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WANTED: Your photos!
I invite fans of this Web site to share any photos which they have taken of the major league ballparks. There are currently no photos on the pages for the ones listed below, most of which are no longer in existence. I would also be glad to include photos of stadiums that served as "neutral venues," or photos that are of better quality than the current ones...
- Baker Bowl
- Braves Field
- Candlestick Park
- Colt Stadium
- Comiskey Park
- Crosley Field
- Ebbets Field
- Exhibition Stadium
- Forbes Field
- Jarry Park
- Marlins Park
- Memorial Coliseum
- Metropolitan Stadium
- Mile High Stadium
- Milwaukee County Stadium
- Polo Grounds
- Seals Stadium
- Shibe Park
- Sick's Stadium
- Sportsman's Park
- Wrigley Field (L.A.)
Please Contact me (via e-mail) if you would like to share some of your "photographic memories" with other fans.
I always credit the original photographers, and am much obliged to the following people:
- John Minor
- Glenn Simpkins
- Paul Dimitre
- John Crozier
- Joe Johnston
- Brian Vangor
- Brian Hughes
- Mario Vara III
- Mike Zurawski
- Gavin Dow
- Marc Myers
- Phil Faranda
- Lonnie Spath
- Fritz Roberson
- Keith Kirkpatrick
- Edward Findlay
- Howard Corday
- William R Kooney
- John Mikulas
- Michael Hoecker
- Wayne Whitham
- Jeff Stark
- Bill Blake
- John Clem
This web site has no connection to Major League Baseball or any of its affiliated franchises. The information contained herein is accurate as far as the author knows, and the opinions expressed are his alone.
August 5, 2019 [LINK / comment]
Nats' slump continues in Arizona
The Washington Nationals' series in Arizona ended up exactly opposite of what had been expected: They won on the day when an emergency replacement pitcher was starting, and they lost on the days when two of their (usually) top-line pitchers were starting. After Joe Ross's disastrous outing against the L.A. Dodgers on July 27 (six earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in a 9-3 loss), his chances against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Friday seemed bleak. But somehow he rose to the challenge and only allowed one hit (and no runs) over 5 1/3 innings. The newly-reinforced Nats bullpen did not allow any further runs or hits, while Matt Adams hit a clutch 2-run single and Juan Soto hit a solo homer. Thus, the Nats won the series opener, 3-0. The Washington Post thinks Ross has earned a spot as the fifth man in the pitching rotation. With Max Scherzer still on the Injured List, that is of vital importance.
On Saturday, in contrast, Stephen Strasburg was pathetically ineffective, not at all the same guy who I saw pitch in Washington on July 28. The Nats scored twice in the first inning, but the Diamondbacks quickly tied it, and then they took a 3-2 lead in the second inning. The D-Backs kept piling on runs, and Strasburg was replaced before he could finish the fifth inning. in a desperation move, manager Dave Martinez had second baseman Gerardo Parra pitch in the eighth inning to save the precious, fragile arms in the bullpen. Parra gave up five runs without getting an out, after which Brian Dozier took the mound and soon gave up a home to Eduardo Escobar, his second of the night. Eventually Dozier got three outs. It was quite an embarrassment, and Anthony Rendon's three-run homer in the top of the ninth barely even mattered. Final score: D-Backs 18, Nats 7.
On Sunday, Patrick Corbin was pitching for the Nats, and somehow he could not get the job done. The Nats took a 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to a two-run homer by Gerardo "Baby Shark" Parra, but the D-Backs came right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Nats struggled to catch up and finally tied it 5-5 in the top of the sixth, and had the bases loaded with the pitcher up to bat. Much like in the game I saw a week earlier, when Stephen Strasburg hit a bases-loaded RBI single in the bottom of the sixth, I was amazed that Dave Martinez let Corbin bat rather than put in a pinch hitter. This time, it didn't work, as Corbin grounded into a force out to end the inning. Not only that (unlike Strasburg), he couldn't finish pitching the next half inning! It was a huge wasted opportunity that probably changed the outcome of the game, since Wander Suero (who relieved Corbin) gave up a two-run single. The score remained 7-5 until the end of the game.
