Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Total Number

95--The total number of batters that stepped to the plate tonight at Nationals Park.

37--The total amount of players from Our Washington Nationals and The Toronto Blue Jays that participated.

17--The total number of base hits.

14--Not only the total amount of pitchers used, but the total number of walks they issued & an equal number of hitters they struck out.

11--The total number of Innings Played.

3--The total number of runs actually scored tonight by both teams.

And the most important number this evening--6. The total amount of Umpires Officiating Tonight On South Capitol Street.

Yes, six, in one of the most imaginative ways possible.

While MLB Umpires James Hoye manned first base, CB Bucknor 2nd, Mike Everitt 3rd and Brian Gorman Home Plate--Toronto Natives Tim Williams and Joe Ferrell manned The First Row of Presidents Club--participating in a Major League Baseball Game like no one has witnessed in Washington, DC. Wearing official MLB Umpiring Uniforms, down to the mask, ball bag, lineup cards in their breast pockets and hand held brooms to wipe the dirt off Home Plate--Williams and Ferrell mimicked exactly what Home Plate Umpire Gorman did all night long.

They stood up and called strikes, signaled the out call, gave the count to those sitting around them, pointed to The Official Scorer when a substitution was made. And when Adam Dunn sliced a Jason Frasor fastball down the right field line with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th to score Cristian Guzman with the game winning run--This Canadian Umpiring Crew pointed to home plate as "The Guz" touched it--just like Gorman did--signaling This Game Was Over.

Never have The African Queen and I attended any baseball game where The Sideshow was as entertaining as the game itself. These guys were terrific. Almost everybody sitting in Presidents Club wanted to take a picture with them. Team President Stan Kasten--so enamored with them--he personally went over to introduce himself and thank them for their fun. "They are having a good time," Mr. Kasten said." They are not being obnoxious. People are enjoying it."

They were so entertaining.

Best Line Of The Night: While walking on the main concourse before tonight's game, Jordan Zimmermann's Dad, Jeff, notices Tim Williams & Joe Ferrell walking by wearing their MLB Umpiring Uniforms. Mr. Zimmermann: "Wow, the umpires are walking around before the game. Why are they drinking beers?" I nearly lost it when Jeff shared that with me. Too Funny!!

And these two guys were just that.

All night long, heads turning and people chuckling. Nothing better than when Our Manager Manny Acta walked out with the lineup card at the start of the game. While going over the ground rules with Toronto Manager Cito Gaston and The MLB Umpiring Crew--Williams and Ferrell stood in their first row seats in Presidents Club and pointed to the exact same spots Manny was mentioning. When Our Number 14 absolutely busted out laughing--you knew these guys were going to be a hit!!

Later, both of these fine young gents telling The African Queen and I they have done this three times before at Rogers Centre in Toronto. And The New York Yankees LOVED THEM when The Bronx Bombers recently played The Blue Jays in Canada. Their act so unique and fun to watch--this actual game played second fiddle.

Another four hour affair, one in which if the rains aren't going to delay play--as the gray clouds have so systematically performed over Nationals Park this season--then we might as well play extra innings. Who wants to go home early in 2009? Quick and speedy games are, apparently, not in fashion.

But what those in the announced crowd of 20,860 did witness was another well pitched ball game by Our Washington Nationals. Jordan Zimmermann was solid into the 6th, allowing just one run. Our Bullpen backed him up with 5.1 scoreless innings. Our Offense wasn't as clutch as seen over the past few days in beating The New York Yankees, and our defense was again shaky--three errors. But Washington again was able to get the key outs when they needed them the most.

Offensively, of course DC's team had their chances, like in the 7th when "The Guz" beat out an infield hit off Toronto's Dirk Hayhurst. Nick Johnson followed with a double putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with no body out. Yet, Ryan Zimmerman struck out looking and Adam Dunn was intentionally walked loading the bases. Only to see new Blue Jays reliever Shawn Camp then trot out to strike out both Elijah Dukes and Josh Bard LOOKING!!!!

