I didn’t think I was going to make it to the Yankees series. But I had a little luck on my side – Ashley and her husband were out of town for a wedding, and my brother was their dog sitter. As part of his payment, he received baseball tickets, so I obviously begged to be his date for the game. Being a generous young man, my brother acquiesced. How nice!
Of course, after that game, maybe I didn’t want to see the Yankees. And no – it wasn’t because I was going to see Gio again. It was because the Nationals played some piss-poor baseball defense. They’d played so well in Boston and Toronto, sweeping both of those teams, but the team that showed up in Washington this past Friday was not the same team. Maybe it was the toll of playing hard to close things out for 6 games, or maybe they’d had too good a time at the ZiMS benefit the night before. Whatever the reason this past weekend was not great.
Things were decently close for 6 innings. But then after allowing 1 runner to reach at the top of the 7th, Gio was pulled in favor of the recently-returned-from-the-DL Brad Lidge. Lidge did very little of use – he walked 2, and allowed a single that put the Yanks up by 2. In 1/3 of an inning, he allowed as many earned runs as Gonzalez did in the previous 6 innings. CRAZY. Everyone sitting around me complained, and when I heard later in the weekend that Lidge had been DFA’d, I was not surprised.
I wish that this post were the kind where you know that our team won the next game, so there was no reason to be sad. But as of the writing, the Nats have not won since. They’re still more than 10 games over 500, but considering how well they’ve been doing, and how they’ve got guys back in the lineup, you’d hope they’d do better. How many times can I use the word “they” or a contraction thereof in a sentence? Apparently 4.
ANYWAYS. Nationals. Baseball. It’s June 20. It’s officially summer. Enjoy the good baseball times, be sure to drink lots of water, and put on your sunscreen, or you might end up like this lobster which tackled Teddy!
Full photo set here.
Game: Spring Training #14 – Nationals vs. Yankees
Pitching this Afternoon for the Nationals: John Lannan, Sean Burnett, Yunesky Maya
Final Score: Nationals – 6, Yankees – 5
Inning of the Game: This was another 9th inning where the game was clinched. Another team effort – Jesus Flores got on base, only to have Nyjer Morgan come in as a pinch runner. Bryce Harper was brought in as a pinch hitter, and ended up drilled on the elbow and took his base. Alberto Gonzalez was intentionally walked to load the bases (for reasons I still don’t quite understand – someone explain what the purpose of that might have been when the game was tied, and there was only one out)? Derek Norris came in as a pinch hitter, and blasted one to center field – it bounced off the outfield and into the warning track. Once Morgan crossed the plate, the rest of the guys on the base-path skipped touching all the bags, and just went home. An excellent end to what was sometimes a nerve-wracking game.
Player of the Game: Michael Morse. A 2-run homer to get the Nats out of the funk of being down by two in the first inning. He had an RBI in the 7th before being taken out, and generally looked like a stud.
Where I sat: Section 209, up towards the top. Not quite as high as last night’s game, and this time truly on the aisle seat. The only bad bit being that this afternoon’s game was in full sun, and there was not a cloud in the sky, meaning that it was hot as heck, despite the temperature hovering around 68 degrees for the entire game. I am glad that I took a break mid-game, went to the shade of the concession area and re-applied my sunscreen.
What I ate: I was very adventurous and got a chicken finger basket and water (to prevent dehydration). The thing that made me sad about the chicken finger basket was that the “basket”, which included fries, had about a handful – not even a “side” of fries really. It made me “homesick” for the baskets at Nationals Park which include more fries for about the same price.
- There were a ridiculous number of Yankees fans at today’s game. So much so, that as another Nats fan walked past me into the aisle he said, “It’s like walking into enemy territory!”
- The girl who sang the national anthem was amazing. Someone said that she’s 10 years old, and she had a great big voice for such a little girl. I heard many people talking about how good she was.
