Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It was a good thing that Our Washington Nationals honored former Montreal Expo Andre Dawson tonight at Nationals Park for his recent induction into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame & Museum. That moment turned out to be this evening's most memorable, because the game that followed between D.C.'s Team and The Florida Marlins was completely forgettable. Except for Adam Dunn stepping to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th and nearly knocking one out of the park for a grand slam, a resultant fly ball caught for the inning's final out, Washington's fans really had only one more bit of fun to enjoy.

Out of nowhere in the 9th inning, rain came to South Capitol Street. A cooling refresher for those few left in the announced crowd of 25,929 that stayed until the bitter end. After sitting through one of the most stifling hot and humid nights all summer in D.C. (game time temperature was 95 degrees), that brief shower felt great. Wonderful, quite the opposite of the feelings brought on by watching this game.

Returning from their last West Coast road trip of 2010, Washington played like they were still in another time zone. Everything seemed out of sync--including the starting pitching from Stephen Strasburg tonight. After not throwing in a single game for two weeks after being placed on the Disabled List--Our Number 37 returned to start before the smallest home crowd to witness him pitch this season. Strasburg looked mighty normal. He looked completely out of whack. His pitches were all over the place.

And when Florida's Dan Uggla took him deep on a 1-2 count in the very top of the first inning for a two-run homer, things never got much better for Our Washington Nationals. Strasburg couldn't even finish the 5th inning. Our Manager Jim Riggleman removing him with one out. Washington's top rookie eventually being charged with six earned runs on 8 hits and two walks. No question he was saddled with his 3rd loss of his Major League career as well.

To make matters worse, Washington's bats couldn't solve The Fish's Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins' starter pitched a strong game, nearly completed seven innings and left after having allowed two unearned runs. Really that was it, except for the fact that Teddy Did Win The Presidents Race!! Yeah, he did. But not for long as Screech disqualified Washington's Lovable Loser for riding a mini-motor bike to the finish line--while his Rushmore compatriots ran on foot.

Believe it or not, Teddy's breaking of the tape at the finish line in first place receiving the loudest cheers of the evening and a standing ovation. His DQ by Screech bringing the loudest boos as well. What do expect from a home crowd that was looking for anything to latch on to and remember, because the game most everyone watched on the field didn't leave much to recall for Washington's fans after that final and 27th out was recorded by The Marlins.

Final Score from Nationals Park where Andre Dawson was honored and the new "Ring Of Honor" was officially unveiled: The Florida Marlins 8 and Our Washington Nationals 2. This game was so out of hand that in the 9th inning, Mr. 10 Millionth Fan, Mark Strattner, joked the dwindling crowd looked more like an Expos Home crowd in their last years in Montreal at Olympic Stadium. A situation that revoked memories for me when it started to rain moments later and most everyone else got up to leave the ballpark. The seating bowl now resembling the look of a Washington Senators game at RFK Stadium in 1971 after Major League Baseball announced The Senators were moving to Texas.

Nationals Park mostly empty for those final outs. Just like the feeling left in the stomach from tonight's game.

A totally forgettable one.

Game Notes & Highlights

The ceremony honoring Andre Dawson was actually quite nice. His teammate and fellow Hall Of Famer in Montreal--Gary Carter--was on hand as well. Both were given replica authentic home Expos Jerseys and Caps. Long time Montreal Expos Broadcaster--now with The Florida Marlins--Dave Van Horne co-hosted the presentations with Nationals Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes. And Team President Stan Kasten presented Dawson a framed Nationals Jersey bearing his name and number on the back. Asked to speak a few words, Andre Dawson actually shed a few tears while receiving hearty slaps on the back from Mr. Kasten and Mr. Carter. A video was shown on Dawson's career and included remembrances from former teammates and colleagues.

The ceremony completed after Andre Dawson's name was unveiled on the new "Ring Of Honor" at Nationals Park and one of baseball's newest Hall Of Fame Members (Andre) threw out the first pitch to Gary Carter.

McCatty,Strasburg Photo--Manuel Balce Ceneta (AP)
All Other Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Unknown said...

Did you hear that kid heckling our Nats from section 218 or 219 in the 9th inning? How rude.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jon: Sohna was livid about that kid. And especially when not a single usher standing around went over to say anything to him. She was about to go over and say something to him directly herself, but the final out was recorded at the same time.

That kid has been there before in previous games, but never as bad as last night. He was awful.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

The Nationals handled this nicely, but....lets' imagine that Frank Howard was inducted to the Hall of Fame five years after he retired. Where would it have been more appropriate to hold a ceremony---Arlington Stadium, or Baltimore's Memorial Stadium---the nearest ballpark to where Howard played most of his career?

Which would have been better---seeing an announced crowd of 25,000 politely applaud two men whom most had NEVER actively rooted for as players, or before 40,000 Cub fans at Wrigley Field, giving a standing ovation to one of their own?

If it intent is to honor Montréal's baseball past, which is truly better---staging this event nearly 800 kilometres from Olympic Stadium on the pretext that there has to be a MLB baseball game at a background, or stage the event WITHOUT a game at either Olympic Stadium, Bell Centre, or Percival Molson Stadium?

I am not disrespecting André Dawson, Gary Carter, or Montréal Expos history---but I maintain that if you really wanted to respect all three, MLB could have done a much better job.

paul said...

The Dawson event was the best thing the Kasten/Lerner group has done as owners, and not just because they were nice to the Hawk. The ring of honor struck just the right balance among all of Washington baseball's mixed ancestry--the Senators, the Grays, and the Expos. It was really neat to see the top 15-20 or so ballplayers honored at once. And doing it on such short notice, with Florida visiting so Dave Van Horne could be part of it, was really well done.

I'm almost never at a game early, but because it was our annual kids' trip to a game, we all got to enjoy the ceremony. And our students, all of whom are African-American, really appreciated learning about Dawson as well as the Grays.

But, oy, what a terrible game. . . . In fact, the whole series reminded me of past series with Florida where they just manhandled us.