Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I thought Daniel Murphy's blast was a home run.

The baseball changed trajectory upon hitting The Subway Sandwich Sign at Citi Field.

Adam Dunn completely stopped chasing the ball as it flew over his head.

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network showed a replay from a left field camera that depicted the baseball bouncing back off the yellow & white sign. But only once was that angle shown.

As bad as this Umpiring Crew butchered Gary Sheffield's Non-Home Run on Tuesday Night--their reverse call tonight was correct. They got it right at the end and that's all you can really ask for--no complaints about the reversal.

But it still doesn't excuse First Base Umpire Adrian Johnson (3rd Base Umpire on Tuesday Night) for not hustling out as far as he can humanly get to track the deep flies. It's the umpire's job to anticipate any situation--not react after it happens. Never before do I recall hearing Adrian Johnson's name as an arbiter in any Major League Baseball game, so we won't judge him on these two controversial home runs--but we'll be watching closely from here on out whether Johnson's just had a bad day or two.

One of those Off-Days in which Our Washington Nationals have had too many of--of late. Once Murphy's drive was ruled a home run. The two go ahead runs plated by The New York Mets took the final wind out of DC's Team. You could clearly see it on the field in the demeanor shown by Our Players. For the remainder of this affair--from the bottom of the 6th on--virtually no inspired play. It was almost like as if Washington was just playing out the string--getting it over with.

That's troubling.

And as much we love Manny Acta, it really bothered us when Our Manager didn't go to protect a terrible balk call on Jesus Colome in the bottom of the 7th inning. A phantom balk call on "The Human Rain Delay" for stepping his hind leg off the rubber, while not even being in the set position. It was a bad call and Manny should have been out there protecting his players from this Umpiring Crew. If not, anyone will continue to pull junk like that again and again. Advancing both inherited runners to second and third on the balk--both New Yorkers eventually scored to extend The Mets lead to 7-3 and really put this uninspiring game out of reach.

When your team is struggling, and in the dumps, everybody else is going to take advantage of you. The Umpire's showed no mercy, neither tonight or in any of the just completed three games played in Queens. Nor did The New York Mets in sweeping Our Washington Nationals again. The sixth time in 2009 Washington has been swept by an opponent.

Yet DC's team wasn't helping themselves as well. Ronnie Belliard failed to cover first base on a sacrifice bunt. Cristian Guzman missed a fly over his left shoulder in short left field that bounced off the pocket of his glove. Josh Willingham overran a fly into the leftfield corner at Citi Field that resulted in a double. Wil Nieves dropped a infield popup--but Ron Villone recovered and got the out. None errors, but all three extending innings, making pitch counts higher and giving New York additional Free At-Bats to score more runs.

Just some very bad baseball tonight played in what is clearly becoming a poorly designed new ballpark in Queens. Citi Field's dimensions are too quirky, gimmickry and don't allow for a clean baseball game to be played. The walls are too short in some areas and too far from home plate in others. There is no rhyme or reason for its dimensions. As Charlie Slowes so aptly put it on WFED Tonight--"It's like someone designed the outfield walls using an Etch-A-Sketch." Funny, but true. New York City's New National League Ballpark has too many issues that affect play--including overhangs not in play. The Mets & The City of New York need to seriously make some corrections.

Maybe an off-day in Philadelphia tomorrow will do Our Washington Nationals some good. They looked lethargic tonight. The very first time all year where we felt they had ZERO chance of winning--especially after Murphy's controversial home run. They didn't look good. They showed little emotion and it appeared Our Washington Nationals were sleepwalking through the final three innings of this game.

That's got to change.

Final Score from Citi Field where Our Washington Nationals are probably glad they don't have to return to Queens until September--The New York Mets 7 and Our Washington Nationals 4 in a troubling baseball game. Except for Adam Dunn's TOWERING two run homer of Johan Santana in the top of the 4th--there was little to get excited about tonight. And DC's team didn't put on the field an effort worthy of a Major League Team.

Washington now 20 Games below .500 at 13 & 33. Even if they go 54-54 the rest of the way--their final record would only be 67-87.

Game Notes & Highlights

Jordan Zimmerman looked shaky again off the bat in the 1st inning. Again allowing two early runs, but settling down nicely, was able to quell deeper damage and actually made it to the bottom of the 6th in a tie ballgame. He was pitching well until he walked Gary Sheffield in the bottom of the 6th--moments before Daniel Murphy's reviewed home run off that Subway Sign. Our Number 27 struck out 8, allowed 8 hits and walked two--finishing the night with an ERA now at 6.07

Johan Santana may well have pitched his worst game in a few years, walking six over six innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out 11 Nats Hitters. And somehow got the win--when Murphy's Homer gave him the lead after being taken out of the game for a pinch hitter.

