August 29, 2009
Almost two weeks to the day after I made a whirlwind visit to the Gateway City of St. Louis, the Washington Nationals arrived. The Cardinals have a virtual lock on the NL Central Division title, and are a daunting opponent. Nevertheless, the Nats had reason for hope, just having completed a successful series in the Windy City of Chicago. Indeed, their starting pitcher John Lannan bounced back from recent poor outings, going eight solid innings during which he gave up only four hits and two runs, one of which came in the eighth inning. It was a spectacular performance, but as has so often been the case this year, one part of the team didn't support the other part, and all the Nationals batters could manage was two runs. So, they were tied with the Cardinals going into the bottom of the ninth inning, whereupon Jason Bergmann was called to relieve Lannan. (The team's regular closer, Mike MacDougall, was allowed to rest, as a reward for his superb recent saves.) Unfortunately, the very first batter Bergmann faced, Albert Pujols, then hit a walk-off home run, deflating the Nats' hopes of a minor triumph.
Playing for the Nationals at second base was Pete Orr, who is filling the roster vacancy left by Nyjer Morgan, who will be out for the rest of the season. Orr literally "stepped up to the plate," getting one of the only two RBIs for the Nats.
Slight change of plans: I was hoping to finish the Kauffman Stadium diagram revisions by today, but since the Nationals are playing this weekend on the other side of the state, I decided to update the Busch Stadium III page with four of the photos I took there during my hasty "drive-by" visit there two weeks ago. I was in a hurry that afternoon (about 2:30), hoping to make it to Cincinnati in time for the evening game between the Reds and the Nationals, but without success. I should have spent more time in St. Louis, I guess.
The above photo reminded me that there has been quite a coincidence between the sites chosen for the annual All Star Game, and my visits to those stadiums: three times in the very same year, and four times either a year before or after.