October 30, 2023
What were you doing the night before Halloween four years ago? I'll never forget being nervously glued to the tube at my friend Peter's house watching Washington Nationals bounce back and beat the Houston Astros by a score of 6-2. To commemorate the Nats' glorious triumph in the 2019 World Series, I thought it would be appropriate to display this selfie photo taken when I saw the Nats play the Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 13. (I previously posted this photo on June 28.)
One of the greatest sluggers in Washington baseball history, Frank Howard, passed away early today -- fittingly, on the fourth anniversary of Washington's first World Series victory since 1926. The 6'7" athlete began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers but was traded to Washington in 1965. While in a Senators uniform, "Hondo" set many records for the longest home runs hit at RFK Stadium. The Senators moved to Texas and became the Rangers (!) in 1972, but he was traded to the Detroit Tigers, and he retired one year later. He ended up with 382 home runs and a .273 batting average. I was lucky to get to meet him at a Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention in Washington in August 2009. Among his greatest career accomplishments, from May 12 through May 18, 1968, he hit ten home runs in 20 at bats! In August 2016 he was honored by having his name added to the "Ring of Fame" in Nationals Park, and you can see a statue of him at the southwest entrance to the stadium.
The Arizona Diamondbacks put a damper on the Texas Rangers' spirits in World Series Game 2 on Saturday night, trouncing the hosts 9-1. Rangers' pitcher Jordan Montgomery took the loss, after giving up a home run to Gabriel Moreno and two doubles to Tommy Pham, who went 4 for 4 before being replaced. Then the two teams packed their bags and flew from Arlington, Texas (presumably Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, about 7 miles north) to Phoenix, Arizona. In the second inning of Game 3 tonight Max Scherzer got in a bit of trouble, but he escaped unharmed. He had to leave after three innings however, because of back tightness. It sounds like the same thing that prevented him from pitching in Game 5 of the 2019 World Series. His team staged a 3-run rally in the top of the 3rd inning, capped by a Corey Seager home run. That was all the Rangers would need, as the D-backs failed to score until the 8th inning, and Texas won, 3-1. That makes nine (9) consecutive road victories for the Rangers in this postseason, setting a new MLB record! In home games thus far this month, however, their record is 2 wins and 4 losses.
As is my annual custom, I present the home ballparks of the two World Series teams, for easy comparison. About the only thing the two stadiums (Globe Life Field and Chase Field) share is having a retractable roof.