Thus, as the Nats begin a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco, they are are tied with the Phillies for second place in the NL East, seven games behind the Braves. For the first time since May 23 (when they hit "rock bottom"), the Nats have only won three of the past ten games. For the first time since May 8, moreover, they have lost three series in a row. Time will soon be a bitter enemy of the Nats, as each game becomes more and more essential to win.
August 1, 2019 [LINK / comment]
Nationals fall short vs. Braves
The Washington Nationals had a golden opportunity to gain at least some ground on the Atlanta Braves in the race for the National League division title this week, but they just couldn't "get 'er done." In Monday's game, the Nats' #3 pitcher, Patrick Corbin, was up against Dallas Keuchel, the mega-star recently acquired as a free agent by the Braves. The Nats took an early 2-0 lead, but the Braves came back and tied it in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the inning, with the bases loaded and on a 2-0 count, Anthony Rendon calmly smashed the ball way up into the left field seats for his third career grand slam. He is simply amazing with his methodical approach at the plate, smacking balls every which way. That gave the Nats a 6-2 lead, and the only additional score was when Charlie Culberson hit a solo homer off Sean Doolittle in the ninth inning. Otherwise, the bullpen did their job efficiently and without angst, for a change.
On Tuesday the Nats were in a bind, since Max Scherzer went back on the Injured List, so Erick Fedde was given starting pitching duties. He did OK at first, and got out of a jam in the second inning (giving up just one run), but things fell to pieces in the third inning when the Braves scored four more. Since the manager Dave Martinez was determined to give his bullpen a rest, he kept Fedde in for another inning, and the Braves scored four more runs. Javy Guerra then came in as a reliever, remaining through the seventh inning, when the Braves scored two more runs. That made the score 11-1, but then the Nationals staged a comeback with seven runs in the last three innings, yielding a more respectable final score: 11-8.
That left the outcome of the series up to the series finale on Wednesday, and with Anibal Sanchez on the mound, the Nats seemed to stand a very good chance of prevailing. He got out of a jam in the second inning, only allowing one run, and when Juan Soto tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, the Nats' prospects seemed bright. But the Braves kept chipping away, and had a 4-1 lead after six innings. [Perhaps the decisive play in the game was in the bottom of the sixth, when Trea Turner doubled to the left-center gap. Howie Kenrick, who had just walked, was waved home by the third base coach Bob Henley, and was tagged out by at least five feet. With nobody out, that seems like a dumb move by the coach. Turner never scored either. In the eighth inning Matt Adams (who had rested two days after getting hit in the foot by a pitch on Sunday) hit a solo homer to right field, which was a big psychological lift.] In the bottom of the ninth, the Nats loaded the bases with no outs, and Kurt Suzuki came through with a clutch single to make it a one-run game. Gerardo Parra then grounded into a double play, tying the game, and Brian Dozier struck out, sending it into extras. In the top of the tenth Nats' closer Sean Doolittle gave up a home run to Josh Donaldson, a crushing blow. The Nats got two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the tenth, but neither Adam Eaton nor Anthony Rendon could get them home, so the Braves won it, 5-4.
That put the Nationals 6 1/2 games behind the Braves, and only 1/2 game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East. [The Nats went 15-10 for the month of July (see the Washington Nationals page), losing five of the last seven games, so their win-loss record is now 57-51 (.528) as they head to Arizona and then San Francisco.]
Nats beef up bullpen
On the final day of the summer trading season, the Nationals acquired three pitchers: Hunter Strickland (Mariners, 8.10 ERA), Roenis Elias (Mariners, 4.40 ERA), and Daniel Hudson (Blue Jays, 3.00 ERA). Strickland's numbers aren't impressive, but he is remembered in Washington as the guy who "beaned" Bryce Harper in 2017, starting a big brawl between the Nats and the Giants. In October 2014, also with the Giants, he became the first MLB reliever in history to give up six home runs in a single postseason. It seems to me that those modest acquisitions will do little (!) to change the Nats' bullpen situation. Overall, there weren't many big transactions this week, the main exception being the Houston Astros getting ace pitcher Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A few more photos
Here are some more photos from the game on Sunday that might be of interest.
