Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Continuing Saga

Honestly, you could not have scripted this any better. There were two outs, and D'Angelo Jimenez had just dribbled a grounder to right field, barely past The Colorado Rockies Todd Helton. RALLYTIME!! was in Full Effect. Ryan Zimmerman was at the plate. JORGE JULIO was on the mound. Yes, ONCE AGAIN, MY BOY!! Jorge Julio was battling Our Washington Nationals. This time, in a scoreless tie--in the bottom of the 8th inning. The Chant "COME ON!! Its Jorge Julio!!" again being shouted out of Section 320.

Anyone that had watched these two teams compete just two nights ago, realized the implications. Julio was moments away, that evening, from blowing yet another lead in the 8th, only to see Our Best Player make his biggest Mental Mistake of the Season--running on a pop out with less than two outs. An error that cost Our Washington Nationals, The Big Inning, against one of Baseball's Least Dependable Relievers. A Washington Loss that gave Jorge Julio, Some Saving Grace.

As has been well documented here on The Nats320 Blog, Jorge Julio has blown games--time after time, after time. Only luck saved him, his last time out at RFK STADIUM. So, inquiring minds wanted to know--Why in THE WORLD did Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle have Jorge in this game? At THIS TIME? Julio has been terrible in most every game he's ever played on East Capitol Street. No lead is ever safe with Number 50 on the mound. A Tie Ball Game, almost certainly, to become a Sure Loss.

And, MY BOY!! Did Not Disappoint.

While Ryan Zimmerman has always learned from his mistakes and improved--Jorge Julio has always fallen deeper into the depths of sorrow. Baseball is a Mental Game. A Chess Match that Our Number 11 understands. A Competition Julio fails to grasp. And, when Jorge's Manager signaled his catcher Yorvit Torrealba to intentionally walk Zimmerman, after a first pitch passed ball, to bring up the struggling Austin Kearns--you could see Jorge FUMING ON THE MOUND. Each successive intentional pass pitch, was retrieved back in Jorge's glove, in EVER GREATER ANGER. Julio always lets his emotions get to him. And, as Ryan trotted to first base--Jorge was standing on the back end of the mound--pounding his right throwing hand around the white resin bag. You can bet he was pissed. Disgruntled, because Ryan Zimmerman has always beaten him. Images he can't get out of his mind. A run scoring single two nights ago. A Grand Slam last May 13th--the very morning The Florida Marlins--tired of his antics--found a willing taker in These Same Colorado Rockies. At a time The Colorado Rockies needed a pitcher with self pause on the mound, Jorge Julio could only seek revenge. Jorge Julio can NEVER LET IT GO!!

Something, even The African Queen noticed: "They are going to regret walking "Z", she stated, with Zimmerman now standing on first base. "Colorado has no idea what they have just set up."

Number 50 took that Hand Dryer and fiercely threw it to the ground, upon the introduction of Kearns on the Stadium PA. Jorge Julio's attitude showed, he was already out this game--mentally. An Affair his Manager should have realized the very moment he threw his very first pitch to Austin--in the dirt. With the anticipation building, Section 320 Rocking and RFK STADIUM near pandemonium level--Jorge Julio would rare back and do what he has always done. The Most Freewheeling Fastball Pitcher in the Game attempted to throw his fastest pitch--RIGHT PAST Our Number 25. A toss everyone in This Great Game has come to expect from him. Austin Kearns LAUNCHED that Jorge Julio Fastball RIGHT INTO THE MEZZANINE--JUST INSIDE THE FOUL POLE, DOWN THE LEFT FIELD LINE--Under Section 443!! Some People JUST NEVER LEARN!!

THE OLD BALLYARD WAS SHAKING!! Austin Kearns had HAMMERED A THREE RUN HOMER!! 21,793 Patrons Mostly Rejoiced. Pandemonium at RFK STADIUM!! JUST LIKE THAT--JORGE JULIO HAD DONE IT AGAIN!!!--And in DEVASTATING FASHION for His Colorado Rockies. For his part, Julio just lowered his head, eventually wiped his jersey over his wet brow. He knew--he had cost his team the game--once again.

BANG!! ZOOM!! Go The Fireworks!! Our Washington Nationals now held a three run lead--courtesy of MY BOY!! How consistent can one pitcher possibly be? Really, "The Jorge Julio Phenomenon" is Other Worldly. The "JORGE JULIO" Chant THE VICTORY SONG THIS AFTERNOON in Section 320. RallyTime Richard's eyes BULGING IN MERRIMENT over the consistency of This Turning Point. BangTheDrumNatly giddy with delight. His High Fives stroked so hard to everyone within striking distance--the force probably could have sent that Julio Fastball over the fence--as well. WAS HE EVER HAPPY!!

