Thursday, June 04, 2009
The Dilemma Of Number 300
Perfect into the 4th inning.
No Hitter into the 5th inning.
Randy Johnson was making his first chance to reach 300 Career Victories even more interesting than anticipated.
Then the real dilemma began.
With The San Francisco Giants ahead 2-1 with two outs in the 8th inning and Johnson out of the game with the lead after the 6th, Our Washington Nationals found themselves with the bases loaded with two outs and Adam Dunn at the plate with a full count. DC's best shot all this soggy afternoon to tie this affair and take the lead.
And most everyone was CHEERING FOR THE STRIKEOUT.
The atmosphere was sort of surreal. Torrential downpours for two straight days had limited the attendance for this makeup game. Sparse is probably the accurate description. But the Big Question arose--Do You Want To See History? Or Do You Want To See A Curly "W"?
The African Queen--She was all out for the Washington Win, The Curly "W" Being Put In The Books. Charlie Slowes screaming "Bang!! Zoom!! Go The Fireworks!!
Me--I couldn't root against Our Washington Nationals. If Dunn slammed it out of the park no doubt--I would be cheering. But I was still a little torn--seeing ANY PITCHER win his 300th game might not come my way again--in my lifetime.
Two of our friends sitting behind us in Section 218 both WANTED TO SEE JOHNSON GET THE VICTORY. "It's late in the game, Johnson's close to winning, it's a tight game, but History Over A Washington Win--in this particular case," one said.
Most of the fans on hand at Nationals Park must have felt the same way. They were on their feet, stomping and making noise. An out was all they wanted. The Big K preferred, thrown by San Francisco's Brian Wilson. The Giants hard throwing reliever sending his 95MPH Heater across the plate.
Of course, there was another even less pleasing possibility.
What if Our Washington Nationals came back to tie the game, or take the lead--but lose in the 9th or extra innings?
EVERYONE WOULD GO HOME UNHAPPY--no doubt about that.
So as the crowd stood in anticipation, a collective breath was taken as Wilson rared back and tossed in the 6th and final pitch of one of the most important games Randy Johnson will EVER PARTICIPATE IN, IN HIS LIFETIME.
A CALLED THIRD STRIKE!! By Home Plate Umpire Tim Timmons that was a good six inches low. Ball Four!! And everyone at Nationals Park and watching on television knew it to be true. Adam Dunn forcefully arguing the call. Our Manager Manny Acta jumping out of the dugout to protect Dunn from being thrown out.
Knowing HISTORY was there for the taking--Home Plate Umpire Tim Timmons--decided to take matters into his own hands.
Those wet and rain drenched fans at Nationals Park roaring with delight. You would have thought Adam Dunn had just hit a home run. Instead, Our Washington Nationals were out. And definitely defeated when Joel Hanrahan came on for the 9th and couldn't retire any of the four San Francisco Batters he faced. Allowing three runs, Our Number 38 could have been awarded the unofficial save for Randy Johnson's 300th Career Win.
Final Score from Nationals Park where for the 24th time in Major League History a pitcher recorded his 300th Career Win, The San Francisco Giants 5 and Our Washington Nationals 1. A resultant celebration only missing The Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! as just about everyone on hand on South Capitol Street was standing, applauding and taking in the moment so few have ever accomplished in The Big Leagues. To his great credit, The Big Unit, after receiving thanks from his family, his teammates and his close friends--stood in front of the visitors dugout and waved TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE PARK--Thanking them for being there and appreciating HIS MOMENT.
The Dilemma of Number 300 had worked itself out.
Most seemed satisfied.
Of course 10 Years from now 42,000 people will say they were on hand. But what is safe to remember is there might have been more folks on the rooftop of Garage B attending Ladies Night--1000--than sitting in the stands at Nationals Park at most anytime during this historic game. There were few on hand watching baseball--and that amount should be recorded for posterity too.
More on the first of two Ladies Nights this 2009 Season coming tomorrow.
Game Notes & Highlights
Lost in Randy Johnson's 300th Victory was Jordan Zimmermann pitching outstanding ball for six strong innings. Our Number 27 struck out seven, wasn't fazed by the attention given his starting competition tonight and threw one of his better outings this rookie season. If Nick Johnson could have picked off Travis Ishikawa's double that just got past NJ in the 2nd--Zimmermann might have left with a 1-0 lead after six. But instead, he left behind in the score and took his third loss against two victories. Jordan Zimmermann deserved better, but couldn't muster his 3rd career victory--297 less than Johnson--in game one this afternoon.
As for Game Two--it should have NEVER BEEN PLAYED. It rained throughout the six innings eventually played. The field was a mess and as Sohna said--made for one of the most miserable evenings at the ballpark in some time. And when it was eventually called with The Giants ahead 4-1, we don't think anyone really minded. The African Queen and I stayed until the end--but very few others did. NatsTown was nearly a GhostTown.
Having to be up early tomorrow--We have got to get some rest now.
Tonight's InGame Photos--Haraz N. Ghanbari, Nick Wass (AP)
All Other Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved