Monday, March 31, 2008

Seen Any Good Games Lately?

Warning! Random Thoughts Ahead!

Stadium: Not bad! Definitely a more comfortable (and clean!) place to watch a ballgame. I like the open feel of it. You don't feel like you're stuck in a dirty, filthy concrete donut.

I ended up getting seats about 10 rows from the dugout, sitting amongst all sorts of Senators and other washington-type celebrities. The view, as you'd expect was incredible. Seats are narrow, though. I like the angle of the seats there, though. They're pitched enough so that people in front of you aren't in your way.

The crowd -- and it could be where I was sitting, of course -- didn't seem to have much life. Nobody was really into it, which was a bit disappointing. Even when Odalis Perez mowed through the first few batters, getting to 2-strike counts, the crowd barely reacted. That's disappointing.

How 'bout that Zimmerman, eh? It's funny, when he came up, the crowd actually came to life, for the first time since booing Bush. I turned to my friend -- being the cynic at heart -- and proclaimed the idiocy of the fans. Yeah, sure. We haven't had a baserunner since the first inning. Sure. Yeah, he'll hit a homerun. Idiots.

Isn't it amazing how the guy with the rubber chicken managed to get great seats behind the dugout again?

I counted about 3/4 plays at first that Nick Johnson made that I can't really imagine Dmitri making. I had a perfect view of the throws coming across the infield, and Guzman really made some poor throws. He ole'd a ball, but it seemed like there were a few funky bounces through the infield all game. The Braves SS, Escobar, made a few tremendous plays, showing off a good bit of range.

Kearns played RF terrifically last night. Not just the assist, but he got to a bunch of balls, including two or so that I thought might drop in. He's got a good way of making those things look routine. Milledge looked a little shaky out there at times, but he made all the plays he needed to.

Being at the game, we didn't obviously know about Dukes injury. I was a little confused, and trying to figure out what was going on, thinking that this was a continuation of Manny's one-run-lead strategy from last season. Defensive subs are very useful, but it seemed awfully odd to turn to them so early in the game!

Same respect, I thought (not knowing the injury) that brining in Rauch was a brilliant move. Cordero stinks against the Braves; even with the lesser Jones gone, there were still two batters who'd hit grand slams off him to win games in the lineup (and due up that inning).

So how 'bout that Jon Rauch as closer thing? How many people said he never blows games like Cordero, that he's more reliable? All closers blow games from time to time. It happens, especially when it's just a one-run lead. (The league save % in that situation is something like 70% -- it's no sure thing.)

It's hard to get much of a read on Odalis Perez. He didn't look terrible, but he didn't look especially sharp either. He's got a good way of working himself into jams. Whether he has a good season or not depends on his ability to escape them. As we saw last night, Manny's not going to give him too much rope to hang himself -- at least yet.

I liked the dance of moves Acta made when Cox went match-up in the 8th inning. With the pitchers' spot due up and a lefty on the mound, Aaron Boone was on deck. When Cox brought in the righty, Acta showed Young. But once Belliard made the second out, he sent up FLop instead... no sense wasting the big bat with two outs and nobody on. And if by some miracle, Lopez had got on, he's in a great position to try to take the extra base.

I haven't seen the replay, but I've heard some teeth-gnashing. Good call by the scorer on the PB? (I've seen enough of that guy's calls to just assume that it's wrong)

Ready for another game today? First pitch at 3:05!

  • And finally.... blind item guessing game time!

    Which curmudgeonly sportswriter was overheard (god bless the passive voice) ripping one of his coworkers, saying that this beloved columnist "has his head so far up the Nats' asses..."?


    • My friends and I immediately went to "the fix is in" card when LoDuca let the ball get by him. Upon further review Rauch missed his spot badly, Paulie took a stab at it instead of sliding over to block it and he missed the stab. It was a passed ball, but a tough play.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 10:02 AM  

    • Even before it was scored a PB, my initial reaction was that it looked like PLod's fault. It wasn't very far off the plate, just close to being in the dirt.
      My second reaction: "Jesus woulda blocked it!!!"

      By Blogger Rob B, at 3/31/2008 10:02 AM  

    • Curmudgeonly sports writer? Mr. Tony road show?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 10:16 AM  

    • I don't know if it's worse to sit among a dead crowd, or among a lively one that is composed of idiots. We had the biggest bunch of morons behind us (they were Detroit fans, of all things), who made fun of the Nats the whole time. Combine that with the groups who don't go to ballgames much, if ever (they were getting mad that people were eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the ground), and it was a little irritating.

      Ironically, the Braves fans in our section were much better behaved, which I guess isn't saying much.

      By Blogger DCSportsChick, at 3/31/2008 10:36 AM  

    • Sean -- It's a blind item. I can't just give it away! Not a bad guess, though. Not a bad guess!

      dcsc -- We had an idiot in the row behind us yammering away for the first 3 innings about how hard his wife was working not that she's opened a restaurant in St. Michael's.

      That's fine, but he was talking REALLY loudly since there were four, and he wanted to the person on the far end of the group to hear.

      I wish I remembered the name of the place so I could stage a boycot.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/31/2008 10:39 AM  

    • I'll see that and raise you the guy two rows in front of me who A) COULDN'T control THE VOLUME of his VOICE! and B) went from complaining about how Cordero makes him nervous to complaining that Cordero wasn't pitching the ninth. ALL at fluctuating VOLUME!

      By Blogger Nate, at 3/31/2008 10:48 AM  

    • So, Chris, let me try to decipher your attempt at bringing a Page 6 vibe to your blog. A curmudgeonly sportswriter was overhead. Someone's head was up someone else's ass. Are we supposed to be figuring out which curmudgeonly sportswriter's prostate you were eyeballing last night? Or are you yourself the curmudgeonly sportswriter who was getting the reverse headbutt? I'm so confused.

      Oh, wait. You misspelled overheard. Never mind.

      By Blogger An Briosca Mor, at 3/31/2008 11:41 AM  

    • I spelled it wrong? where? I don't see any misspellings!

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/31/2008 11:43 AM  

    • i would have given lo duca a passed ball there. it's a close call, though. more important, though, to me, is the fact that he didn't even try to block it when rauch missed the spot down. that's trademark lo duca. as a (former?) mets fan, i've had to put up with that for the last two years. lo duca will never go to his knees to block a ball, especially when it would involve lateral movement. some of them get called passed balls; some get called wild pitches. but it's invariably lo duca behind the plate, letting a stoppable ball go to the backstop. it will, without hyperbole, happen 25 times this season if he's the regular catcher. they won't all immediately cost a run, but i'd get used to that if i were y'all.

      By Blogger e poc, at 3/31/2008 11:52 AM  

    • I think it may have been where you were sitting Chris. I was in the sec. 317 (nice seats by the way for 26 bucks!) and there was alot of excitement and cheering up there. Most of the celebrities, etc. that you described on your level probably won't go to another Nats game this year, so i'm not too concerned about the atmosphere.

      I did like the stadium though, yes i did. And i didn't find the occassional confusion with concessions to be anything out of the ordinary for the first official game at the new park, these are things that'll work themselves out as the season goes on. Almost everyone working seemed genuinely excited and friendly.

      But honestly, if you're stupid enough to wait for an hour in the Five Guys line for a burger when there's alot more to choose from food-wise you've got more problems than patience.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 12:59 PM  

    • Last night I was sitting in section 110 where the field angles in up the third base line. THANK GOD these are not my regular seats. With Ben's Chili Bowl, Hard Times Cafe, Red Hot & Blue, and Boardwalk Fries all right behind us, it was worse than Tysons Corner on the Saturday before Christmas.

      It was also pretty hard to tell from there how to score that passed ball.

      As for the fans, it was disappointing that so few people were there to watch a baseball game. However on the flip side, it was the first Atlanta game I've been to in Washington where I didn't have to listen to thousands of Braves fans howling the tomahawk chop. In fact, when Chipper hit that dinger, it sucked the sound out of the stadium. That's the way it's supposed to work!

      More importantly, did you get your chili nachos?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 2:44 PM  

    • Didn't get any chili nachos. I drank my dinner before the game, and once I plopped down in my seat, I was there to stay. (I think I ruptured my bladder)

      Those look good! but smaller!!!! Cheap bastards!!!!

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/31/2008 2:46 PM  

    • Yep, the upper deck was into it. You just made the mistake of sitting with the rich folks and lobbyists in the expensive seats. Return to your roots and you'll feel much better.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 2:48 PM  

    • Oh, I will. Another week, and I trudge back up to the top in my usual section, 305.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 3/31/2008 2:48 PM  

    • I was up in the 400s having gotten the absolute last $5 walkup ticket they sold that day. It was a pretty nice group up there just because everyone had been around each other for the last 6-7 hours so had had a chance to make some friends.

      The only irritating things were

      1)from there you could see the streams of people who were leaving during the whole game. People started leaving in the second inning because they basically wanted to say they were there and bounce. Tough that so many people who actually wanted to be there couldn't get tickets and those people could. I was just happy the stadium didn't look as empty as it was on ESPN.

      2) The lady not only booing the President but yelling and cursing at him about oil with her kids sitting next to her. Classy.

      3) The Baltimore fans doing the O in the national anthem. It was so irritating many of us were booing them for a few seconds before we realized we were booing during the national anthem.

      By Blogger Pmac, at 3/31/2008 2:53 PM  

    • The usherette in Section 401 is not just cute, but bubbly. She's new, never worked at RFK. Loves the views (U.S. Capitol, ships at the Navy Yard) and the folks in her section. It's five dollars, it's covered (wait until summer and those thunderstorms), plus dollar-for-dollar, it's the best deal in baseball. BTW, did anybody read that idiot Kennecott's ridiculous criticism of the park in Monday's WaPost?

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/31/2008 9:03 PM  

    • I'm guessing Zuckerman about Loverro or Svurlga about Boswell. Both seem to fawn over the Nats, but Loverro more I shall guess it's the boys at the Times.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/03/2008 1:55 AM  

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