Sunday, August 05, 2007

Feels Like The First Time

You could've dropped that game -- that entire homestand, really -- right into the middle of June '05 and we'd be none the wiser. Despite the efforts of that vile, treacherous drunken SOB Tony LaRussa to suck the life out of the game, the energy of the crowd and ultimately those sweet, sweet line drives a good time was had by all. (And hopefully those three straight losses serve as a detoxing enema for that soused-up time-wastin' overrated paranoid loon of a crap manager they have)

I really hate Tony LaRussa. He's a very good manager, and you can't argue with his results (unless you want to bring up his inability to notice backne or needle marks in asses of his star players). But you can argue with how he gets there. He looks for every minute edge, ruling the game like a czar drunk on power. EVERY pitch requires deliberation. EVERY pickoff throw is orchestrated from on high. It's the worst kind of totalitarianism and it really sucks the life out of the game and its pace, which is especially bothersome when you're sweating off parts of your anatomy you forgot you had in a too-hot concrete dump of a stadium.

Booing the pickoff throws was fun. Booing him as he flailed his arms around in some sort of signal to the umpire was fun. Booing him as he sulked off the field, having been ejected was even more fun.

But kicking his team's ass was the most fun of all.

The best part was that they did it by playing his own type of game in the 8th inning.

One pitch created two outs, leading to one win, but it took four separate players and two different pinch-hitters to get the matchup he wanted.

Sure, he streeeeettttttched the margin in his favor, but at a ridiculously slow pace, and with just a minor net upgrade in his chances. Good for the Nats, and good for Ray King to shove that play right back in his smoky-sunglassed face.

(Yeah, I know he was gone by then, but you know damn well, he's managing the feckin' game anyway, passing notes to Duncan or whoever, especially since Kasten took away all the alcohol from the clubhouses. What's a drunkard to do besides waste everyone in attendance's time?)

Anyway, the point of the game wasn't LaRussa's stupidity, it was about the Nats, and the play of the game was undoubtedly Ryan Zimmerman's. In that key 8th inning, he fell behind 0-2 then got a series of tough pitches, fouling EACH one off, staying alive. These weren't ticks either, he was making solid enough contact, deflecting them up and over the screen. Finally, steroid cheat Ryan Franklin (funny how they follow LaRussa around, isn't it?) zipped a slider low and over the plate -- a tough pitcher's pitch -- and Zimmerman went fishing, depositing it in front of the Cards' left fielder, giving the Nats a lead. When Dmitri Young ripped the two-run double into the gap, it was like gravy on DaMeat's favorite flavor of ice cream in a pail.

The crowd came alive. I stood up and cheered -- my voice is a bit sore now, if you can believe it. And we all went home happy, with a little cherry on top in the form of Austin Kearns' terrific game-ending sliding catch off a shallow flare to right.

Bang! Zoom! There went the fireworks, and as I walked out, down the stairs, it felt like 2005 all over again.

It's a feeling I've missed.

The rational side isn't expecting that feeling to linger for long, but feck the rational side, especially when we're winning, and especially when I'm enjoying myself at the game (Despite LaRussa's best efforts!).

  • In case you've ever wondered if Cardinals fans love Bob Carpenter as much as some of us do, here's the answer to your question.

  • 14 Comments:

    • I had my kids out and "watched" the 8th on gameday. Couldn't see the pitches, but I was really wondering if Belliard fighting so hard (even though he ultimately k'd) helped zimm too. He got to see a lot of pitches from the on deck circle.

      It's a long trip out to SF, but it's easy to forget that the Giants are bad right now.

      Just sayin . . .

      By Blogger Sam, at 8/05/2007 8:47 PM  

    • I'll admit, I also did have the thought when LaRussa brought in Molina that there was a certain foolishness in bringing in the slowest guy on your team in a 1 out "avoid a DP at all costs" situation.

