Friday, September 26, 2008
Number 100 & We Almost Couldn't Hear It
This evening was the very first time Sohna and I had the opportunity to listen to Charlie Slowes & Dave Jageler on 1500 AM--
WFED--since Bonneville Communications removed Our Washington Nationals from 107.7 FM. To say the least, this new arrangement is UNACCEPTABLE!! From our home in Alexandria, Virginia--we can barely hear the signal properly. Echos and Constant Noises--many times The African Queen and I felt like we were listening to Charlie & Dave from a bunker in Afghanistan.
Honestly, it was that bad.
If Bonneville signed a contract with Our Washington Nationals to broadcast the games on 1500 AM and 107.7 FM, among other affiliates for the 2008 Season, what gives Bonneville the right to arbitrarily remove Washington Broadcasts from the air and put them, as a fall back, on WFED ONLY--when the current season has yet to be completed?
Seems like a breech of contract to me?
Our Washington Nationals need to solve this issue over the off-season. Charlie & Dave need a strong FM Signal to broadcast their games. There is no way Washington Fans throughout the Greater DC Area can not hear the radio play-by-play properly. This is not 1968, but 2008. The time of Digital Communications. Our Washington Nationals should not be regulated to the bygone days of AM Radio Only.
If Bonneville has breeched the contract, then Our Washington Nationals should have the right to shop their broadcasts elsewhere. Nothing less is acceptable. Whether another strong FM Signal might be available--is the other question.
Of course considering the outcome of tonight's game at Citizens Bank Park, maybe The African Queen and I were lucky the 1500AM signal was so weak in our home. Facing a loud, hostile and close to Division Championship Wanting Crowd in South Philadelphia, Our Number 40 got whacked. No one for The Phillies doing more damage than Ryan Howard. The Former NL MVP knocking a three run homer and rbi double, giving The Home Side an early 7-1 lead that Washington could never fight back from. What made the early deficit so frustrating was watching Balester serve Howard low in the strike zone fastballs and breaking pitches. The very pitches Ryan can hammer. Maybe his command was off, maybe he just had a bad night. Maybe his September call up catcher, Luke Montz, didn't fully understand the game plan, but Collin needs to either throw the ball in the dirt or pound Howard with letter high fastballs. Ryan Howard has never been able to consistently hit those pitches.
What Balester threw him--Howard crushed--even into a stiff wind blowing from centerfield to rightfield.
Hopefully, Collin Balester learned a lesson tonight. He didn't look good, under pressure, in a playoff environment.
Now behind by six runs before the second inning was even completed--Washington attempted to get back into the game. A two run 5th and a Kory Casto Home Run to right field was simply not enough--even after Our Number 5's shot was the very first Homer subjected to Instant Replay by The Umpires. With the naked eye, it was unclear whether a fan leaning over the railing had interfered with the hit ball. After a short delay, The Umpires ruled the fan did not touch the ball until after the baseball had gone over the right field wall. Casto awarded his 2nd Homer of 2008.
A then 7-4 score that never became closer as a fervent Home crowd--waving their White Rally Towels all night long--did all they could to cheer their Phillies to victory. An eventual win, combined with a New York Mets loss to Florida at Shea Stadium this evening that sets up Citizens Bank Park tomorrow afternoon as a possible clinching date of the NL East Title. The Mets play at 1PM. The Phillies at 3:55PM. The African Queen and I are going to be in The Lion's Den in South Philly tomorrow. Experience tells us it's not going be easy rooting for Our Washington Nationals. But, unquestionably, it's going to be very, very interesting. At least for us, we are going down fighting as the season comes to an end.
As Sohna said tonight as we watched the Game on MASN, while attempting to listen to Charlie & Dave on 1500AM: Can you imagine what Nationals Park will be like when we are that close to winning a title? Yes, she is right. The thrill of it all would be mighty exciting and make all the experiences we lived through in 2008 and beforehand--all the more worthwhile. A High Time we hope comes more sooner than later.
