Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sorry for the late morning post. I had to be at work at 5AM before heading to Nationals Park for today's Sunday finale versus The Chicago Cubs. So, I am writing this at work but only about one specific moment in last night's game Sohna and I found very compelling.
At 10:04PM on July 18th, 2009--Nationals Park erupted!! A decibel level never heard on South Capitol Street. Not on Ryan Zimmerman's walkoff home run on Opening Night--March 30th, 2008. Not on Ronnie Belliard's two out, two strike blast to beat The Orioles on June 29th, 2008. Not at any point during the entire second season of play at Our Washington Nationals' New Ballpark in 2009. Nothing has ever come close to this roar. Only since baseball returned to The Nation's Capital and DC's Team played at The Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street beginning in 2005--has the enthusiasm witnessed this Saturday night been so high. Nothing at Nationals Park has come close to MOST ANYTHING AT RFK STADIUM when it comes to loudness. RFK reverberated like no other stadium. A Home Field Advantage Worth Embracing. FINALLY, Nationals Park this evening felt like a similar experience.
An awakening occurred. Maybe, the most important development witnessed in some time.
The bases were loaded in the bottom of the 8th inning, The Chicago Cubs were up by one, 6-5. Josh Willingham was stepping to the plate for Our Washington Nationals. All night long, 36,014 divided but boisterous fans had battled in the stands, just like The Cubbies & Our Nats on the field. An engagement now joined--waiting to be played out on center stage. Whether the "Lets Go Nats!!" chant was countermanded by "Lets Go Cubbies!!" Or, both teams representing The Nation's Capital or The Windy City were taking it to each other. This game, at this moment in time--was special. Never before seen, the 125th Game to ever be played at Nationals Park in the regular season had displayed the ballpark's potential to be advantageous for the home squad.
It didn't matter at this very moment that thousands were rooting for The Chicago Cubs. What was important to understand and realize--Nationals Park filled to its gills with its very own fans--eventually most all rooting for the home team--could be a decisive advantage. The 10th Man no one really believed existed since Our Washington Nationals moved from East Capitol Street to South Capitol Street in 2008, had finally taken charge. Given a new life this wonderfully cool summer evening--The Concrete & Glass Edifice, along with its faithful, could actually help Our Team. Nationals Park showed off its Aura Tonight.
No, Josh Willingham did not deliver when it counted the most. After a wondrous 8 pitch At-Bat that had EVERYONE on hand sitting on pins and needles--Our Number 16 grounded out to The Cubbies 3rd Baseman Aramis Ramirez to end another rally fallen short by Our Washington Nationals.
Sure, and without a doubt--the media will proclaim Washington didn't deliver again in the clutch. Again, stories will say DC's Team couldn't protect a handy four run early lead. Unquestionably--someone will say, this team, the one that calls Washington, DC home is getting ever so closer to becoming one of the worst Major League Teams--record wise--Of All Time.
So be it, because this Saturday night at Nationals Park, The 10th Man finally showed promise. One day soon, when Our Washington Nationals are competing for The National League Eastern Division Title, The African Queen and I will look back on this evening to recall how we knew all along that extra push needed to get Our Team over the top would come from the stands--not necessarily from the field. A loud raucous crowd is important. Support that can drastically effect play for the better.
A recipe for Home Cooking was written tonight on South Capitol Street. A consortium of fanatics--from The Chicago Cubs and Our Washington Nationals--both looking to end frustrating seasons of not winning Championships--The Cubbies for now 101 Years. The Washington/Montreal Franchise for it's entire 40 year existence--the last five in Our Nation's Capital--combined to prove the home field potential of our new ballpark.
Never did we expect Nationals Park to come close to rivaling the noise heard so often at RFK Stadium. That moment alone, worth it all tonight.
Final Score from Nationals Park where The Fans really were the story--not the ending--The Chicago Cubs 6 and Our Washington Nationals 5. Yeah, we lost again, four in a row--nine of ten. But while so many have written off Our Franchise and when you have been defeated in 64 of 90 games played so far in 2009--that's understandable. But what was uniquely missed and most likely not written or talked about, except for probably here, was the euphoria which developed on South Capitol Street this evening. Never would we have expected to listen to such a bellow. Pandemonium was breaking out. Commotion no one believed possible with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th inning. Yeah, DC's Team disappointed again in the clutch, but an all important awakening occurred. Needing a helping hand--Our Washington Nationals found out tonight they could trust their most loyal--their ballpark can play to their advantage--especially on that most promising of days in the future--when Washington is competing for a championship--before a packed house of nearly 40,000 loyalist--Getting Their Red On!!
We still can't believe that roar. The African Queen and I can only hope others noticed this moment as well.