Wednesday, June 10, 2009

He's Got Our Back

"You have no integrity!! None!!" yelled Our Washington Nationals Batting Coach Rick Eckstein. If there was ever going to be a rumble at a baseball game--this is Our Guy!! Was he EVER HOT!! And it was great to watch.

Lost in last night's Draft Party was a terrible ending to yet another loss by Our Washington Nationals. Down by one with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, Home Plate Umpire Andy Fletcher called Austin Kearns out on strike three on a pitch by The Cincinnati Reds Francisco Cordero so low it crossed home plate near Austin's ankles.

Kearns got hot. Our Manager Manny Acta got hot. Ryan Zimmerman got hot. Adam Dunn. But nobody forced the issue more than Rick Eckstein. Screaming at the top of his lungs--Our Batting Coach was giving it to Fletcher--and rightfully so. With the game now over, Rick wasn't going to let Umpire Fletcher or Crew Chief Tim McClelland walk away without fault.

In the post game comments, Manny stated: "I thought it was a really bad call," Acta said. "It was very, very low and uncalled for."

But Eckstein wasn't taking it anymore. Easily, the highlight of the game. If The African Queen and I ever get into a fight like that, we want Rick Eckstein on our side because we will know--he's got our back.

Final Score from Nationals Park where most of the excitement this evening played out in The Media Room next to The Presidents Club--The Cincinnati Reds 3 and Our Washington Nationals 2--another day in which the latest rain delay again squelched the gathered crowd to "Friends & Family" status. Team President Stan Kasten asking The African Queen and I whether we have kept track of the number of rain delays Washington has sat through at Nationals Park over the course of April, May & June? We didn't know, for sure. But last night was the 32nd Scheduled Game on South Capitol Street this season. Figuring multiple stoppages in many games--32 total rain delays would not be far off the mark. And clearly, it's assisted in driving away even more fans from attending. 16,274 the official paid attendance, but there couldn't have been but a few thousand actually on hand watching.

Game Notes & Highlights

Also mostly unnoticed last evening was a rather strong outing by Ross Detwiler. Walks kill and it proved again costly in the 5th when Our Number 48 allowed two free passes (including one to Reds Pitcher Johnny Cueto) before giving up what turned out to be the game winning hit. A two out, full count double down the rightfield line to Former Montreal Expos Top Prospect Brandon Phillips. A two run scoring game changer giving The Cincinnati Reds a 3-1 advantage, slimmed to one in the 8th on Cristian Guzman's 2nd Home Run of 2009. In fact, Washington's only other run in this rain delayed affair was stroked by Elijah Dukes. A one-handed swing that catapulted a Cueto pitch into the visitor's bullpen in left during the bottom of the 4th.

Detwiler would finish six complete while striking out six. Allowing five hits and those three costly walks, Ross pitched with confidence and looks more and more like the quality young talent which Washington originally picked Number 1 in the 2007 Entry Draft. He's made a fine comeback since his early demotion to Minor League Camp at Spring Training--sent down because Our Number 48 appeared completely out of sync and lost.

Tonight's InGame Photos--Manuel Balce Ceneta (AP)


Anonymous said...

Bad call, but there's way too much complaining about bad calls from this team and its announcers. It's a loser culture.

Bruce Froemming said...

"The Strike Zone is defined as that area over homeplate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap."

Take a look at Austin Kearns' back knee. Umpires are instructed to determine the strike zone not based on where the shoulders and knees are when the batter stands up, but where they are as he swings. It is close, and probably a ball, but it is much closer than the pitch tracker and its box make it seem.

That said, it is good to see that somebody cared.

Anonymous said...

I would agree that there has been a lot of complaining about bad calls by the announcers. But who really hears those complaints other than the 9000 MASN viewers? There has not been much complaining at all from the team about bad calls. That's why Eckstein's tirade last night was nice to see - and hear, too. Every single word of it got out on MASN's air. Good thing he kept it clean!

Anonymous said...

I like the emotion which can hopefully carry into tonights game.

In my mind, homefield advantage includes some homefield calls on borderline balls/strikes and the Nats lose out 75% of the time in my opinion so there is no homefield advantage.

The Saint seemed to have Nats pitchers as corner nibblers which also was as a disadvantage to the Smoltz/Glavine/Maddux strike zone and that is where I think McCatty will help in that regard because as a pitcher you have to earn that right.

In the Randy Johnson game I could deal with the 3rd strike on Dunn more than I can deal with it in a game against the Reds.

Stand up for yourself or you will forever be taken advantage of