Final Score from a ROCKING Citizens Bank Park, The Philadelphia Phillies 8 and Our Washington Nationals 4. Washington reaching the century mark in losses in 2008. Now 41 Games Below .500, a Moment In Time no one following Baseball In Washington really wanted to see.
No one--no matter the circumstances.
But The African Queen and I would still have enjoyed LISTENING to this affair (with the TV sound turned down) with Charlie & Dave coming in crystal clear on the radio. No Away Game of Our Washington Nationals is worth paying attention to without Two Of The Finest Radio Broadcasters in the game calling the Play-By-Play. Which had Sohna and I laughing over the quandry: So, if we couldn't hear them, as hard as we tried--did this loss really take place?
Game Notes & Highlights
Lastings Milledge once again had me shaky my head over a defensive decision. As Emilio Bonifacio drifted back for a pop up by Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins, Our Number 44 called for the ball in the bottom of the 4th inning. With Emilio seconds away from making the catch--Milledge's yells for the ball forced Our Number 7 to drift away from the falling hit. Only to see Lastings DIVE FOR THE BALL AT THE LAST MOMENT. Like--say what? Lastings, if you are calling for the ball, you better have the catch under control--not sending another fielder away that already had the ball in sight--easily. The Result--Lastings Milledge missed the ball and Rollins ended up on second base. He didn't eventually score--but the misplay was just awful. There is no excuse for bad communication this late in the season.
Manny also had me wondering in the 7th. With Michael Hinckley in trouble, Our Manager came out to remove him from the game. The Phillies had runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs. Our Number 58 had just recorded that second out on a ground ball by Shane Victorino. A potential 6-4-3 Double Play Ball that was foiled when Philadelphia's Eric Brunlett took out Bonifacio at second base. A good, clean play.
With the lefthanded Greg Dobbs stepping to the plate, Our Number 14 removed Hinckley from the game--knowing full well The Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel would counter with a right handed hitter--Pedro Feliz. This was a three run game at that time. Hinckley had yet to allow one single run in his previous 12 appearances in The Majors. A Perfect Record.
Why trust the situation to "The Human Rain Delay"? Why send Jesus Colome to the mound to relieve Michael Hinckley? Would it not be better to see if this youngster can find a way out of a situation of his own doing? Why not let Our Number 58 grow up on the job? This is what September is about for teams out of contention.
The fact that Hinckley was unscored upon hopefully was not a factor. But I am not sure. But I would have loved to ask Manny that question. Especially after "The Human Rain Delay" threw a rising fastball that Luke Montz could not handle. A passed ball that officially gave Michael his first run scored against--although an unearned one. Still, I would have enjoyed more seeing Our Number 58 working himself out of his own trouble--facing the heart of The Phillies Lineup. Experience he could harness for situations to come later, in his burgeoning career.
Luke Montz would knock in his first RBI of his Major League Career. A two out single to left in the top of the 2nd that scored Elijah Dukes from third with Washington's First Run of the evening. Cristian Guzman had another two hit night. But with Ryan Zimmerman still out of the lineup recovering from Flu Symptoms--few others could pick up for his loss.
Of course, Collin Balester had put Washington in a Big Hole with his worst start of his young career. 1.2 innings pitched allowing 7 runs on 7 hits and one walk. When Manny took that slow stroll out to the mound to replace Balester with Jason Bergmann, you could see the frustration on Balester's Face as Our Number 14 simply took the ball from his hand. As Collin slowly walked away, he looked dejected--knowing A Huge Phillie Home Crowd would be cheering him lustily for his mistakes--all the way to the clubhouse. Not a good feeling that must have been.
Finally, interesting that Manny Acta announced to the media covering Our Team this afternoon that changes are a coming within Our Coaching Staff for 2009. The shakeup is about to be announced. A not unexpected move after a new manager usually gets his say on his own people for the first year or two of his reign. You have to figure that Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire is safe. I can't say for 100% who else may be.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) H. Rumph, Jr.