Another major blown opportunity--which Toronto thankfully repeated in the top of the 8th. Loading up the bases with one out--Joel Hanrahan was called on to extinguish the latest fire and pitched marvelously--getting Rod Barajas to ground to Ryan Zimmerman at third base. The Z-Man throwing home to Josh Bard for the force out of Scott Rolen. Then Our Number 38 ending The Blue Jay threat by forcing a pop up off the bat of Kevin Millar.

Pitching dominated in the clutch tonight, and only really faltered when Frasor stepped on the mound at Nationals Park for the bottom of the 11th. The always hustling Cristian Guzman beat out a routine ground out to Toronto 1st Baseman Lyle Overbay for a single. The ever patient NJ followed with a walk--as did Ryan Zimmerman--loading the bases with nobody out.

No Way Our Washington Nationals were going to lose this time. The total number of pitches remaining in this game now? Three. Adam Dunn slamming his game winning single moments later. This final outcome sending DC's Faithful Home Happy and The Canadian Umpiring Crew of Tim Williams and Joe Ferrell to the Oval Office Bar inside Presidents Club where many Washington Fans were buying them drinks. Williams and Ferrell will return Saturday Night for another engagement in the very same seats they performed in tonight.

Final Score from Nationals Park where Washington won in Extra Innings for the very first time in 2009, Our Washington Nationals 2 and The Toronto Blue Jays 1 in 11 long and extremely fun innings. Curly "W" number 19 became The Sideshow to the thespian acts put on in Presidents Club by two amateur actors. The Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! signaling Washington's 3rd straight victory while crediting these Toronto Natives for their Oscar Winning Performances.

The total number of people having the most fun tonight?

Easily Two.

Tim Williams and Joe Ferrell umpiring from their front row seats in Presidents Club. Everyone around them enjoyed their act--even Our Washington Nationals, The Toronto Blue Jays and The Major League Umpiring Crew working this game. A performance worthy of HOLLYWOOD.

Game Notes & Highlights

Being a strikeout pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann tends to throw too many pitches. Reaching 106 in the 6th frame tonight, Our Manager Manny Acta had no choice but to relieve him after Our Number 27 allowed a soft liner by Rod Barajas to right field scoring Scott Rolen with what became Toronto's only run this evening. JZ is going to be a fine pitcher. He tends to challenge hitters--even on 0-2 counts. He doesn't seemingly want to walk ANYONE. But does anyone go out to the mound and go after hitters on our staff like Jordan? No one comes close. He doesn't back down and it's why we like him so much. That's also why Zimmermann is going to be so good. He's Not Afraid!! Now leading all rookie pitchers with 63 strikeouts. Also tonight, earning his first MLB RBI when he hit into a force out with the bases loaded scoring Josh Bard with Washington's first run in the bottom of the 4th. J-Zimm ran hard to first and EARNED IT!! And received a very nice standing ovation for his hustle.

Kip Wells, Julian Taveraz, Ron Villone, Joel Hanrahan, Joe Beimel & Jesus Colome pitched those scoreless 5.1 innings. Hanrahan maybe throwing his finest outing of the year. Getting two BIG OUTS in that top of the 8th when Toronto was threatening to take charge of this game. "The Human Rain Delay" garnered his first victory of 2009. The Pitcher of Record in the 11th when Dunn slapped home Guzman with the game winning run.

Nick Johnson with a perfect night at the plate. Three hits, one double, three walks. Unfortunately, he didn't score--not once. "The Guz" and Josh Bard did. Cristian Guzman and Adam Dunn with two hits apiece.

Speaking of Dunn--in the top of the 11th with two out--Marco Scutaro knocked a routine single to left field. A hit that Adam did not charge to pick up. And when Marco realized Our Leftfielder was giving him an extra base--he took off for second and slid in easily. The Boos rained down from the far reaches of Nationals Park. Our Number 44 may have been the ultimate hero at the plate this evening--but his poor defensive play nearly cost Our Washington Nationals well before his final drive.

