Nationals clobber the Rockies
The change of two time zones and a gain of 5,000 feet in elevation did nothing to slow the momentum of the Washington Nationals, who unleashed a torrent of slugging power in Denver last night. Right from the start they were in control, as Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer in the first inning. But wait, there's more! Z-man upped the ante with a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Just one day after Roger Bernadina hit two home runs, Zimmerman did the same thing. Unfortunately, starting pitcher John Lannan faltered in the bottom of that inning, giving up four runs to the Rockies. Manager Jim Riggleman didn't want to put his team's lead at risk, so he brought in Miguel Batista. It's a shame that Lannan couldn't even finish five innings with a six-run lead; he could have used the win. It was 7-6 going into the eighth inning, when the Nats exploded with a seven-run rally, capped by Cristian Guzman's bases-loaded triple. I was dismayed when they brought in Brian Bruney in the bottom half of the inning, fearing the worst, but he not only held the eight-run lead, he got all three batters out. After that, the drizzle turned into steady rain, so they halted play and eventually called it after eight innings. Final score: 14-6, the first time the Nats have scored in the double-digits this year. They are now 20-15, just one game behind the Phillies!
Here's an interesting factoid: In four of their first five years in Washington, the Nationals scored ten or more runs in exactly three games through mid-May. In 2007, they did not reach the double digits in any game until May 31.
Another interesting factoid: According to my records, this was the first rain-shortened game in which the Washington Nationals have scored ten or more runs. I was at the Nats' first rain-shortened game on April 30, 2005 -- the only such game they ever played at RFK Stadium!
Nationals' rain-shortened games
|Date||Wash. score||Opponent||Opp. score||# Innings|
Stadium boom has ended
Whenever I get a news tip from both Mike Zurawski and Bruce Orser, I know it must be important. Indeed, the article by Charles Lewis Sizemore at benzinga.com -- "The Boom In New Sports Stadiums Has Finally Ended" -- is definitely worth reading. He focuses on the economic angle, noting that the boom which was initiated by the Orioles at Camden Yards in 1992 "soon took on a life of its own, eventually reaching speculative excesses every bit as absurd as the 2000s Florida housing bubble and the 1990s 'dot com' mania." Since then, about two-thirds of all baseball and football teams, and an even higher percentage of basketball and hockey teams, have had new stadiums or arenas built for them. He argues that the trend toward luxury accommodations had its origins in the "gentrification of American society spearheaded by the Baby Boomers and Generation X." He mocks Jerry Jones's overwrought Cowboys Stadium as a "monument to hubris." Indeed.
Sizemore also observes that in most cases, the new structures were mostly paid for with taxpayer funds. (I would like to point out two notable exceptions: AT&T Park -- formerly Pac Bell Park -- in San Francisco, and the Verizon Center in Washington.) He points out that the two remaining MLB teams hoping for a new stadium (Tampa Bay and Oakland) are located in states with severe budget crises. It's good to keep in mind that the great architectural renaissance in baseball (and other sports) has been a mixed blessing. What just happened in The Bronx is a perfect example.