Beyond the "Red Porch" and west parking garage at Nationals Park are new condominium buildings. The one on the left features small trees and a swimming pool [on the roof], while the one on the right is apparently in the final stages of preparation.
I later noticed in this photo of Walker Buehler walking toward the dugout after being replaced in the sixth, that none other than Clayton Kershaw was there.
Clayton Kershaw, in the dugout.
I noticed in some of the photos a tribute to recently-deceased Dodger Don Newcombe (see February 25) on the team's uniforms: the nickname "Newk" and the number 36 on their right sleeves.
With more and more accidents involving stray foul balls striking spectators in the lower decks of other stadiums, Nationals Park was one of the first ones to extend the protective netting most of the way down to the left and right field corners. It affects visibility only a little, and is on balance a positive development.
The recently-extended net down the first base line at Nationals Park.
From the position I was in, I couldn't get a good photo of Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, the TV announcers for Nationals games, but I had better luck with the radio announcers:
Charlie Slowes (left) and Dave Jageler (right), radio announcers for the Nationals.
July 29, 2019 [LINK / comment]
Nationals crush the Dodgers, avoid being swept
If there was one absolute must-win game for the Nationals this year, yesterday's series finale against the L.A. Dodgers was it. Having lost the first two games of the series (see below), the Nats desperately needed to avoid losing a fourth consecutive game as the NL East division-leading Atlanta Braves headed to Washington. The daunting challenge weighed heavily on my mind as I drove north and east toward Washington yesterday morning, but I was confident that with Stephen Strasburg as the starting pitcher, the Nationals had a very good chance of prevailing. I went for the first time with a friend named Matthew and his son Julian, and we parked on the south side of Audi Field, which opened as the new home of the D.C. United soccer team about a year ago. (I previously saw it in the latter stages of construction.)
Since the temperatures were expected to reach the mid-90s, we chose seats based on proximity and shade: the back of the second deck on the first base side. The location suited us fine, but I forgot about the restricted visibility. Indeed, we missed seeing a couple extra-base hits into the right field corner. I noticed that they are adding an extra level to the roofs on top of the parking garages (right center in the photo below), which will probably further reduce the view of the Washington skyline. The new condo buildings across N Street from those parking garages are open.
Nationals Park, in all its glory, during the first inning. (All photos in this blog post are from the Nationals-Dodgers game on July 28, 2019.)
Stephen Strasburg got off to a great start, striking out the first two batters and inducing a groundout by the third batter. The bottom of the first inning featured a dramatic moment in which Adam Eaton (the second batter) struck out and then complained to the umpire about the called second strike, which should have been ball four, and was promptly ejected from the game. Manager Dave Martinez then voiced his objection to the umpire, and he was ejected from the game as well! That probably helped boost the team's fighting spirit.
Adam Eaton walks away after striking out and being ejected from the game in the first inning, while Dave Martinez objects to the umps. He was ejected as well.
Neither team scored during the first four innings, and the Nats recorded the only two hits. In fact, Strasburg had a perfect game going until the fifth inning, when A.J. Pollock smashed a double into the left field corner. He later scored. But the Nationals bounced right back to take the lead in the bottom of the inning, with a hit by Gerardo Parra and a home run over the scoreboard in right field by Brian Dozier. [Each time Parra came up to bat, they played his theme song, the cute but intensely annoying "Baby Shark."] An inning later the Nationals unleashed a four-run rally on three singles, two walks, and an errant throw to home plate by the first baseman, Joc Pederson. I was amazed that Dave Martinez let Strasburg bat rather than put in a pinch hitter, since his pitch count was almost as high as the temperature -- in the nineties. But Strasburg hit an RBI single, validating the decision. The Nats scored four more runs in the eighth inning, giving them a ten-run lead, but the Dodgers made a token comeback in the ninth inning. Relief pitcher Michael Blazek gave up two walks, got two outs, and then a home run to Corey Seager. That made the final score slightly less lopsided: 11-4. In short, it was a wonderful afternoon of baseball in Our Nation's Capital.