The African Queen BEAMING--"I told you so. What did I tell you!!" Then, promptly planted on my lips--ONE FINE KISS!!

Indescribable the feeling within my soul over this Home Run. How many times, in my life, have I experienced such a moment with Jorge Julio. Originally, peeved and exasperated with him, while he played for The Baltimore Orioles. Now, My "BLOOD BROTHER" prompting GREAT JOY WITHIN MY HEART!!

Yeah, I know--"The Chief Cardiologist" followed with his best imitation of Jorge--but even Chad Cordero could not be outdone by MY BOY!! Jorge Julio--on this FABULOUS AFTERNOON at RFK STADIUM.

Curly "W" Number 42 will be remembered, by most, for one moment--Austin Kearns' BLAST into the Mezzanine. An Instant, I will always remember as "THE CONTINUING SAGA OF JORGE JULIO!!".

So--Will Jorge Julio be a Member of The Colorado Rockies by Monday Evening?

Wow!! Just Incredible!! Even I--CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!!

Game Notes & Highlights:

When Jorge Julio trotted out to the mound to start the bottom of the 8th--a Tour De Force Performance was upon us in Section 320. Did it ever get loud. And, when Pinch Hitter Ronnie Belliard singled to left leading off--The Decibel Level began to rise. A BOOM that DID NOT WAVER when FLop followed with, what appeared to be, a Rally Killing Double Play. Everyone In Section 320 Knew--Jorge Julio was still on the mound. A Two Out Rally was upon us--even D'Angelo Jimenez was not immune from The Jorge Julio Effect.

For the second consecutive day--Our Washington Nationals completely shutout a potent lineup. The Colorado Rockies have some good hitters. Players with power. Yet, today--Tim Redding pitched the FINEST GAME OF HIS CAREER in nearly three seasons. Pitching into the 7th--he just let The Rockies hit the ball, and allowed his fielders to make the defensive plays. Even a shot off his shin by Willy Taveras with two outs in the top of the 5th, did not phase him. Redding recovered, ran to the ball rolling toward first base--and dove while tossing the baseball to Tony Batista at first--to retire the fast moving Taveras. Today, was Tim Redding's Day. He showed The Management of Our Washington Nationals the innings eating performance many expected of him out of Spring Training. An achievement he failed at, miserably, coming out of Viera, Florida--this past March.

In the top of the 7th inning--Troy Tulowitzki grounded sharply in the hole between 3rd and Short--Ryan Zimmerman, Diving, JUST MISSED THE GROUNDER--But Felipe Lopez WAS BACKING UP THE PLAY. FLop ranging far to his right--reached down--scooped the ball, backhanded--then fired it across his body and the infield. A toss that Tony Batista scooped, perfectly, to retire Tulowitzki. FLop's effort, even better than Redding's shot off his shin--And, The Defensive Play of This Game. None of us in Section 320 could believe Lopez's range on that play. Really, it was a very fine effort.

"The Chief", Chad Cordero recorded his 19th save of the season this afternoon. But, not without some serious concern. Our Number 32 gave up the dreaded lead off walk to Brad Hawpe. And, when Troy Tulowitzki grounded to FLop at shortstop--a sure double play was in order. But, D'Angelo Jimenez could not get a good pivot throw off. His toss in the dirt--could not be scooped by Batista. With Troy now at first--Torrealba doubled to right center--JUST OFF Nook Logan's Glove. Logan had actually ranged far--but just couldn't reach the hit ball. A double for Yorvit--and trouble for "The Chief Cardiologist". The murmurings beginning in the stands. But, like he always does--Chad Cordero bares down in the clutch. This time, striking out Jeff Baker for out number two. Then, forcing Willy Taveras to Pop Out to Tony Batista at first--to end the game!!! Thankfully.

Having now won three straight series at RFK Stadium--Our Washington Nationals recorded their VERY FIRST BACK TO BACK SHUTOUTS while playing in Our Nation's Capital. As The Montreal Expos--The Franchise's last back to back shutouts occured at Atlanta--April 2nd & 3rd, 2003.

Austin Kearns Game Winning Home Run was his First Homer since May 21st at Cincinnati. A 52 Game Drought.

