Z-man's homer leads Nats win
After getting walloped by the Phillies the night before, you might have thought that the Washington Nationals would have given up hope. But you'd be wrong. Instead, they showed a resilient competitive spirit in the final game of the series at Citizens Bank Park yesterday afternoon. Scott Olsen pitched very well, holding the Phillies to only one run until the sixth inning, when they put three runs on the board. But no matter, the Nats came back with one in the seventh. Adam Dunn started off the eighth inning with his first home run of the season -- on the first pitch! Pudge Rodriguez took a walk, and then came pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman, who has been out for the past few days with a sore hamstring. On his second pitch, he lined a shot that just cleared the right field wall, putting his team on top, 5-4. In the ninth inning, Rodriguez batted in two insurance runs with a single, and they proved to be decisive, as Shane Victorino hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. But closing pitcher Matt Capps hung in there, and got the last three outs. Actually, he pitched for 1 2/3 innings to earn his fourth save, and the first save of his career that spanned two innings. See MLB.com. Well, that was certainly a huge relief for beleaguered Nats fans! Now they return to Washington for a ten-game home stand against the Brewers, Rockies, and Dodgers.
In Wednesday's 14-7 loss to the Phils, the score was actually close for most of the game, but Chase Utley hit two home runs, and Shane Victorino hit another one, as well as a triple. It's hard to compete with all that slugging power. The Phillies sure know how to take advantage of the short power alley distances at their cozy home field! The important lesson from that series is that the Nationals stayed in the game until the late innings. If they could just add a solid relief pitcher or two, it would make a lot of difference. Former Yankee Brian Bruney has not lived up to expectations thus far, but we'll see.
#42: Jackie Robinson
In eleven different ballparks yesterday, commemorations were held to mark the 63rd anniversary of the first major league game Jackie Robinson played. Every player in the majors wore his #42 jersey in his honor, which made it hard to keep track of who was who. At (New) Yankee Stadium, Robinson's widow Rachel and daughter Sharon were part of the ceremonies. See MLB.com. I think it is a wonderful thing that baseball has gone to such lengths to try to atone for the past sins of segregation. It was long overdue. At some point, however, such commemorations are going to seem a little hollow from excessive repetition. Let's not let a misplaced sense of guilt distort our sense of judgment about when enough's enough. OK?
Yankee Stadiums I & II
Speaking of history and Yankee Stadium, it was exactly one year ago today that the new Yankee Stadium opened for business. Even though the inaugural game didn't go very well (the Cleveland Indians won, 10-2), what counted was the year as a whole, as the Yankees went on to win the World Series for the 27th time.
Thanks to my friend Brian Vangor for sending along the following pictures of what remains of the genuine, original Yankee Stadium. I added the two photos below to that page (#32 and #33), along with a couple other new and/or edited photos. I'll have some corrections to the diagrams on that page in the next month or so. There's also a new batch of photos at demolitionofyankeestadium.com.