April 23, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Nationals start fighting back

The Washington Nationals finally got back on the right track last week, winning at least every other day until Saturday. The most gratifying wins were the extra-inning games against the Phillies last Wednesday (5-4 in 13) and against the Marlins on Friday (6-5 in 14). In the latter game, the Nats wasted a 5-0 lead, and Chad Cordero blew yet another save opportunity. The Nats' run scoring has improved markedly, but the biggest difference has been the quality of starting pitching. Oddly, however, John Patterson has not performed nearly as well as in the past couple years. In the final game at Florida on Sunday, the Marlins had a 10-0 lead at one point, but a ninth-inning grand slam by Ryan Zimmerman (his first home run of the year!) narrowed the deficit to semi-dignified six runs.

Red Sox sweep Yankees

What an embarrassment for the Bronx Pinstripers playing up in Fenway Park this weekend! Those scrappy Red Sox actually swept the Yankees, who have fallen to fourth place in the AL East. At least Alex Rodriguez is still on a roll, tying the major league record for the most number of home runs in April with 14. See MLB.com.How many more will he hit for the rest of the month -- and for the rest of the season?? We could be watching a historic year in the making, sports fans!

The mail bag: deleted???

Right at the end of a particularly hectic week for me, I experienced a rare e-mail glitch and for the moment at least cannot access many of the messages that were sent to me between January and earlier this month. So, if you were expecting a reply from me, you might want to re-send your original message. My apologies.

I received a message from Harry Swanson, author of Ruthless Baseball: Yankees Purified By Fire Stadium Construction. The main theme of the book is how Babe Ruth single-handed turned the once-struggling Yankees franchise into the titanic champions that we all (OK, some) know and love. But it has even more than that: "The reader will also be exposed to the most detailed account of the building of Yankee Stadium ever written from heated memos and cost over runs, to the make and models of the trucks used to carry materials."

Mike Zurawski has been studying the outfield changes at Tropicana Field, and is impressed by the new video board in right field. See a photo at sptimes.com. It appears that several rows of seats in right field have been eliminated by the video board and adjacent displays. Mike also tells me that the Cincinnati Red have added a seating section on top of the batter's backdrop in center field of Great American Ballpark. See a photo at webshots.com.