Finally--The Presidents Race this afternoon provided some serious intrigue. "Teddy" actually ran the race and was neck to neck with GW, Abe & Thom the entire distance down the Warning Track toward Home Plate. GW used the outside lane to win at the last moment. When The Presidents posted up in the tunnel, just to the left of Section 320 before the 7th Inning Stretch--everyone belted out "Let Teddy Win!!", then followed by "TEDDY--What Happened?" All Teddy could do was shrug his shoulders and place his index finger and thumb together exclaiming: "THIS CLOSE!!"

RallyTimeRichard suggesting: "Maybe Teddy understands the Concept of Racing for the very first time."

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


Anonymous said...

Acidentally posted this in Friday
s comments. (Newbie) Here it is again:

Was there today with my 11 year old daughter in section 322. Game was just as you describe, Two painful aspects, though. Which hurt you the most? 1) Clutch hitting and bunting (NOT) of both Mr. Fick and Mr. Jimenez; or 2) the singing of Teriaki Johnson.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Teriaki Johnson IN A LANDSLIDE!!! WAS IT EVER BAD!!! How in the world could anyone pick this lady to sing The National Anthem and "God Bless America"? Atroucious. And, that's being kind.

We talked about this for some time in Section 320. But, I was waiting for someone else to mention it. Thanks.

And, our bunting Sucks--Too!!

Jim H said...


I couldn't be there today. (My manager and his wife had my tickets.) But I was thinking of the entire section when Julio came on. Man! What will it take? They must have thought Ryan's bonehead baserunning the other day expunged some kind of jinx.

I hated the "singing", too.

But talk about about Austin? That was no wall scraper. Maybe this will help get him off the schneid and into some kind of productive mode.

Anonymous said...

I was in the front row of 443 with my god-daughter (aged 12). Absolutely AWESOME view of the Austin Kearns HR! Finally heard the radio call this morning -- Charlie was in rare form. I haven't heard the post game, but I can fill in the Jagler "That brought Austin Kearns to the plate. And he delivered the play of the game."

We didn't see the Cordero save, since we were walking around the mezzanine to get to section 301 for the Diamond Dash. But Julia thought the Diamond Dash was fun, and I'd figured that after two 1-2-3 appearances, Chief would be due to make things interesting.

Teriyaki Johnson -- absolutely horrendous. She sounded like she couldn't find the pitch with a map. Maybe she is a good singer, but that performance wasn't evidence of it. Memo to Stan re: fan experience -- make sure performers of National Anthem (especially if they will also sing God Bless America) sing them straight.

Anonymous said...

Nervousness can make one's voice do strange things. I don't think I could stand in front of 20,000+ people and sing like Placido Domingo -- or even Placido Polanco for that matter. But then, I've never heard Placido Polanco sing.

Anonymous said...

You do understand that the Presidents are never the same person twice, they change everygame and are booked in advance, so the only reason they stop by every section is becuase they are instructed to, hate to burst your bubble but you need to come back down to earth.

Screech's Best Friend said...

nastfanoutwest: Personally, I know just about every single person involved in The President's Race. In fact--I HAVE RAN THE RACE TWICE!! I BET YOU Didn't know that!! As Abe and GW. The Nationals have twice asked me to do the event. Your attempts at cruelty and snark are received in manner given by you: WORTHLESS BANTER. We have a lot of fun in Our Section. And, that's what it is--FUN. If you can't appreciate that, that's too bad. In fact, The President's stop by EVERY SINGLE GAME before heading down to the Nats Dugout during the 7th inning stretch. We have fun with them. And, whomever is in those costumes--enjoys the moments back. EVERYONE along the 3rd base side now gets into the fun of "Let Teddy Win!!" during the 7th inning. Someone hiding under a ficticious name, like you, is never one to be taken seriously. Maybe its you that needs to find his way back to earth. Life is fun. Maybe you should try to enjoy it more.

SenatorNat said...

"From the valleys..." Rossanne-styled stylings and mangling the lyrics...The sound of Kate Smith's ampleness rolling in the grave could be heard as far away as Alexandria. We want the five-year old guy back - he is terrific!!

Back to the Game: the Nationals have the best bull-pen in baseball currently, and Micah Bowie and Colume are rehabing!
The starting rotation for the balance of this year could actually begin to resemble an embarassment of riches, should Shawn Hill continue his progression to returning, and one of the young studs come up and shine. Clearly, the Saint has put new life into Bascik and Redding, and knowing that you only have to go 6 strong innings really helps too...