Coincidentally, both starters threw exactly 100 pitches, but that is where the similarity ended. Strasburg got nine strikeouts [with no walks and just two hits] over seven innings, whereas Buehler struck out just three batters over five and a third innings. It's worth pointing out that Stephen Strasburg's superlative performance on the mound and in the batter's box yesterday was strikingly similar to the July 18 game, in which the Nats beat the Braves by the very same score: 11 to 4! It provides a nice margin of safety for the Nationals as their ace pitcher Max Scherzer deals with a lingering tight back.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Anthony Rendon hits an RBI single in the fifth inning; Stephen Strasburg throws his 100th and final pitch to Will Smith (who flew out) in the seventh inning; "Screech" celebrates the Nationals' 56th win of the year; Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger converge on a "Texas League" base hit by Anthony Rendon in the sixth inning; and Juan Soto "rehearses" (in the fourth inning) a home run that he would later hit (in the eighth inning).
I managed to get photos of a few of the new Nationals players, as well as Matt Adams, who played with the Nats for much of last year but was traded away before the game I saw in September. Miniature photos of them are now shown on the Washington Nationals page. I didn't get photos of others who did not play, however: Yan Gomes, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, or Fernando Rodney. And since Manager Dave Martinez was ejected early in the game, I never got a good photo of him.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Brian Dozier, Stephen Strasburg, Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Will Smith, Matt Adams, and Gerardo Parra.
Since the Atlanta Braves lost to the Phillies on Sunday, the Nationals regained one of the two games they had lost in the NL East standings, and are now 5 1/2 games in back.
On our way out of Nationals Park, I noticed a primitive-looking sign for a new craft brewery: Bardo's Beer Garden. Since it is located under the Frederick Douglass bridge, I assume the name Bardo is a play on the name of French actress Brigitte Bardeaux.
The first two games
In the first game of the series (mentioned in my Friday blog post), the Nats rallied to tie in the seventh inning and almost took the lead. But the Dodgers came right back in the eighth inning, as Justin Turner hit a three-run homer off Kyle Barraclough, who had just recently returned to the active roster and was obviously not ready for prime time. Another managerial goof by Dave Martinez, I'd say. The Nats rallied in the ninth inning, but still lost, -2. [CORRECTED]
The outcome of Saturday's game almost seemed like a foregone conclusion, as relief pitcher Matt Grace took the mound as a starter for just the second time in his career, [facing the legendary Clayton Kershaw]. To my amazement, he went two innings without allowing any batter to reach base. But for some strange reason, Dave Martinez replaced him with Joe Ross in the third inning, and all hell broke loose. The first batter he faced, young catcher Will Smith (not the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"), hit a solo home run, and three more Dodger runs scored in the fourth inning. Smith ended up with six RBIs in that game, almost single-handedly winning it for the Dodgers. Final score: L.A. 9, D.C. 3.
July 26, 2019 [LINK / comment]
Nats almost sweep the Rockies
The Colorado Rockies came to Washington on Monday to face an amped-up Nationals team that was hungry for even more victories. Unfortunately, the game was postponed because of forecast rain that -- as far as I know -- did not actually take place. This scheduling change put added pressure on the Nationals' roster and may have ended up costing them a game. The Rockies boast an impressive lineup of hitters, most notably their All-Star third baseman, Nolan Arenado. They also include two former Nationals: Daniel Murphy, who signed as a free agent after being traded from the Nats to the Cubs one year ago, and Ian Desmond, who spent a few years with the Texas Rangers. But the Rockies lack pitching (as a team they're tied with the Orioles for the highest ERA in the majors), and that was evident in the first game of the series on Tuesday.
In the Tuesday game, Trea Turner led off with a home run, and Adam Eaton also scored later in the [first] inning. In the second inning [Turner] hit an infield single, and in the fifth inning he hit a leadoff triple, but in neither case did those hits result in any scoring. In the seventh inning, when the Nationals staged an eight-run rally (!!), he hit an RBI double, thus completing the "cycle" for the second time in his career. (The first time was April 25, 2017; see the Washington Nationals page.) By amazing coincidence, [Turner's] previous cycle was also against the Colorado Rockies, but it took place in Coors Field. (Would that qualify as "recycling"? ) Stephen Strasburg pitched six scoreless innings and got his National League-leading 13th win of the year. Final score: Nats 11, Rockies 1.
