Thursday, June 10, 2010
Chicks Dig The Long Ball
Did you know that Chicks Dig The Long Ball?
That was proclaimed by sure to be Hall Of Famers--Tommy Glavine and Greg Maddux--in their famous Nike Commercial from 1996. So how fitting that on "Ladies Night 2010" at Nationals Park--home run, followed by wall scrapper, followed by an absolute blast off the strong bat of Michael Morse perfectly complemented the evening on South Capitol Street. Yes, on the very day Our Washington Nationals hoped to win over more female fans, increase their fan base, and help make their ball yard more of a "Go-To Destination"--Our Players muscled up, turned some heads, and made every effort to send the ladies home happy--well after their two and one-half hour pre-game party on the rooftop of Garage B ended.
You see, D.C's Team courted the women on hand tonight--and impressed them by sending baseball after baseball after baseball out of the park. Instead of ordering the ladies flowers and looking slightly awkward--they delivered the long ball and looked confident. Those all important actions that turn heads, is taken notice of, and seriously thought about when considering a return engagement. If the first date gives that all important first impression--then Our Washington Nationals hit the Grand Slam this evening when it comes to courtship. The physical ability displayed by Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham and Morse knocking the baseball over the walls--apparently--the exact type of Long Ball The Chicks Dig.
How can anyone not be thrilled to see Our Number 44 get the party re-started with the initial blast deep and over the right field wall off Pittsburgh's Zach Duke--giving Washington the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 4th. And "The Hammer" adding to the party favors, moments later in the same frame, with his rocket stroked to left centerfield--that JUST cleared the wall. Few baseballs seem to get out of the park as quickly as those well socked out by Josh Willingham. Yet Our Number 16's 12th round tripper hit so hard--it might have made a hole in the wall--if it impacted the green pads. Fortunately--it did not. Padding saved, but not Pittsburgh from allowing another run.
None of which compared to Michael Morse's launched rocket to dead centerfield in the bottom of the 8th that truly provided the necessary game distancing score needed when D.C.'s closer was unavailable after pitching each of the past three days. Matt Capps not pitching tonight after three straight games thrown. Add that with rookie Drew Storen being rested every other day--Our Manager Jim Riggleman found himself depending on Sean Burnett & Tyler Clippard this evening to complete the latest assignment.
Which they did.
But not before getting back to Our Number 28's homer.
If chicks really do dig the long ball--then Morse's shot was a thing of beauty. Not only a head turner, but one of those that brings admiration and respect. Michael absolutely hammering his home run so far, off The Pirates Brendan Donnelly's pitch, in that 8th frame--the only question was how far it travelled--not whether or not it would make it over the fence. Getting a rare start, the man that can flat out hit--but doesn't have a true position--turned heads the most tonight. Even the casual fan has heard of Adam Dunn. A few less about Willingham's prowess to go deep. But Our Number 28 can only do so--if he gets the right opportunity. Manager Jim gave him that this evening and--and Michael Morse didn't disappoint.
Yeah, we understand, there was a little bit more to this game than those three home runs. And we know the final result could not have been better as there was little to not like about this final game of a three game set with The Pittsburgh Pirates--an eventual three game sweep. But the women on hand--included in the announced crowd of 21,767--were treated to some solid starting pitching by Washington--excellent bullpen work, the power mentioned above-and the thankful assistance from the Bucco's--for a key error in the bottom of the 5th--which helped Our Washington Nationals waltz to a win.
Livan Hernandez did his job on the mound--starting and hurling for six frames. Sean Burnett--two innings pitched in relief & Tyler Clippard one more too. But the lasting impression of the evening comes from the three home runs hit off the bats of Dunn, Willingham & Morse. Their potency providing the difference in this game--invigorating Ladies Night with a display of strength. The influential images that always remain in anyone's mind well after the final out is recorded.
That's how you impress the ladies. That's how you galvanize a fresh new fan base. And that's how you get an return engagement.
You Simply Let The Chicks Dig The Long Ball.
Ladies Night 2 of 2010 scheduled for August 26th.
Final Score from Nationals Park where the ladies even Danced With "Some" Of The Stars beforehand--Matt Capps, Tyler Clippard & Doug Slaten appearing on site in Garage B--for about 20 minutes for Ladies Night--to take pictures and put a friendly face on baseball in Washington, D.C.: Our Washington Nationals 4 and The Pittsburgh Pirates 2. Curly "W" Number 30 of 2010 moves D.C.'s team to one game from the .500 mark, but proved that the swaying of fresh support is easier if you provide power that comes from hitting the baseball out of the park. The Bang!! Zoom!! Of The Fireworks!! signaling--if you are going to interest new clientele--you better influence them with a performance they have never previously seen. Something that catches their attention.
Muscling the ball over the the far distanced wall never hurts.
In 1996, Tommy Glavine and Greg Maddux attempted to prove, the hard way, that "Chicks Dig The Long Ball". Thankfully, on the very night Our Washington Nationals wished to impress the ladies, our players powered up, flexed their muscles, and slammed three baseballs out of the park. Proving without a doubt--that phrase may well ring true.
Because it just so happens to be the exact same feeling of every single guy that has ever watched this great game.
Guys Dig The Long Ball Too--Just As Much As The Chicks.
At least on any day Stephen Strasburg happens not to be pitching. For when Our Number 37 steps to the mound--it's a whole new ballgame--for both men and women--just ask anyone that attended his debut this past Tuesday night.