- There was one inning (maybe the 7th?), where Austin Krum got on base (on balls), and Maya – pitching at that point – decided that he was going to take Krum out. There was a near constant game of cat and mouse where Maya would throw to keep Krum on first, and then after being moved to second base, the throwing continued to keep him on his toes. Combine this with Austin Romine’s extended at bat later on, and it made for a long inning.
- What made this a true “Yankees” game for me was the group of kids sitting in front of me. They were hipster baseball fans, and they were definitely loud drunks. They tried to start cheers for the Yankees players, and were constantly waving to their parents who were sitting 2 sections over. They also kept trying to share the food that they bought that they didn’t like (and had just loudly denounced), like the bag of peanuts (which were “gross”), and the cone of cotton candy (which was “too sticky”).
(the rest of the album from this game can be seen here)
Game: #050 – Syracuse Chiefs vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees
Starting Pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (#37, 3-1, 1.27) vs. Tim Redding (#23, 0-0, 3.86)
Final Score: Chiefs: 2, Yankees: 3
Chiefs New Record: 28-20
Play of the Game: Chase Lambin, Chiefs second baseman, slides home hoping to beat a throw from the outfield. Instead of sliding in directly, he comes in behind the Yankees catcher and reaches behind to tag home plate. The crowd goes WILD!
Player of the Game: What can I say – despite this being his first AAA loss, Strasburg was great. He got up to at LEAST 99mph, and was impressive up until the 6th inning when he just fell apart.
Favorite Non-baseball Moment: Watching a couple fratty guys in the front row talk smack with the 8th grader sitting near them.
Who was there: Maggie (and more than 13,000 – a full house – other fans hoping to get a glimpse of the wunderkind)
Her Record: Maggie – 2-7
Where did she sit: Section 112, row C. This is just to the left of the home dugout, a great area for getting player signatures, and watching ballplayers come and go before and after innings. These are also some of the most “expensive” seats in the house – purchased online, my total came to $13.50 (a real steal if you’re used to DC prices).
What did we eat: A hot dog and a Saranac pale ale. The beer was good, the hot dog was pathetic (a little burned, the bun all squished up and split down the middle).
- During the top of the fourth, I was filming the at-bat. All of a sudden, a foul ball comes screaming at us! If the ball hadn’t bounced on the dugout railing, it would have probably hit me.
- I sat next to a guy who hates the wave. WHO HATES THE WAVE???
- Syracuse has a train that runs behind the outfield. Not a kiddie train – a real-deal functioning diesel train. It’s awesome to watch it chug and toot in the middle of the game.
- Strasburg had a balk in the 6th. I didn’t see it happen, and I still don’t really know what it means to balk.
- He did not seem happy to be taken out after walking a dude and generally having a bad inning. Syracuse fans gave him a standing ovation, but one drunk dude two rows in front of me got a little obnoxious about the fact that Strassy didn’t tip his cap. One of the security guys in the dugout got into it with the drunk dude, and security was eventually called. If this guy hadn’t insisted on being so loud with his displeasure at Stras not tipping his cap, nothing would have happened. He wasn’t kicked out, but he got a warning.
- Jason Bergman was lip-singing along with the Outfield’s “Your Love”. It was kind of awesome to witness. He later watched the game, staring lovingly – as if he wanted to be in there (which I’m sure he did).
- According to the people sitting near me, I’m a “creepy stalker chick” because I happen to know things about Strasburg (I remembered his birthday because it’s 3 days before mine, I know where he went to school because I’m a Nationals fan, and he was THE NEWS last summer, and I know what kind of car he drives because it was in the Syracuse newspaper article I read that afternoon). I didn’t hound him for an autograph (didn’t stick around after the game), and I know quite a bit about the other players too. I think I proved I was a legit fan (and not a Strasburg stalker) by being able to talk about the OTHER Syracuse players that were being sent up/down (JD Martin, Justin Maxwell).
(full album from this game can be seen here)
(more videos from other games can be seen here)