Adam Dunn's two run homer in the 4th off Santana was an absolute MONSTER. Over the bullpens in right, past the right field stands and into a walkway that houses a facsimile bridge of New York City. That was a BLAST!!

Major League Baseball needs to review their Instant Replay procedure. Either get it right with the proper camera angle views or scrap it entirely. It's not working smoothly at all.

Finally, "The Boys Of Summer" have dubbed the new Queen Ballpark "Obstructed View Field". Fans and Vendors alike can stand and block their view of the play-by-play. They are placed slightly down the first base line--behind a row of seats in the main seating bowl. Not ideal, and at least three times tonight, both Charlie Slowes & Dave Jageler had to pause, watch what happened on the television replay provided in the booth--to make the call. A play they could not watch in person. No, that's not good.

Tonight's InGame Photos--Kathy Willens (AP)


Eddie Brinkman said...

At first I thought it was a homerun, but I have to agree with Bob Carpenter's assessment that if it had hit the Subway sign the ball would've travelled back towards Dunn and not bounced towards the wall.

Two things:

1. Dunn said it didn't hit the sign.

2. The ruling on the field was that the ball was in play. Replays did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it did hit the sign. Thus, the umps shouldn't have ruled it a HR.

Alas, just another day in Nats Town.

Eddie Brinkman

Staci said...

The Mets are one of the most professional baseball teams in the league- to blame Citi Field for the Nats dismal play and calling it gimmicky? Maybe you are confusing it with the Yankee Stadium that is in fact, gimmicky...Please don't confuse us with the Yankees.

And if you could thank Rob Dibble for finally putting Bob Carpenter in his place last night, fans around the world would be very grateful! :-)

Sam R said...


Simple physics would rule out the possiblity that that ball was a homerun. How could it hit the subway sign, change trajectory and head back towards the infield, then hit the ground, change trajectory again to bounce back towards the stands and hit the Modell's sign a full eight feet recessed from the Subway sign above. Nope just doesn't seem consistent with the rules of physics and clearly not irrefutable. I think I heard Charlie Slowes mentioned the possibilty of it hitting something while in flight, such as a cup. I recall a cup hit the field about the same time the ball did. But I did not go frame by frame back to see if that were even a possibility. I think we've got two blown replays this series. I thought the Umps generally got a majority of calls right without replay than with it. So I am not a fan of replay at this point.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!


Screech's Best Friend said...

Sam R--The ball appears to hit the Subway Sign on the way down, changes direction and goes straight down, then before landing on the field it hits the angled Modell's sign, and bounces back toward the wall. The slow motion on SNY replay shows that.

NatsGuy said...

Th "home run" wouldn't have mattered, they would have lost anyway. What matters is the lack of fire in this team. That goes directly back to the manager. He has to go.

An Briosca Mor said...

SBF is not the only one who thinks Citi Field is gimmicky. New York Newsday thinks so too.

NatsGuy said...

We are worrying too much about these home runs and not enough about bad performance. If the performance was good they wouldn't have mattered. These guys remind me of the 68 Senators. They are now mailing in the games. It has to be turned around.

Larry S. said...

Really too much time spend on the homeruns. The fans and team mgmt needs to more effort on how to change the direction of this failing team. There is no fire in the bellies of these guys. How about send the entire team to include players and coaches along with the manager for some attitude adjustment at the AAA level and bring the entire AAA team up to the big stage and let them play for say a week or so. Would be curious to see what kind of a difference the attitude and results.

This is getting old and frustrating. Also the fans need to be critical at the mgmt level so those folks hear us too. Otherwise they keep doing the same ole poor decisions and getting the same ole results. What a shocker.

At this rate a projected wins total is between 45-48 games. Wow some teams have this accomplished before the All-Star break.

SenatorNat said...

I love the Nats. I love Nationals Park, which plays true and has so many interesting comfortable vantage points. I wish the artist would agree to change his otherwise excellent statues and take the parts that look like tree limbs and the like off. I love the Red Porch, and the Red Loft: I wish that the brass would commission a Capitol Dome replica (not done by that statue artist!) atop that platform. I love the 30 team pennants flying on the stadium roof. I wish someone would move them into view. I love Charlie and Dave, and Rob and Ray - the best. I love the block Nationals home uniform, and I like the new away uniforms, and I like the home reds, and I love the military appreciation blues. I love a line-up that includes Guz, Z-Man, Johnson, Dunn, Dukes, Flores, Williamham and Hernandez. I love the back-up catcher Nieves, and the utility guy Harris, and the fielding prowess of Maxwell. I love the attitude and smarts of Lannan and Martis, and the sheer ability of Zimmermann and promise of Detwiler and grit of Stammen. I love what Rick Eckstein has done as a hitting coach. I still like Randy St. Clair as the pitching coach.