Solid Defensive Capability which Willie Harris always possesses. In the top of the 9th, Toronto's Vernon Wells ripped a liner into deep left centerfield. That well hit ball sure looked like it was going to get down on the turf fast. But just when you thought Wells had stroked an easy double, possible triple, Willie Harris turned on the afterburners. Swiftly moving to his right in centerfield, Our Number 22 reached out with his left hand, his glovehand, at the very last moment--AND BACKHANDED THE BALL, catching it for The Defensive Play Of This Game. Really, it was a another fine WEB GEM from a man that never gives up on anything. The deserved Standing Ovation as he trotted off the field was prolonged and loud!!

Tonight's Giveaway was a Blue Curly "W" NatsTown Beach Towel to the first 10,000 Fans. A Beach Bash was the theme all night long--including lineup pictures on the HDTV Scoreboard and Screech in Hippie Mode.

Teddy's Barbecue opened tonight near The Family Fun Area in Centerfield Plaza. The Home Of The Roughrider where Beef Short Ribs sell for $12. Believe it or not, The African Queen finished off the entire serving--down to the bone--and it was huge. Sohna says it needed a little more hot barbecue sauce. Overall though--she really liked it. Much like The Beef Brisket Sandwich with one side I ordered for $10. Tender and Juicy with a spicy hot barbecue sauce. I thought it was good. Like the ribs, messy, so take a lot of napkins. What we didn't like were the side offering sizes. Whether you ordered the baked beans, cole slaw or potato salad--the serving was basically a little more than one spoonful for $2--not worth it. For $3.50 a grilled whole husk corn was available. We did not try that tonight.

Of Course Teddy was there promoting his fresh food offerings.

In The Spirit Of The Beach Bash in tonight's Presidents Race, GW, Tom & Abe came out running with Surf Boards and Buggy Boards. Teddy came out running with a shark. And proceeded to mow down GW and Tom. But could not catch up to the fast moving Abe--who won tonight's race for the 15th time this season.

Finally, Sohna and I were surprised by Jordan Zimmermann's Dad--Jeff--along with Sheila and Mandy tonight. We had no idea they were in attendance. Mr. Zimmermann came over to say hello while I was taking photos of The Canadian Umpires in the middle of the game. Later, we all got together for a chat.

Tonight's InGame Photos--Manuel Balce Ceneta (AP)
All Other Photos--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Section 131 said...

SBF: I knew we could depend on you to find out more about those two guys behind home plate. We also found them funny. Even the players in the nats dugout were watching closely and laughing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my picture! I didn't think Sohna would be able to kill off the rib using a plastic knife and fork, but she did!

MikeHarris said...

Any way you can talk one of those guys into subbing behind the plate Sunday for C.B. Bucknor? I fear what may happen with him back there.

Tim said...

Maybe the mock Umps can step in as Zim was the recipient of another boarderline strikeout that looked like Ball 4.

What is amazing to me is that in Game 2 and 3 in Yankees Stadium the Umps made calls in the Nats favor. Kind of strange as that is the first times I have seen the Nats get some calls that have helped get a WIN and ironic it happened against the Spankees!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Mike Harris: Bucknor has actually been involved in a few controversial incidence in Nationals Games at RFK Stadium. I'll have to look through the archives but I know he's made some calls that have not been liked.

An Briosca Mor said...

Someone should hook these ump guys up with Batting Stance Guy and have them do recreations of famous games. Put it on YouTube. I'd watch.

Or is there a guy out there who does impersonations of famous arguing managers, i.e. Earl Weaver, Lou Piniella, Bobby Cox, Manny Acta (NOT!)? He could team up with these guys and they could take it on the road. I hear the SABR convention is coming to DC soon. After dinner entertainment for the seamheads perhaps?