Nationals in first place!
Between May 17 and May 30, those bleak "trying times," the Nationals scored more than three runs in only one game. Since May 31 (when I was there, coincidentally) they have scored more than three runs in all but one game, which is why they swept the Marlins in a three-game home series and have taken sole possession of the lead in the NL East! Amazing but true. Today's hero was Ryan Church, named rookie of the month for May, who hit a three-run homer to take the lead in the eighth inning. Over 40,000 fans were at RFK for the fifth time this season.
Surprisingly, the Phillies have been even hotter than the Nationals lately, winning nine of their last ten, and climbing from last place into third place. The Marlins and Mets now share the "cellar," but they're only 1 1/2 games behind the Nats in that extremely competitive division. In the other five MLB divisions, in contrast, the second place team is at least three games behind the division leader, and in four of those divisions, the last place team is 14 or more games behind the leader.
Meanwhile, the Yankees' fortunes have taken another decided turn for the worse, as they have lost seven of their last eight game, plunging to fourth place in the AL East. Cold streak, hot streak, cold streak... Derek Jeter has been suffering from a chest cold, which probably explains his batting slump.
The text on the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium page has been corrected thanks to Christopher K., who refreshed my all-too-fallible memory of the 1996 World Series. A new visitor named Alan recalls the pleasing smell coming from the nearby Wonder Bread bakery when he went to baseball games in Washington in the 1950s: "The aroma to me was as much a part of Griffith Stadium as was Roy Sievers."