I do not like Kearns playing more often than Williamham - indeed, Josh should play daily. I do not like Belliard, who has no range and is hitting 50 points below his weight, playing one out of three games or more. Hernandez should play everyday. I do not like the fact that even when there are no official errors given, like last night, there are five plays which hurt the team, including Z-Man once more losing the handle on a ball that could have been a double play. I do not like Dunn not moving when he thinks a ball is going out - it doesn't help when he says afterwards: "Maybe I should have just caught it." (Ah, yeah) I do not like Guz seemingly getting to the ball but never putting it away. I do not like bases left uncovered regularly, and Z forced to put the ball in his hip pocket. I do not like Manny's management. I do not like Rizzo suspended as interim GM when franchise making or breaking decisions are just around the corner. And I do not like ham and eggs, which is the easy way for sports journalists like Thom Loverro, who obviously loves ham and eggs, and lots of 'em, to just dump on the Nats as a standing joke - he has had it wrong from the start, maintaining that D.C. would not get the team, and that the stadium would never get approved. And, I do not like faceless owners who would starve a team's chance of growth if 10% percent return annually could be guaranteed without consequences. And who welch on responsibilities.

I love the Nats. All a gift. And that Strasburg violin...

Staci said...

Oh, now I think it's gimmicky b/c Newsday says so. You're absolutely right! WE BUILT A HORRIBLE STADIUM THAT COULD NEVER BE AS PERFECT AS NATIONALS PARK (which I love btw- and watch the dismal nats game in and game out).


An Briosca Mor said...

"I love the 30 team pennants flying on the stadium roof. I wish someone would move them into view."

They are in view. I viewed many of them from my seat at the game last Sunday. Of course, I was sitting in the $10 seats when I did so. SenatorNat, you elitist you. Disparaging us poor upper deck folk for one of the few benefits we enjoy over the hoity toity likes of you.

Anonymous said...

Watch this video - about 35 seconds in you can see the close up and the ball very clearly did not hit the Subway sign. It was not a homerun.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Yes, I have watched that video before, just like you have. To me, the ball--as it's coming down--scrapes off the Subway sign, goes immediately straight down, scrapes again off the angled Modells sign and bounces back toward the track. That's how I see it--a home run.

The bigger story is the poor play of Washington of late--not another controversial home run. That play did not decide the game--although it affected the outcome.

SenatorNat said...

SenatorNat, wife, and kids sat in Section 405 on Sunday. I often go myself and sit in 401, since I am frugal. Of course, I do wear a disguise as not to be confused with cheap! Per usual, great comment ABM!!

Trust in hitting them where they are or should be if you play the Nats. Are in good fun.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the ball scrape anything. It seems to pretty clearly head straight down and hit the warning track. I agree with you that this play alone is a relatively minor incident in the grand scheme of things, but it drives me NUTS for two reasons:

1) The disparate opinions about whether or not it was a homerun seems to indicate that at best the evidence was inconclusive, and therefore the call shouldn't have been overturned. This speaks to the bigger issue of the officiating, the use of instant replay, etc. and that in at least three cases this series, the Nats arguably got hosed; and

2) Our Washington Nationals should be defending ourselves much more vigorously. Manny should have been out there defending our guys. We've all been saying this, and we all sound like broken records, but it drives me CRAZY that our manager is not out there defending Jordan Zimmermann! Jay-Z deserves a lot more respect.

An Briosca Mor said...

SenatorNat, I was in 404 on Sunday. How come I can see the pennants but you can't? You do know you need to look away from the riveting action on the field in order to view them, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Remember the Mel Brooks movie The Producers where Zero Mostel & Gene Wilder could make a fortune only if their production flopped? I'm wondering if the Nats leadership might be involved in a similar scenario?

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Never mind about the 30 pennants flying around the upper deck. I'd much rather the Nats install two more flagpoles by the Red Loft bar to show the standings in the NL Central and NL West. Aside from being a courtesy to other NL fans outside our division, it should also be a reminder. Ultimately, the Nats goal should not be to merely win the wild card or Eastern division championship.

Of course, I'd be happy to wait if the Nats were going to rather spend the money to move the "WASHINGTON" pennant further up the one flagpole we DO have...

paul said...

Staci, the embarrassment that we Nats' fans feel and that a sane Met fan would feel to call Citi Field home are not mutually exclusive.