Thursday, September 25, 2008
First Pitch Of The Game by Tim Redding in the top of the 1st inning--Home Run Deep To Left Center By Hanley Ramirez.
1-0 The Florida Marlins.
Third Pitch to Cameron Maybin--Double To Left Field.
Fourth Pitch to Jorge Cantu--Hit By Pitch by Our Number 17.
A disappointing start that only took Home Plate Umpire Kevin Causey about two more seconds to Warn Both Teams about retaliatory attacks. An unlikely spur of the moment by the arbiter. A decision that had The Marlins Manager Fredi Gonzalez quickly heading out of the visiting dugout to protest--immediately followed by Our Manager Manny Acta.
Maybe Umpire Causey should have warned both teams he wanted to see a better game. Not two teams out of contention just going through the motions of Game Number 158 of The 2008 Schedule. And maybe Our Number 14 was apologizing for the rough beginning (and that's just a joke) by Our Team.
Either way or however you look at it--the conversations between The Managers and Umpires failed to deflect the danger ahead--a soon to become blowout. A Ball Game with little excitement. That is, unless you were cheering for The Fish and there weren't many of their fans in attendance. No, not at all.
Making his final start of the season, and with a chance to finish with a winning record--Our Number 17 concluded 2008 with his worst start of the season. Less than three innings pitched and seven earned runs allowed. Tim Redding had nothing in the tank and The Florida Marlins knocked him all over South Capitol Street. A resultant early 7-0 deficit before Washington had even batted for their third time. A hole dug so deep, instead of heading home for the fall and winter with an 11-10 record or even at 10-10, Redding found himself tonight now walking off the mound, for the final time, knowing the big deficit he put his team in would finish him with a losing record in The First Season ever played at New Nationals Park.
Did he ever get walloped.
Yeah, Washington attempted to get back into this one by scoring two runs in the bottom of the 3rd and two more in the 8th--but this game was NEVER TRULY IN DOUBT. The Marlins' advantage so decisive that by the time the 9th inning rolled around--there could only have been a few thousand left from the announced crowd of 23,299. When Lastings Milledge popped out to Hanley Ramirez at shortstop to end this game--nary a sound was heard within New Nationals Park.
Really, it was that quiet.
Everyone in the stands just got up to leave--knowing that had just witnessed a bummer of a game.
The Warning had been given by Home Plate Umpire Kevin Causey before one out was even recorded in the very first inning. Unfortunately, the danger sounded ahead could not be overcome by Our Washington Nationals. They could not find a better game to play.
Final Score from a mostly silent New Nationals Park where there is nothing like The Fish coming to town. A South Florida Team that draws very few fans--both at home and on the road--do they ever have a poor fan base. The Florida Marlins 9 and Our Washington Nationals 4 in nine less than stellar innings. A veteran pitcher had put Washington in a big hole and a makeshift Manny Lineup without Ryan Zimmerman, Cristian Guzman and Willie Harris included, simply could not dig themselves out of it. Loss Number 99 of 2008 was in the bag four pitches from the start. Yeah, this one got out of hand early. And when this game finally ended--the latest defeat all but assured Our Washington Nationals will reach the 100 Level Plateau of Losses in The Inaugural Season of New Nationals Park.
Sad, but virtually unavoidable now. Hopefully, they will not reach that century mark in the final home game of 2008.
Game Notes & Highlights
What a line score from Tim Redding this evening: 2.2 innings pitched, 7 hits allowed, 2 walks, 7 earned runs and an ERA that rose from 4.67 to 4.95 before he hit the home clubhouse steps. Pitching the most innings, in any season, in his Major League Career--182--Our Number 17 tired noticeably down the stretch. Taking away, at least statistically, what had been for the five previous months, a fairly solid campaign.
There was one THRILLING moment tonight, thanks to the glove of Roger Bernadina. Starting in left field, Our Number 2 quickly and deftly loped back toward the left centerfield wall on a drive off the bat of The Marlins Jorge Cantu in the top of the 4th. With baseball clearly over his head and past his outstretched glove, Bernadina leaped, with his glove hand, his right hand extended AS FAR AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Seconds before he face planted himself into the warning track, Roger caught the ball as both his body and the baseball were both losing gravity. A tremendous catch that found Bernadina landing hard and rolling slightly into the Visitors Bullpen Fence. Easily, The Defensive Play of This Game. Maybe only outdone by Reed Johnson, the centerfielder of The Chicago Cubs who FLATOUT LAID OUT for a drive to left center off the bat of Felipe Lopez back on April 25th. The very night Wil Nieves hit his IMPROBABLE game winning homer to right to defeat the team that now, is clearly, The Best In The National League--The Cubbies.