Is Young going to go this week? My instincts are that the offers are not enough to justify it. His value could be much higher in the off-season, as American League teams evaluate what they need, and/or their DH goes as a free agent, and they need to fill the vacancy. Tough to rade Cordero for anything less than a Number One Prospect, too. The pitching staff is set-up back to front in reality. My hunch is no one goes at trading time...

Psychologically, Acta and his staff very much want to win at least 30 of the final 64 games, to break last year's mark, despite their Number One starter not competing, Nick Johnson out for 2007, virtually, Guzman out for the year, and the payroll sliced to below $30 million, or about what Roger Clinton gets for a half season with the Yankees.

This goal is realistic, since they are above .500 since the half-way mark, and some additional punch is due to come out of the same line-up, based on historical performance (Lopez; Kearns; Schneider; and even Z-Man). This is a team, too, where even a small expansion of the roster, B.Watson and Alex Escobar (I know, like waiting for Godot, but I am a fan, not a true realist...), could really help. Acta is about to get something out of Batista, too, it would seem. The man is a manager and a leader, par excelante...

If the team can play .500 or better for last 64 games, it can hit Acta's personal goal, I am presuming, of 76 wins, since that is only 10 games under .500. Should they continue to be competitive, then season attendence, crowds averaged close to 30 k for the home stand, should reach the $2 million mark.

Then - next year, the new stadium should mean an average of 37,500 per home game, or 3 million,gate, plus; should be a payroll of $57 million, or double current one; Acta and his staff have learned a lot this year, and are clearly in command; and the 2008 team should be able to play very close to .500 ball.

Yes Virginia. Yes Maryland. And, Yes even perpetually Doubting D.C. There IS a major league baseball team in Washington. And, it is not your grandmother's Senators...

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Anonymous said...

I was at both games this weekend (great games to be at) and one thing that left me scratching my head was the difference in the sizes of the crowds. 31k+ on Saturday and only, what, 21K+ Sunday? Can anyone make sense of that for me?

Did the 3:55 start time have anything to do with that? I know they're so the networks can televise them if they want to, but I (with two young kids) frankly love the 4pm Saturday game. Why not do more? They obviously draw fans. I guess the shadows on the field can be tough to play in though...


Screech's Best Friend said...

Anonymous (Mick) Actually, on saturday afternoon we all talked at length about the 3:55PM Start. Its true that start is VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY. Folks can come to a game and still get their children home at a reasonable hour. At the same time, this allows adults to enjoy a ballgame, then go out afterwards--to dinner, or whatever else interests them. I wouldn't doubt that Nationals Management noticed this also. Good Comment, and it will be interesting to see if other such games next year begin at that late afternoon time.

Anonymous said...

"natsfanoutwest said...
You do understand that the Presidents are never the same person twice, they change everygame and are booked in advance...."

NOT TRUE! I promise you! There is a rotation this year of a select group of folks. Try outs were held in March. I can also promise that the Presidents loooove standing next to 320! The folks in the Presidents do tend to stick to the same costumes when they race. Trust me on this one... I know. I really know!

Unknown said...

Jorge Julio, he brings a tear to my eye.

Seriously, could this guy be any worse? In spite of his talent, he's had a tragic career.

I remember back in the day, he'd have the habit of looking at the radar gun readings at Oriole Park.

The singing by Ms. Johnson was painful; however, I'd never sing in front 20k people in my life.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

"Then - next year, the new stadium should mean an average of 37,500 per home game, or 3 million,gate, plus;"

Senator Nat, I really hope you are right about those attendance projections, but although I am pretty sure the Nats will draw more fans solely because the new ballpark has better amenities than RFK, I don't think we are going to draw three million until we get more wins. But if we stick to The Plan and don't panic---I think we are going to be better.

The Orioles have been going in circles for about ten years and that's why they haven't gone anywhere. We're moving in a direction and I like the direction we're going...

Anonymous said...

From Friday's Washington Post - Letter to the editor:

Treat the Anthem With Respect

Friday, July 27, 2007; A20

Come on, Nationals -- get the national anthem right!

We stood at attention before Sunday's game and were subjected to yet another embarrassing mutilation of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

This has become an all too common occurrence before Washington Nationals games.

The "American Idol" approach may be acceptable for other portions of the game, but the national anthem (especially when sung in the nation's capital) must not be butchered.

We humbly suggest a different approach: Pick a few members of our fine military bands to share the workload. There are many highly able people who know exactly how the anthem is to be sung and who would bring honor to the Nationals.

The fans attending the games deserve better.


Falls Church