Game Notes & Highlights
Livan Hernandez pitched well for the first five innings. And then appeared to tire noticeably in the 6th. He gave up two runs before any Pittsburgh batter was recorded out. But like Livo always does, he battled his way to the finish, completing the frame and leaving with the lead. Ole Number 61 garnering his 5th personal victory of 2010 and first in nearly a month. Five hits allowed, two walks, 98 pitches--58 for strikes. He even went back to his loop-de-loop slop pitch. Always a good sign.
Sean Burnett was needed tonight. Storen and Capps were really not available. Neither was Tyler Walker probably. While Miguel Batista stood on the bullpen mound as an emergency call-in, Burnett pitched two of his finest innings all season against his former Pittsburgh teammates. And Mr. "No Nonsense" Tyler Clippard recorded his first save of the campaign. Clippard has been "The SAVIOR" all season long. He's not been perfect, but he's been the most valuable contributor out of the pen. Really impressive in whatever role Washington has thrown his way--deserving of an All-Star nomination.
Tyler Clippard has simply been GREAT!!
For the third consecutive day Adam Dunn powered out a home run. Known for hitting the baseball out of the park in bunches, Our Number 44 is red hot right now. On fire, which Josh Willingham continues to be. It is mind boggling, in retrospect, that "The Hammer" was a platoon player in early 2009 for Our Washington Nationals. A pinch hitter and spot starter that never saw much playing time. Yet here we are nearing Mid-Season of 2010 and Willingham is Washington's most consistent contributor--if not MVP. Josh Willingham is the perfect five hole hitter and his power shown tonight proved that again.
Michael Morse always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to playing time. But every single time he steps to the plate, something good seems to happen. Morse had three hits tonight, knocked out the game distancing home run, and proved to be an adequate outfielder. He will never win a Gold Glove, but Jim Riggleman needs to find a way to put his body in the field more often. His offensive capability is rather impressive. As it's always been.
A sellout crowd of 750 women purchased tickets to this evening's Ladies Night at Nationals Park. Food was provided by Hard Times Cafe. Honest Ade Teas the refreshments--Miller Lite the beer and alcohol. Chief Zee was on hand--as well as The Polynesian Girls for the Limbo, The Rushmores, Screech and as mentioned earlier--Matt Capps, Tyler Clippard and Doug Slaten. Any lady that purchased a ticket to tonight's 1st Ladies Night of 2010 will receive a special gift if they also purchase a ticket to Ladies Night 2 on August 26th versus The St. Louis Cardinals.
In celebration of Ladies Night, the 4th inning Presidents Race featured the Pittsburgh Pirogues putting the Rushmores through a series of tests. Abe, Tom, George & Teddy first needed to limbo near the Out of Town Scoreboard. Then, all four had to hula hoop at the right field corner. No cat, no grounds crew, no unracing sausages to interfere ths evening. George eventually winning, but just barely, over Tom.
By the way--advantage of sitting in the Stars & Stripes Club--free Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila Shots tonight--Margarita's too.
Funny moment from tonight's game. In the bottom of the 8th inning, former Nationals Closer--Joel Hanrahan--blows away Ryan Zimmerman on a 98 MPH heater. After the game, Sohna and I are chatting with Joel:
SBF--"Zimmerman invites you to his golf tournament last year (Ryan & Joel seen above alongside Michael Cuddyer of The Minnesota Twins) and you strike him out?"
Joel--Ironic how that stuff seems to happen (laughing pretty hard)."
The African Queen: "You strike out Zimmy, no more golfing for you!!"
Joel: "Yeah, no kidding" (leaning over and giving Sohna a hug)--"I'll remember that next time." (still chuckling--Hanrahan really is a good sport--nice man too)
And finally--if you are familiar with the entire history of the Nats320 blog, you know that Ryan Church is well known as "My Main Man!!". My favorite player during his time wearing a Washington Nationals uniform. And Sohna and I have never forgotten him. At RFK Stadium the chant "Church On Sunday", "Church On Wednesday", "Church on whatever day of week it was" was famous when Our Former Number 19 stepped to the plate to bat. He knew it. We all knew it. That chant would live on forever among those faithful who sat with us for most every single game at the Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street. Those times were special and so was his friendship.
Ryan Church now plays for The Pittsburgh Pirates.
Having not spoken with "Churchie" (as The African Queen likes to call him) for some time, Sohna and I had the opportunity to speak with Ryan on Tuesday at Nationals Park before Stephen Strasburg's debut. And we had an extended conversation with Ryan Church after tonight's game. As always, My Main Man!! was appreciative of the support. He's really a great guy. And we've missed him since the very day Our Washington Nationals traded him away to The New York Mets. We certainly undertand that baseball is a business, but just because Our Team traded a player away, it does not mean we forget about them. Ryan Church is one of those, as is Chad Cordero, Brian Schneider, Nick Johnson, Luis Ayala, Ronnie Belliard and Ryan Langerhans among others. Most all Original Nationals--that will always remain close to our hearts.
PS--And despite what some fans in Washington may think of him, Lastings Milledge was quite nice and humble this week as well. Sohna and I talked with him on Tuesday before the game and Lastings made the effort tonight to make sure he stopped by to say goodbye on his way out of town. He didn't have to--but he did.
Tonight's In Game Photos--Ann Heisnefelt (AP)
All Other Photos--Copyright Nats320--All Rights Reserved