit grounder to The Rox's Shortstop--to his right side. Ranging over, Tulowitzki backhanded the baseball into his glove hand, then LEAPED off his front foot and threw a terrific toss to Garrett Atkins at first base. As Charlie and Dave praised the effort on the air--Dave concluded, even Derek Jeter doesn't make that play and throw--maybe ever in his career. And Jeter is one of the best Yankee Shortstops Ever--possible Hall of Famer. Troy Tulowitzki shows some terrific range and arm to retire Our Number 8.
But Aaron Boone got the last laugh. With Colorado runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs in the top of the 7th, "The Human Rain Delay" on the mound for Washington and the very dangerous Matt Holliday at the plate--Jesus Colome forced Holliday to pop a foul fly near the first base stands, and the camera well next to Our Washington Nationals Dugout. Aaron did not give up on the play and made a fabulous over the railing catch to retire Holliday, The Rockies and keep Washington into a one run game. Aaron Boone with The Defensive Play Of This Game.
Emilio Bonifacio may well have slammed the very first pitch of the night from Jorge De La Rosa for a double down the left field line. Our Number 7 may well have scored Washington's first run of the evening, as well. But, for the remainder of this game, Bonifacio was not a factor--offensively. Striking out four times, The Golden Sombrero, including once with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 4th to quell a rally. And finally, to end this ball game on the final out. Emilio has shown little patience at the plate--like none whatsoever.
As Charlie mentioned on the radio--Aaron Boone might have given Washington some hope to get back into this game with his Defensive Play Of This Game. But, what his effort also proved was that for the first time, in some time, Our Washington Nationals actually have a player that can man first base and play the position well. Kory Casto and Ronnie Belliard have had their moments--but they don't have the skills to play first base. Both are exposed on a regular basis.
There was a very odd moment around 10:10PM tonight at New Nationals Park. While the game was progressing, nothing particular was actually happening at that time. But, out of nowhere came this HUGE CHEER RISING UP FROM BELOW. Sitting next to Dave Jageler while Charlie Slowes was doing play by play--Dave looked at me shrugging his shoulders in the "What's Up?" signal. Looking up at a TV Monitor above our heads--I pointed to what was on the television. Michael Phelps had just won his 7th Gold Medal at the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games in the Butterfly--but just barely. As Dave mentioned on air--apparently the cheering came from the many Suite Holders watching the event while at the baseball game. Funny and odd at the same time. The Noise Was Loud. You had to wonder what the players thought of the interruption?
Finally, from high above in the Radio Broadcast Booth, you have got to give Charlie & Dave some serious credit for their play by play calling. Every fly ball looks like it is going out of the park. Every hard hit grounder or liner in the infield--is difficult to determine. You really can't tell, until you see the movement of the players. Jokingly--Dave Jageler asked The African Queen and I if we would mind switching our seats in Row A of Section 218 with them--so they can broadcast a ball game and see the action up close. Call the game right. On second thought, Dave might have been serious. Those guys need to be closer to the field. They really do.
Charlie and Dave both did interviews with Sohna and I this evening. And, we have the entire broadcast, with all fun and excitement they provided for us to write about. Much more coming later on Our Evening With "The Jack Of All Things!!"
Sorry Charlie--I just couldn't help myself on that one.