September 22nd, 2012
On Saturday I woke up around 9:30 and had some breakfast before leaving at 10:45. I parked at the Greenbelt stop and boarded the train at 11:20. We sat there for almost 10 minutes and then finally departed. Once I got off the train at the Navy Yard – Ballpark stop I walked towards the centerfield gate and had a nearby lady (Kim) take game photo number 151. I normally try to get the exterior ballpark picture from behind home plate, but someone I asked on Friday said that there really wasn’t good exterior signage by the home plate entrance. I told Kim my story and thanked her for helping me out. I then went to the player will call window near home plate to get my ticket. Since I was there I figured I should at least look if they have anything on the exterior. I think this would classify as exterior signage.
Those numbers on the ground represent the years that important events took place in Washington baseball history. On the right you can see those metal structures. Here is a close up of one of them.
I entered the ballpark at 12:40 which was pretty late for me given the 1:05 first pitch. I got a hot dog and a designated driver beverage (lemonade) and then went to my seat. I was in the same section and row as Friday, but 11 seats farther from home plate. Gio Gonzalez threw a called strike to Aoki to get the game underway.
Wily Peralta was pitching for the Crew and I was looking for a duplicate performance of Sunday’s dominance vs. the Mets. Here he is after releasing the first pitch of his outing:
The Nationals got to Peralta in the 3rd, scoring three runs on 4 hits, including 3 doubles. After walking a batter to load the bases with two outs Roenicke made the call to the bullpen.
Unfortunately Sunday’s performance was not duplicated. On Sunday he threw 104 pitches to get 24 outs (4.33 pitches per out). On Saturday he threw 73 pitches to get 8 outs (9.13 pitches per out). He walked four which is always going to escalate the pitch count. Hopefully it’s just part of the learning process (he’s only 23) and he can bounce back.
Livan Hernandez had entered for Peralta and got out of the bases loaded jam in the 3rd without allowing another run to score. The 4th inning, however, did not go as smoothly. The first seven at bats of the 4th went like this: groundout, single, walk, 3-run home run, single, single, (coaching visit to the mound), 3-run home run. Eeeeeeesh. The Nationals increased their lead to 9-0 in a span of a few minutes.
In the middle of the 4th (I think) the Nationals put on the Presidents Race. The four Presidents that run are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. I think they should call it the Presidents *Event* for obvious reasons. This picture should explain it:
As you can see Teddy has zero wins on the year, and zero all-time wins in over 350 races. It’s a running gag and the fans cheer for him knowing that he’ll do something to lose, i.e.:
It’s their own thing and I don’t want to step on any toes; but let the guy win. Well, don’t *let* him win, but at least let it be an actual race. I’m curious if they tell the guy running in the costume “now if you disobey and win you will never be allowed in this ballpark again.” I took from my history classes that Teddy Roosevelt was a good president, so he deserves better. I’m not being too serious BUT if I was a betting man I might take a gambling friend to their first game and decide if I want to bet or not depending on if they pick Roosevelt to win the “race.”
The Brewers got on the board in the 6th with an RBI groundout from Braun and a sacrifice fly from Ramirez. A home run from LaRoche made it 10-2 Nationals after six. In the top of the seventh there was a scary moment if you were a Nationals fan. Gio Gonzalez, who is the Nationals’ best pitcher (perhaps even if Strasburg hadn’t been shut down) stumbled while letting go of a pitch to Maldonado. He laid face down on the ground for 2 or 3 seconds before finally getting up. I tried getting my camera out to take a picture of him just lying there but I wasn’t quick enough. This is after he got up and everyone came over to see what happened. I saw something similar in the highlights of a different game recently and the pitcher did something to his oblique muscle so I wasn’t sure if Gio was actually hurt. It wound up being a scare and all the fans gave him a standing ovation (I think he was just plain embarrassed). He pitched great on Saturday though, so there wasn’t much to be embarrassed about.
Roenicke started putting in the September call ups towards the end of the game to give them some playing time. With all of the games being close as of late, and the Brewers being right in the wild card race he hasn’t had the opportunity. Taylor Green hit a 2-run home run in the 9th but that’s all the offense could muster. Final score: Nationals 10 – Brewers 4. A close loss (I think) is harder to swallow because you can say “what if” about a lot of stuff. A blowout is easier to forget. It’s baseball: it happens.
Unfortunately the Cubs blew a save in the 9th inning and the Cardinals wound up winning 5-4 in 10 innings. The Cardinals now have a 2.5 game lead in the second wild card standings.
Right back at it tomorrow with a 1:35 PM first pitch. Gallardo is “toeing the slab” (baseball slang for pitching) and I’m hoping he can keep doing what he’s doing (pitching really well).
I missed 3, yes THREE pitches at the game on Saturday. Looks like it wasn’t just the Brewers who had a bad game.
1) I missed the fourth pitch to Maldonado in the 5th. I was looking at the out of town scoreboard and was telling the guy next to me that the Cubs had the bases loaded.
2) I missed the first pitch of the bottom of the 7th. I found a half full bag of peanuts under the chair next to mine (it wasn’t anybody’s around me) so I started eating them.
3) The first pitch to Taylor Green in the 9th. I was looking at my phone trying to get an update on the Cubs game.
One last thing, there are two home games left that my extra seat is available for; Friday, September 28th and Sunday, September 30th. I ask $40 for the ticket (face value) and you’d be sitting with me for the game. The money goes to the Be The Match Foundation. Also, I have other tickets for Monday, October 1st, so BOTH of my tickets are available for that game. You and a friend wouldn’t be sitting with me but the $80 for the two tickets would go to Be The Match. My season tickets are in section 221, row 6. Leave a comment if you’re interested.
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE
On Friday I woke up at 6:30 AM and couldn’t fall back asleep despite the fact I had gone to bed just four hours earlier. I was still thinking about the fiasco on I-70 and I realized I was just going to lay there so I might as well get up. I worked on the post for Thursday, watched some ESPN and MLB network, and iced my knee. I left my aunt and uncle’s place at 3:15 and stopped at the Jimmy John’s that’s a few miles from their house. I knew that I had needed gas, so earlier in the day I went to gasbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas nearby. It was at Costco ($3.69) and after devouring the Turkey Tom at Jimmy John’s I went to fill up. They’ve got a system down at the Costco gas station. There is signage telling you to only enter from one side and there are lines (2-4 cars deep) for each row of pumps. After putting in my credit card the screen read: “please insert your Costco card first.” DOH!!! Again: I’m an idiot (I’m not a member of Costco). I should’ve been suspicious when $3.69 was well below the average of the surrounding stations.
At this point it was getting kind of late so I decided I’d get gas after the game. Interstate 95 was very busy and I didn’t get to the Greenbelt Metro station until 4:30 which was about the time I had wanted to be at the park. This is the view of Nationals Park when you emerge from the Navy Yard – Ballpark stop:
I walked around to the media entrance and Kyle met me with my wristband. Kyle works in the Nationals Community Relations department and had invited me on the field for batting practice. I picked up my Brewers-provided ticket from will call and we headed inside. We took a few turns and went down the umpires tunnel to the field. The Brewers were already taking BP and I soaked it in. At some point I had Kyle take game photo number 150 for me.
When the Brewers were done in the cage we went back up the tunnel and took the elevator to the main concourse where Kyle and I parted ways. Thanks again Kyle! In the concourse behind home plate they have murals detailing the history of baseball in Washington D.C. There were more but I just took pictures of the first two. Washington D.C. lost two franchises to other cities. The 1901 – 1960 Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and the 1961 – 1971 Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972. The Senators that later became the Twins won a world series in 1924, the only world series a Washington franchise has won. That’s more than the Brewers….. (so far).
I wandered a little bit but then went to my seat and waited for the game to start. Eventually (and right on schedule) Edwin Jackson threw a ball to Norichika Aoki to get things started. It would’ve made for a better picture if those people were in their seats, but what are you going to do.
Braun tripled with two outs but was stranded at second when Aramis Ramirez grounded out to short.
Marcum started for the Crew and he did well. Here’s the first pitch of his outing:
The first inning wasn’t too kind to Marcum, though. A two-out broken-bat single put one on and then Adam Laroche hit a 2-run home run to quickly give the Natinals the lead. I purposely spelled it N-a-t-i-n-a-l-s there. A few years ago Nationals was spelled wrong on Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn’s jerseys and they wore “Natinals” on their chests for a game. They’ve come a long way. The Brewers got one back in the top of the 2nd when Lucroy led off the frame with a solo shot. I was able to get the head of a random fan going up the steps *AND* cotton candy in the same picture!
The game then became a pitcher’s duel. Marcum lasted six innings and gave up just the first-inning runs while allowing 4 hits, walking none and striking out 3. Jackson’s line was more impressive: 8 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, 0 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Tyler Clippard came in for the 9th to try and secure the 2-1 victory for the Nationals. At this point I moved from my seat in section 108 to above the outfield seats in left. I was still hoping the Crew would make a comeback but wanted to be close to the centerfield exit so I could get to the Metro stop right after the game ended.
Aoki bunted for a base hit to start the 9th and moved to second on a passed ball. Weeks flew out while Aoki tagged and moved up to third base. With Braun at the plate and the tying run at third with only out I felt pretty confident the Brewers would tie the game. Braun ripped the 0-1 pitch to left and it was a new brand new ballgame. Braun stole 2nd and then Ramirez doubled, giving the Brewers the lead in the process. A wild pitch from Clippard let Ramirez get to third. Travis Ishikawa reached first and Ramirez scored. I say reached because originally the ground ball to the shortstop was ruled a throwing error but the official scorer later changed it to an infield hit. Either way the Brewers had a 2-run lead. Axford pitched the 9th and notched his 32nd save. That three-run 9th is a thing of beauty. Final score: Brewers 4 – Nationals 2.
Earlier in the day the Cardinals led the Cubs 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th and were one strike away from winning. What happened next? A bloop single, a game-tying 2-run home run (on a 1-2 pitch) and then a walk-off win in the 11th. Go Cubs Go! The Cardinals loss coupled with the Brewers win means the Cardinals’ lead in the second wild card chase is just 1.5 games (ONE in the loss column; you can’t make up losses).
This post was kind of short but it’s a quick turnaround. The remaining three games of the series have 1:05, 1:35, and 1:05 start times, respectively. Let’s win some day games!!!
If you want to learn more about Be The Match and how you can help, CLICK HERE