Sunday, May 01, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away

It's finally stopped raining. But not before the field was transformed into a first-rate DC kinda swamp. If I was about 20 years younger, it would have been fun to run down there and splash around the infield making mudpies.

Field conditions were horrid for the last inning or two, with visible puddles of water forming on the dirt, especially on the right side of the diamond. It was all-too reminiscent of the Atlanta game, which I've tried to block out of my mind.

Tomo Ohka got the surprise start. Zach "Puberty Boy" Day, had some sort of ear infection leading to some balance problems. Great... vertigo.

Frobby had the best and most damning quote I've ever read from a manager about a player on his active roster: When asked yesterday if Day needed to develop another pitch to be effective, Robinson said: "Another pitch? He has enough trouble with the ones he has.

The same could've been said about Ohka. Until last night, that is. Ohka pitched spectacularly, going six innings while allowing just two measly little hits. More importantly, Ohka-san walked only one batter. He also struck out a (get ready to laugh) season-high three batters. (Only 1,905 more games to pass Nolan Ryan!)

Gary Majewski relieved Ohka and provided relief for the first inning or so. Just as I was leaning over to my friend to remark how I'd love to see Majewski go for the ol' three-inning save, he imploded. (Apropos, doesn't Majewski look like he should be driving a semi?)

Majeski, helped by the steady rainshower, started losing command. Hector Carrasco came in to bail him out, but in the meantime, Gary had allowed a three-run double to Cliff "Big Not-Red Dog" Floyd, and created some excitement in the ol' ballpark. Two walks and a hit batsman (about the 14th of the game by my count) tend to create rallies pretty quickly. Hector got Mike Piazza to ground out and the inning was over.

They tried playing the bottom of the inning, but the rain was so heavy and the field so waterlogged anyway (can we chip in for a sump pump?) they gave up.

Enter the Keystone Kops.

There's nothing quite so humorous as watching an undermanned, underpowered groundscrew struggle for 40 minutes trying to put a tarp on the field. Back and forth they went, urged on by the crowd's cheering, with little success. The longer they took, the wetter the tarp got, and the heavier it got.

Several drunkards, the first in a Piazza jersey (not that there's anything wrong with that) stormed on the field to 'help'. Apparently, after being escorted off, he decided he wanted to wreck some rent-a-cops.

Eventually, the NatPack chipped in, and they recruited some huuuuuge guys from God knows where to come in. My favorite had to weigh three bills, and he was wearing a burgandy colored satin jacket (think NFL Films circa 1983) with a small Redskins patch, and HUGE letters above it saying "RFK STADIUM" in that bubbly early-80s font. If it wasn't Russ Grimm, his spirit certainly filled the ol' hog.

A good chunk of the crowd stayed and cheered, rooting the groundscrew on. After they got it on, the 'volunteers' left the field to cheers. And the game was promptly called. NOW they tell us? Gee. Thanks. At least the walk back to my car was mostly dry -- the rain had practically stopped by then.

Offensively, three people carried the load. Vinny Castilla (with the early 2-run double), Ryan Church (Patch-Freakin'-Tastic, with a solid 0-2 lead-off single and a run scored in the 4th, and a homer to right in the fifth).

But, the real man of the hour was Nicholas Johnson. Oh, he only had two at-bats, and he struck out in one of them. But, he made a difference with the other and his two other plate appearances. He ripped a bomb to the Mets bullpen in the 6th, but more importantly, added two walks. The second came with the bases loaded, pushing across that inning's lone run. For making the most of his limited opportunities and setting the tone with a ton of patience off the ball-lobbing Victor Zambrano, Nick Johnson is the Majority Whip.

Jose Vidro had a quietly bad game with the bat. After NJ's bases-loaded walk, he took ball one. 10 of the previous 11 pitches Zambrano threw were balls, including 8 in a row. What does Vidro do? Swing at the next one, and fly it to center. Can of Corn; Inning over. Way to let him off the hook. In Fact, that's the:

WTF Frank Senior Moment
Just as a hitter looks to the manager for a green light on 3-0, shouldn't there be a red light in situations like this? Yeah, it's Vidro's fault for swinging, but Frank's gotta remind his players of the situation.

The other WTF Frank Senior moment also happened with Vidro at bat. After NJ's walk in the third inning, Vidro was up 3-1 in the count, with that same ball-lobber on the mound. Frank called for a hit and run. A HIT AND RUN!?!?

Vidro lofted the ball, very weakly the opposite way -- clearly a pitch he wasn't prepared to handle. But, being the pro he is, he follows the sign, unlike some players. *COUGHGUZMANCOUGH*

It's not Vidro's fault the sign came in the first place. Dumb move.

You've got a pitcher there who just loves hanging himself -- he'll even tie the noose for you. Frank's the meddler who'll come out of the crowd showing Victor how to really tie the noose. -- You know... the way Hank Bauer tied it back in 1966. (Talk about a tortured analogy -- speaking of torture, Alberto Gonzalez threw out the first pitch. I was just entering the stadium, so I didn't hear if there were mostly boos or cheers.)

John Patterson against Aaron Heilman tonight on ESPN. It'll be nice to get this team some exposure, but bad in that we'll probably be subjected to those weepy tales of the 1960s and 1970s craptacularly bad Senators teams. At least our non-DirectTV friends can see a game finally.


  • For the record, Gonzales was greeted by a smattering of boos, and no discernable cheers. Also, today, the administation denied that Gonzales ever agreed to throw out the pitch, and called the entire incedent "theoretical in nature".

    By Anonymous brian graham, at 5/01/2005 2:35 PM  

  • The funniest thing about 'Berto was his SS team wearing W hats, trying to blend in despite the cords hanging out their ears!

    They should have thrown the umpiring crew in the brig at Gitmo for not calling the game. I left in the sixth and spent the next two "innings" watching it at the tune inn.

    By Anonymous Ed, at 5/01/2005 5:10 PM  

  • Geez... I lob a pitch up to the plate and you guys knock it out of the park! Well done!

    (Actually, I'm just amazed anyone made it that far through my screed!)

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/01/2005 6:41 PM  

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