In the first of two games on Wednesday, Erick Fedde only lasted four innings on the mound even though he had a low pitch count (79) and only gave up one run. Solo home runs by Adam Eaton and Anthony Rendon tied the game and took the lead, respectively, as the Nats held on to win, 3-2. In the nightcap game, Patrick Corbin had a scoreless six-inning outing, while the Nats took advantage of an error to score a run in the fourth inning. Yan Gomes added an insurance run with a homer in the seventh inning, and the Nats won again, 2-0.
The final game of the series on Thursday was much different. Max Scherzer was pitching for the first time since the All Star break, needing to rest a strained back muscle. He was doing fine until the fourth inning when -- you guessed it -- he gave up a home run with two runners on base. He stayed in through the fifth inning, and would have been exposed to a potential loss had it not been for a three-run homer by Anthony Rendon, tying the game. In the top of the sixth, Matt Grace lobbed an easy pitch to Ryan McMahon, who hit a two-run homer to retake the lead. But in the bottom of the inning, Gerardo Parra tied the game once again with a two-run double. Trea Turner then batted him in to give the Nats the lead. One inning later, a solo homer by Matt Adams gave the Nats a valuable insurance run. But an inning after that (the eighth) the former National Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer, and in the top of the ninth, another former National, Ian Desmond, did the same thing to tie the game. The Nats' bullpen was worn out and depleted, and manager Dave Martinez decided to let Fernando Rodney pitch even though he had pitched in both games on Wednesday, just like closer Sean Doolittle. Rodney obviously didn't have it, and the Rockies took advantage. Thus, the Nats blew a perfect opportunity to sweep the Rockies and draw to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Braves. (Does that scenario sound familiar?) Final score: Rockies 8, Nats 7.
Tonight the Nationals welcome the defending National League Champion L.A. Dodgers to Our Nation's Capital, a potential preview of a postseason matchup, if things continue as they have been. The game underway right now is close (LAD 1, WSH 0) but seemed to be a mismatch as far as starting pitchers go: the Nats' Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.80 ERA) faces Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-2, 1.71 ERA). Saturday bodes even worse for the Nats: it's Who Knows Who against Clayton Kershaw. Sunday's game offers the best hope for the Nats to win at least one game: Stephen Strasburg (13-4, 3.37 ERA) against Walker Buehler (9-1, 3.23 ERA). And barring some unforeseen contingency, I'll be there!
Stadium locations: all done!
I finished the Stadium locations page, adding map/diagrams for Montreal, Toronto, as well as Queens and Brooklyn, New York. The Queens map/diagram actually encompasses all of the current and past MLB stadiums in New York, since there isn't much else in Queens with which to compare the location of Citi Field and Shea Stadium, other than Arthur Ashe stadium, where the U.S. Open tennis tournament is played each September.
Abstracted map of [Queens and adjacent boroughs] of New York, showing where several stadiums are (or once were) located. Roll your mouse over the image to compare to the Brooklyn map/diagram.
Reorienting "The Murph"
Thanks to a tip from Angel Amezquita, I realized that I had the wrong compass orientation for Jack Murphy Stadium. Center field was not due north, as I apparently thought before, it was actually east-northeast. So, I corrected the directional compass for all the diagrams, but nothing else changed other than making the football gridirons with solid lines.
But wait, there's more! I have beefed up the "Coming Attractions" box on the right side of the baseball blog page, separating stadiums whose diagrams need to be updated from those I have not done at all. It also shows the remaining "site today" diagrams, and indicates that the map/diagrams are all completed. Once I finish revisions to the remaining stadium diagrams in the next few weeks, I'll get started on long-deferred stadiums -- various stadiums where special MLB games have been played in recent years (most notably, London Stadium), as well as the "antique" wooden ballparks from the turn of the 20th Century, such as Washington Park III in Brooklyn. I just learned for the first time that Washington Park was totally rebuilt with a concrete and steel grandstand when the Brooklyn Federal League franchise was born in 1914. [As you can see in the Brooklyn map/diagram, Washington Park IV] looks almost identical to Weeghman Park, home of the Chicago Whales during their two years of existence, and which later became transformed into Wrigley Field.