      By Blogger Sam, at 8/05/2007 8:48 PM  

    • Ray King v righties isn't pretty. And Molina usually DOES hit righties well, but...

      Did Rolen go in early for an injury? If not, you'd have thought he'd have saved his bat for that situation?

      From my cheap seats, Belliard was just hacking. Looked like he swung and fouled off about 10 straight high fastballs. If so, I'm not sure how that would've helped zimm, other than that it could've tired Franklin a bit -- he fatigues easier now that he's off the roids.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/05/2007 8:50 PM  

    • re Hacking, fair enough . . . on mlb gameday, they all look like ropes just outside the third base line.

      :)

      Glad you had a good day at the ballpark.

      By Blogger Sam, at 8/05/2007 8:53 PM  

    • How 'bout seeing Dmitri get thrown out in the 8th? That was fun too. We tried to name all the players in baseball who would've failed to score on that single, and came up with Dmitri, Prince Fielder, and Livan (though Livan would've probably just jogged to third).

      Off to San Francisco... think Jon Lannan is going to remember his rookie season? He could very well be on the verge of becoming the answer to a trivia question.

      By Blogger Carl the Big Fool, at 8/05/2007 10:00 PM  

    • Willie Mays wouldn't have scored on that play -- only cause he has arthritis in the hip now.

      LOVED the play, and Tollman's going to get some shit for sending him, but in that situation, with that score, it's the right move. If Dmitri can't score from second on a two out hit to the outfield that's not RIGHT at the CFer, then....

      Really, I was hoping that Dmitri was going to drop the elbow and plow the crap out of Molina. I'd have loved to have seen the collision, and you know that Yadier probably let a little pee out when he saw who was charging down the line.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/05/2007 10:03 PM  

    • One of the best games i've been to since the Nats came to town, and i've been to a alot of games. At the risk of getting overly sentimental, games like this remind me of why i'm a Nats fan, give me hope and keep me hanging on. Now if they'd just dump that guy that does the between innings entertainment...

      By Anonymous NatsVA, at 8/05/2007 10:08 PM  

    • Oh yeah, and LaRussa-i've got your "3 Nights in August" right here. ;) Acta outmanaged you in this series. Chew on that.

      By Anonymous NatsVA, at 8/05/2007 10:10 PM  

    • Ahem:

      "Zimmerman was in the on-deck circle, and he watched Belliard battle Franklin to a 3-2 count before he swung through a fastball. Zimmerman had never faced Franklin before Friday, but he took notes off Belliard's at-bat.

      "'The more pitches you see,' Zimmerman said, 'obviously the more comfortable you get with the pitcher.'"

      By Blogger Sam, at 8/05/2007 10:17 PM  

    • Other great Zimmerman quotes:

      "We gave 110% out there."

      "We battled hard, but they can beat you in a number of ways."

      etc, etc. ;)

      (I guess the lesson that Zimmerman took from Belliard is to not swing at the high balls that Ronnie was hacking at!)

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 8/05/2007 10:25 PM  

    • Per the Cards broadcasters, Rolen has a bad shoulder so they are trying to rest him if possible. They just couldn't get enough of the Zman Show this weekend. They kept showing cuts of his HRs and winning hits all weekend. And they commented how RFK was moving like there was an earthquake on Sunday. Great timing to be able to catch a Nats series. Winning is always a whole lot more fun than losing and it's easy to say it doesn't matter in the offseason until you have to actually experience the losing in the season. Give me winning anytime.

      By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 8/06/2007 6:50 AM  

    • Not that I feel bad for La Russa, but man did the close (or perhaps not even close) umpiring calls stack against his guys yesterday. There was the appeal to Wegman that got TLR tossed, the swing call to the home plate ump that at least merited an appeal (to Wegman, no less) . . .

      Still, this is some good baseball Our Washington Nationals are playing. Zimmerman's hot, Dmitri's flipping the ball all over creation, Nook's having the best week of his life, the bullpen is inpenetrable, etc.

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