Doesn't that moment seem like about Two Years Ago? It's hard to believe how that Our Washington Nationals defeated The Chicago Cubs two out of three at New Nationals Park five months ago. Of course, Alfonso Soriano was still injured and on The Disabled List at that time.
Emilio Bonifacio continued to play well batting soley from the left side of the plate. Using his speed he ripped a triple to right field scoring Nieves with Washington's first run. And scored on a routine ground out by Alberto Gonzalez. A walk to Elijah Dukes and consecutive singles off the bats of Kory Casto, Pete Orr and Nieves plated their final two runs of the evening in the eighth--when this game was mostly already over.
When we play The Marlins why does it seem that either Ramirez, Josh Willingham or Dan Uggla hit homers against us--like all the time? Tonight, Ramirez and Willingham with the honors. If Uggla goes this entire series without knocking one out of the park, I will be mighty surprised. He, along with Houston's Lance Berkman hit two of most TITANTIC Shots at RFK Stadium. Uggla's on Opening Day, 2007 into the Upper Deck in DEAD CENTERFIELD at The Old Ballyard On East Capitol Street. Did he ever hammer that shot. I don't think I will ever forget it--just like Berkman's off Zach Day to centerfield in 2006 and Daryl Ward's Extra Inning Towering Shot into the Yellow Seats just above the foul pole down the right field line off The Astros's Russ Springer-also in 2006. Ward's maybe the most Majestic Home Run in the short history of Our Washington Nationals. The very fact there was a Full Moon shining just above the wavy rooftop of RFK where the home run was launched--made that Blast By Ward Something Special. No one on sight that night, could possibly forget that one--not even the Salute he gave The Crowd After Crossing Home Plate. That was a great moment never to be forgotten by me.
Of course with The Marlins in town--Mr. Misty May was on hand donning a Florida Uniform and in the starting lineup. Married to the two time Olympic Beach Volleyball Champion and arguably The Greatest Women's Player of All Time--Misty May. Matt Treanor may well play Professional Baseball, but he will always play second fiddle to his wife.
As I told The African Queen, if Misty May was anywhere at New Nationals Park watching her husband and I found out about it--I would have been there, in a heart beat to take a picture with her. That Lady is ONE TREMENDOUS ATHLETE. Of course, she is now competing on "Dancing With The Stars".
Tonight was the final Fan Giveaway for 2008. The first 20,000 arriving, and since there were only 20,299 announced--it's a safe bet most everyone got a Curly "W" Navy Blue Scarf as they entered the ballpark tonight. In fact, considering the cooler temperatures, the scarf came in handy for some--including for Our Friends Melissa and Matt. Melissa wearing the Curly "W" Scarf proudly for this photo.
Although tomorrow's final home game versus The Florida Marlins might be in jeopardy, due to torrential rains expected--Sohna plans to show up at New Nationals Park--rain or shine. Win, Lose or Postponed--The African Queen will complete a personal odyssey on Thursday, September 25th. She will have attended EVERY SINGLE GAME PLAYED AT NEW NATIONALS PARK in it's Inaugural Season Of Play--including the exhibition against The Baltimore Orioles and The First Game ever played. A college affair between George Washington University and St. Josephs. Good for her. She wanted to be there and loves coming to each and every game.
Finally, to their great credit--during the 8th inning, Our Washington Nationals announced that one of The Washington Senators Greatest Players--Mickey Vernon--had passed away this afternoon at the age of 90. Mr. Vernon had suffered a stroke last week and never was able to recover. Fans of Our Washington Nationals may well remember meeting Mickey Vernon at home games played at RFK Stadium. Three times, to my recollection, Mr. Vernon showed up to sign autographs for any fan wishing from 2005 through 2007. Twice an American League Batting Champion--Mickey Vernon was one of the most famous players to ever don a Senators Jersey. President Dwight D. Eisenhower also called Mr. Vernon "My Favorite Player".
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass