Saturday, June 02, 2007

Weird & Strange--Simply Not Good

The weirdness started the moment The African Queen and I got to our seats in Section 320. The first words we heard was Boris--Our Favorite Usher saying to this lady--"Those are Season Ticket Holders Seats that come all the time." "No," the lady responded, "I have tickets for these seats." Boris now seeing us walking through the tunnel leading to Section 320 said: "Here they come now." After the African Queen surveyed the situation and this couple insisted Our Seats were theirs, she told this lady "You need to understand, Our Names are MINTED ON THESE SEATS!!" Sohna would have nothing to do with that crap. Finally, the lady and her husband moved, reluctantly--although not admitting their mistake. Not five minutes later--our good friend and Full Time Season Ticket Holder Colleen walked over to visit. The first thing she said was: "You are not going to believe this, but this lady was sitting in my seat--claiming it was hers for the game!!" Sohna and I just started laughing. Uncanny, but true (and no, it was not the same lady trying to place herself in both seats).

Then, tonight's game between The San Diego Padres and Our Washington Nationals started. Not only did the top of the first inning continue the strangeness--but three specific defensive efforts were ghastly--ceiling the lid of this ballgame, before most everyone had taken their rightful seats. The result, a blowout--The Padres hacking away an 11-3 victory.

Levale Speigner walked Marcus Giles on four straight pitches to start the game. Terrmel Sledge followed and lofted a soft liner into shallow center. Nook Logan completely misread the ball's angle and went back on the ball. Realizing his mistake--Nook started running in, but it sure looked like he could have run harder. Not going all out--the ball landed in front of him for a single. Fans beginning to moan.

Followed immediately by some SERIOUS FAN CRYING when San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez popped a routine shallow fly to left just over the infield. Cristian Guzman went back on the ball, and appeared to have a play. Ryan Church ran in and also appeared to have a play. Neither apparently called the ball. "The Guz" veered off to his right. Church to his right. The BASEBALL LANDING SOFTLY ON THE GRASS, BETWEEN THEM, FOR A SINGLE!! Were the Boo Birds ever out!! Just 5 minutes into this game--Our Washington Nationals had put themselves in a HUGE HOLE.

And, it only got worse after Mike Cameron struck out for out number one. Speigner had not pitched well in any of his four starts this spring as an emergency starter. This evening, Number 36 would do little to help his cause during the remainder of this horrible inning. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed Cameron by lacing a liner to left--scoring Giles with the first run of the inning with one out. Kahlil Greene followed with a sharp single to center, Sledge scoring run number two.

After Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire visited Levale to calm him down--Padres Catcher Paul McAnulty grounded a ball to the diving Ryan Zimmerman. With his only play for an out to second base, Ryan threw to FLop from his knees--And threw it away, off the bag. Felipe Lopez had to come off the base--EVERYONE SAFE AGAIN!! This time Gonzalez scored. 3-0, still only one out. This inning should have been over. But it wasn't to be, for some time.

A Bob Bowen fly to left scored Kouzmanoff, and then to add the insult to this bizarre first inning--Padres Pitcher Justin Germano knocked his very first Major League hit and RBI, a single to right center--scoring Greene for run number 5. San Diego not only batting around in the top of the first--but Marcus Giles providing the final punch with another single to center scoring McAnulty for the sixth and final run. Sledge would thankfully ground back to Levale on the mound--Speigner nearly running all the way to first, before tossing the ball to Dimitri Young.

The Mock Cheers of Joy erupted. Really, this game was over. Yeah, there was a mini, two out rally in the bottom of the sixth when "THE GUZ" hammered a drive to the centerfield wall that San Diego's Cameron misplayed into a triple. Zimmerman followed with a ground ball single through the hole in left for the first run of the evening for Washington. The EVER HOT HITTING Dimitri Young then BLASTED Germano's very first pitch over the right centerfield wall above the Budweiser Sign for a two run homer. The Crowd of 21,635 now on its feet cheering for the first time tonight. At 6-3 Padres, it appeared Our Washington Nationals were back into it.

But, Winston Abreu gave it all back in the top of the 7th--allowing a bases loaded triple to Rob Bowen. This was not much of a game.

It started weird and ended strangely when Ray King gave up a two run homer to the .158 hitting McAnulty in the 9th to close out the scoring. 11-3 Padres. When it was all said and done--The Best Thing About This Game--It was finally over.

Tomorrow will bring a new day. A victory a series win for Our Washington Nationals.

Game Notes & Highlights:

There were a few fine defensive plays during this ball game. In the top of 3rd, Levale Speigner nearly had his head severed on a HOT SMASH back to the mound by Kahlil Greene. Somehow Speigner got lucky and caught it. The sight of him still running off the mound toward the direction of the ball's flight after not realizing he HAD CAUGHT THE BASEBALL-funny.

Just two hitters later, Rob Bowen popped a foul ball down the 3rd baseline toward the photographer's well. Zimmerman made a hard charge to the railing--lunging just over the support and caught the ball. It was a very nice play.

Finally, in the bottom of the 5th--Brian Schneider HAMMERED a Germano pitch the opposite way in the hole between shortstop and 3rd. Padres Shortstop Greene dove to his right to just snare the baseball as it was about to hit the ground and scoot into left field. Its was THE DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THIS GAME.

In four starts, Speigner's ERA now an UNGODLY--14.44. Levale had no command tonight. Even with the defensive lapses behind him, he was not fooling too many batters. I would suspect, his chances are up--unfortunately--as a starter.

At the start of this homestand, Winston Abreu's ERA was 1.78. After tonight, 5.63.

Simply, there is not much more to say about this game. It was not good.

But, there was an HILARIOUS moment tonight in Section 320. When RallyTime begins, MickNats ALWAYS gets it started by yelling out "HEY, Ryan (Austin, Felipe, whomever)--What TIME IS IT!!" And, everyone else always responds with "RALLYTIME!!"
Near the end of the 7th inning, as all the Beer Vendors were yelling "LAST CALL!!", MickNats wanted another beer, and only from his accustomed personal vendor--The Infamous Neal. MickNats spotted him just to the right of Section 320 and YELLED OUT--"HEY NEAL!" which I immediately followed with "WHAT TIME IS IT!!!" Everyone in Section 320 understanding the call--Not a sole, not realizing it was "MILLER TIME!!!"

We all couldn't stop laughing. The Timing was perfect. The moment totally unrehearsed. Just Fabulous. Sohna noticed I was laughing so hard--I was in tears. Through the 8th, none of us could stop chuckling over it. One of those unexpected pleasures that arise from time to time.

I apologize for a shorter than normal game review. After Sunday afternoons game against San Diego--I am immediately heading to National Airport for a flight to Houston--Assigned to The Johnson Space Center for some work with a Canadian Astronaut scheduled to launch on a Space Shuttle Mission later this summer. Expecting to be back Tuesday, but I have alot of work to do before tomorrow's game and much more while at NASA on Monday. So, I unfortunately, will not be able to post--most likely for a couple of days. I hope you understand.

Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass


Anonymous said...

I was also at the game -- Charlie Brown's All Stars must have taken the field in the top of the first. Levale looked like he was in way over his head, although it was encouraging that the shelling slowed down in the second inning. So Screech ended up being the star of my photos, with the racing presidents as a close second.

Jim H said...

I wonder if the Nats should offer Levale back to the Twins. They might not take him. Then he could be sent down for some seasoning.

I suppose he's got a role as a long reliever, but he's been pitching like he doesn't have a clue. (Schneider's been getting tons of credit for helping direct this pitching staff. Is Levale just not listening? Or not capable?)

