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The Nationals' 2 game winning streak, combined with my first game viewed in person at Nats Park, has awakened the blog from the depths of internet death. So much has happened since this blog took an e-nap that it would be impossible to recap.
So let's start with last night, shall we?
As I said, this was the first of at least 13 games I will be attending this season thanks to the wonderful mini-plans/payment plan that the recession/poor attendance/worst record in baseball Nationals have made available. I also had tickets for the second home game of the year, but the torrential downpours that occurred washed away that opportunity.
Aside from the rain, a few things jumped out at me and made my stay a little...less than desirable.
1) As anyone who was there can attest, the people volunteering to "take your picture for the Nationals website" are a little overzealous and maybe just a little annoying. I felt like I was walking into Kings Dominion. Do we really think that people who wanted to take pictures forgot to bring their cameras? In this day and age, when EVERYONE has a camera? Let's kill this, please?
2) The Exxon Strike Zone. I decided to hit the cage, because I was there early, and well, why the hell not? No one mentioned that the cage was essentially a baseball themed "Guess Your Weight" or shell game. The balls coming out of this machine were pretty much unhittable. I managed to get my bat on three...but these things were silly.
3) Fans. But first, we'll start with the away fans. Braves fans. You have the right to be here and cheer your team on. I've become accustomed to grouping traveling fans in one section of the stadium, but in baseball, this isn't feasible. Since it isn't, and I have to sit next to you, please do me a favor and shut up occasionally. If you want to jeer Austin Kearns, ok, I guess you're entitled. But, at some point, find a new topic. Be entertaining. Don't just be loud, and profane. But here is where my ire really comes out. Fans of teams that aren't even playing (I'm looking at you, Asshole Phillies Fan). You, in the Right Field Reserve seats. You, who had your pants pulled down in an attempt to moon a guy who told you to shut up. You, who were double fisting beers the entire night, and who not once made anyone laugh with your heckling. You, sir...suck.
4) BIGGEST COMPLAINT...Nationals Fans . You all were awful, and I mean, horrid last night. Not a solitary PEEP until we took the lead in the 6th. Not that I am a fan of PA provocation, but you were all in a coma. When Shairon would make a nice pitch, I would literally hear my clapping reverberate around the concourse. People were on their phones, deep in non-baseball conversation, or basically anything but paying attention to the game. To be fair, you all ostensibly paid your money to attend, but for Christ's sake, give a damn! Why be here if the game is merely background noise? It's cheaper to do that at home, and at least then I wouldn't have to feel like a crazy person for being excited. Oh, I was also the only one standing in my section after Dunn's homerun. Weak.
5) The brisket. Sauce is not the main attraction here, chefs. Easy on that cheap ass sweet BBQ sauce. I like to taste meat.
Other than all of things listed above, I enjoyed myself last night. Martis can be a good #4 or 5 starter for this team. He needs to get some more confidence and not give hitters so much credit that he pitches himself into bad counts. But he has shown that he has decent stuff, and can win ball games.
Tonight, Lannan against Jurrjens. Good luck, Johnny. I wouldn't mind a three game streak...
Nats Report will return...as soon as the Nats win a game in 2009. So, get ready. Eventually.
This needs to be seen by everyone.
Steinberg says, Nats: Last in League, Last in TV Ratings.
9000 households. Wow.
Those of you who are casual fans of the game probably spend most of your time watching a ballgame thinking about the obvious parts of the sport. You know, things such as balls, strikes, hits, runs. Some of the most savvy fans go even further, worrying about stats such as earned run average, on base percentage, perhaps even the walks hits per innings pitched. While those things are important, I'd like to focus on something even more subtle about the game, 3rd base coaching errors.
I'm being completely honest here when I think we (baseball society in general) should start keeping track of bonehead decisions of base coaches. No doubt, the Nationals would be near the league lead in that category. Case in point has been the current series with the Astros. Both nights, Tim Tolman has shown a complete lack of faith in the team and sent runners home on shallow singles with 2 outs, only to have both runners thrown out by a country mile. Last night's was particularly disheartening as Cristian Guzman would have been up to the plate, arguably our best and most clutch hitter at the moment. But nope, Tolman evidently thought Wily Mo Pena grew some wheels over the winter...he didn't. The only coherent thought that could have been going through Tolman's head at that point was that he knew the throw was going to beat WMP to the plate, but WMP is what you might call a "hoss" and if he blows up the catcher at the plate, there's a good chance he ends up safe. Well Brad Ausmus sniffed out Tolman's devious plans and sidestepped the oncoming Pena and tagged him on the leg...feet from the plate.
Another inning ending out at home, another loss for the Nats, another reason I should be coaching 3rd base!