July 30, 2006
One day remains for the trades to be carried out. Will Bobby Abreu be the spark that the Yankees need to wrest the division title away from the Red Sox? Frankly I doubt it, because the Yanks' vulnerability is in the pitching department. (Devil Rays 19, Yanks 6!?) It's too bad they can't unload Randy Johnson, who seems to be aging rapidly and no longer instills fear into opposing batters. The Nationals traded veteran reliever Mike Stanton (age 39) to the Giants for Shairon Martis (age 19!). Stanton was traded away by the Nats a year ago, and then signed up with the Nats again during the off-season, and the same thing may happen later this year.
FOX Sports announcer Steve Lyons has a hunch that Alfonso Soriano will end up staying with the Nationals, and I think so, too. After looking at what the White Sox, Yankees, etc. have to offer in exchange, it just doesn't seem worth parting with such a superstar. The Nationals are apparently putting pressure on Soriano to sign a contract extension now, since he will have greater bargaining leverage after the season is over. Alfonso says, "I'm going to be the happiest man in the world when those two days are over." See MLB.com. Nats' GM Jim Bowden was sitting right behind home plate at Dodger Stadium for the game on Saturday.
One thing's for sure: The Nationals are prone to alternating hot streaks and cold streaks. After winning six in a row at home last week, they lost all three games at Dodger Stadium. Friday night was a blowout, 13-1, as Tony Armas lost control from the get-go, and some new reliever named Ray Corcoran (same family as the art gallery in D.C.?) did no better, but was left in to endure a grand slam and then some in the fourth inning. That oughta build character! In the next two games, the Nats took an early lead and then fell flat in the late innings.
Matt Warman thinks that the upper deck on the first base side of Milwaukee County Stadium was not extended to the foul pole until the 1970s, and after going through all my sources, I think he's right. More fact checking...
Brian Hughes calls attention to the fact that attendance at the Atlanta Braves-New York Mets game on Friday night set a record for Turner Field: 53,943. I noticed that, too. Nearly four thousand standing-room patrons!? Well, there is a lot of room on that plaza behind the bleachers, and behind the second deck near the left field corner... Too bad the Braves got swept by the Mets ...
I finally saw the movie For Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston, much of which was filmed in Yankee Stadium. Costner played an aging Detroit pitcher, and it's too bad they couldn't have made at least some use of Tiger Stadium to film it.