I'd be tempted to offer him back with the possibility of being able to keep him and send him down.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Levale is totally overmatched as a starter right now. He doesn't appear to have an out pitch. And, professional hitters are just taking batting practice. Too bad, he had shown some promise. I am sure they are hesitant to expose him to waivers. For Bowden, this is still a year to find out what parts might be useful in the future. Speigner most likely stays, but in the long man's role. That's just a guess though.

Anonymous said...

Nats still have not learned to call a pop up?

While I am slowly becoming an Acta fan....that could change if Manny can not teach (or does not value) the basics of the game.

Logan has too many examples of lack of hustle for someone who is being given a gift from the baseball gods to be even on a major league team. Acta has made a mistake all year with Logan. Pumping him up and letting him think he can do no wrong has made him think he is much better than he is. I can not watch him any longer. Who ever promised he would be our everyday center fielder needs to correct that poor judgment NOW.

JayB said...

I can hear SBF already in response to the 8:27 Post...."well what could Acta have done last night"

He should have taken both Church and Guzman out right then and there.

Sent in Langerhans and Belliard. Acta has to send a message at this point of the year. Enough is Enough....he is not helpless unless he chooses to be.

Anonymous said...

SBF: Unbelieveable re the lady in your seats..Season ticket holders pay good money for their seats and should not have to put up with that crap. The ushers really ought to pay more attention to these morons who think they can just sit wherever they like. If you don't pay attention to the small things like that, how can you expect to attract more season ticket holders? As far as the game goes, it just looked like Speigner was throwing batting practice - though I think we all wonder what the result would have been had Logan and Church made those catches. Probably a much different game, indeed!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Since Logan got hurt on Opening Day he has not been the same confident outfielder--tentative--almost afraid to make a mistake. Far Different from the fielder we have all seen late last season. If there is one player that should not be resting on his laurels--its Logan. He's got speed, but doesn't appear to know how to use it to his best advantage. And, he just simply can't continue to bunt for base hit. His last at bat last night was laughable when he bunted right back to the mound.

The Guzman/Church pop up was ludicrous. Do you think Manny held his tongue in the dugout or in the clubhouse after? I don't think so. You just didn't see it. But to pull two players on an already depleted bench would have gave then ZERO Chance to get back in the game. Its was still the first inning. Pulling them makes a statement--its also waves the white flag for the night.

Fav61-Thanks for the comment-Our Usher Boris was handling it--this lady was just a nutcase. Boris knew The African Queen would put her in her rightful place. In fact, Boris is one of the hardest working guys in the stadium. He always checks tickets--looks for poachers and moves them immediately. We couldn't say enough fine things about this nice man.

JayB said...

Whatever Acta has or has not done behind close doors has not worked. This problem of not catching this type of pop up has been an issue all year.

Last time he took Church out he responded. Guzman had a consequence due him for loafing down to second and not sliding with the game on the line the night earlier.

Bottom line is Acta has not been effective with his low key approach on mental, physical or hustle errors. I am sure his players appreciate his approach but it is ineffective to date.

Pulling players get their attention. Sit them down and make them spend 9 innings on the bench right next to each other is what is needed. Yes it is painful for them.....let see if they respond and pout.....that is what this season is for. They have not responded to the behind closed doors approach clearly.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of the Nats not ready to play in the first inning again today. This is Acta's responsibility to get them ready. Belliard not covering 1st on a sac bunt, come on....this is a reflection on Acta and his approach this year.

Acta has done well in some areas but his team often do not have their heads in the game and he must get this fixed before fans will embrace this team. I can live with a lack of talent but not a lack of fundamentals.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that lady who was sitting in The African Queen's seat. Did she even bother to check her ticket stub? I buy bleacher tickets to RFK and although I may sneak a peek at the game from the grandstand exit ramps, I don't try to steal the seat of somebody who paid good money to get a better seat than me.

Well, we lost the series against the Padres. Hopefully our play (and the weather) will improve when we go against Pittsburgh...