May 27, 2005
After losing five of their last six games, it was no surprise that two of the Washington Nationals' starting pitchers have been sent down to the minors: Claudio Vargas and Zach Day. Reliever Jon Rauch is out for most if not all of the season, and the very promising starter John Patterson suffered complications from pain treatment on his back, and is likewise disabled for the foreseeable future. Ouch! Thomas Boswell puts it just right as usual in today's Washington Post:
In such times, teams learn what they're made of. But self-knowledge won't be limited to Washington players. Many in this area will discover whether they are part of that perverse breed that loves the delicious agony of a 162-game season. For both teams and individuals, baseball is a game of almost incomprehensible hot streaks that are so exciting, and equally mysterious slumps that are so demoralizing, that your own daily moods can be affected by the team's bipolar fortunes.
To paraphrase what I wrote on April 22: "When it comes to baseball in Washington, even a (dismal losing streak) like this one is better than no game at all!" I shouldn't complain, they're still above .500. The Nationals got off to a bad start against the Cardinals this evening, as Jim Edmonds hit a two-run homer in the first inning. Then they showed some spunk by taking the lead 3-2 in the third, but St. Louis came right back with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. It's 5-3 after five innings.
Many thanks to Mark London for sponsoring two (2) additional pages at the new discounted rate: the venerable old Forbes Field and the splendid new PNC Park. Mark now has a monopoly on the Pittsburgh ballparks, having first dibs on Exposition Park, when I get to it in the next few months. Thanks are also due to my good buddy Phil Faranda for sponsoring the Polo Grounds page. He tells me he once visited the housing complex that now stands on that site, and was pleased to learn that the residents are well aware of that funky old sports palace that used to stand there.
One of the new Nationals blogs, districtofbaseball.com had a very pertinent opinion poll, asking "Which improvement would you like to see most at RFK?" and I heartily agree with the results: 53% said "More accurate, easier-to-read scoreboards." As I mentioned on May 3, RFK Stadium needs a manually operated inning-by-inning scoreboard! There's plenty of room on that mini-"Green Monster" wall in left-center field, so why not?