July 22, 2019 [LINK / comment]
Nationals conclude three-city road trip
The Washington Nationals entered the All-Star break with lots of momentum from their six-week hot streak (May 24 - July 7), but their subsequent road trip through Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Atlanta fell a bit short of expectations. The good news is that they went 5-4, but the bad news is that they failed to take advantage of the opportunity to gain ground on the division-leading Atlanta Braves.
No sweep in Philadelphia
Things got off to an excellent start as the Nats shut out Phillies in Philadelphia on Friday, July 12. Stephen Strasburg had to work around a few minor jams, but kept his cool and completed six innings unscathed. Victor Robles and Adam Eaton got clutch hits for the Nats, while the relief pitchers did their job in the 4-0 victory. On Saturday, Patrick Corbin gave up three runs to the Phillies over six innings, and the Nats were behind going into the ninth inning. That's when the awesome youngster Juan Soto knocked a two-run homer to give his team the lead and the win: 4-3. That ensured that the Nats would remain ahead of the third-place Phillies no matter the outcome of the Sunday game. Anibal Sanchez matched the performance of Corbin the day before (six innings pitched, three earned runs), and once again the Nats were behind in the latter innings. A pinch hit RBI by Howie Kendrick and another RBI single by Trea Turner in the seventh inning tied the game, 3-3. But in the bottom of the ninth, Matt Grace lobbed an easy pitch to Maikel Franco, who hit a solo walk-off home run to end the game. Thus, the Nats blew a perfect opportunity to sweep the Phillies.
Bad bullpens in Baltimore
After that brief "hiccup," the Nationals had every reason to expect to win both games against their regional interleague rivals in Baltimore. The Orioles had just lost three of four games against the Tampa Bay Rays, barely clinging to a .300 winning percentage. Rookie Austin Voth started as pitcher for the Nats (in place of the ailing Max Scherzer), and he did surprisingly well: only one run given up over six innings. Home runs by Matt Adams and Juan Soto put the Nats on top, and rallies in each of the latter four innings ensured an easy Washington victory, 8-1. But the next night, the tables were turned as the Nats bullpen wasted a fine outing by starting pitcher Erick Fedde (six innings, one earned run). In the seventh inning, the Orioles scored three runs off Wander Suero, who later explained that he was mentally distracted by some kind of family or domestic problem. Too bad he didn't tell the manager. Javier Guerra and Matt Grace allowed five more Baltimore runs to score in the eighth inning, as the Orioles got their revenge by the lopsided score of 9-2.
Showdown in Atlanta
With the sour taste of a loss in their mouths, the Nationals had to catch a late flight to Atlanta for a pivotal four-game series against the Braves. Once again, Stephen Strasburg rose to the occasion on Thursday night (July 18) with a spectacular performance on the mound and in the batter's box. He led off the third inning with a single, sparking an eight-run rally that was capped when he hit a three-run home run that sailed over the bullpen in left field. Strasburg thus became only the fifth MLB pitcher in the last 50 years to get two hits in the same inning, with one of them being a homer. Believe it or not!!! Final score: Nats 13, Braves 4. The next evening Patrick Corbin only made it through five innings, and would have been tagged with a loss were it not for some incredible heroics in the ninth inning. With two outs and facing a two-run deficit, Ryan Zimmerman hit a single and Victor Robles hit a bomb home run that tied the game, 3-3. Dance party in the Nats dugout! But manager Dave Martinez faced a bullpen dilemma in the bottom of the ninth inning: put closing pitcher Sean Doolittle on the mound in hopes of getting to the tenth inning a taking the lead, or have Fernando Rodney pitch for a second inning. (He's 42 and hadn't pitched two full innings for several years.) Obviously, he wasn't up to that challenge as he quickly loaded the bases and gave up an RBI single to end the game, 4-3 in the Braves' favor. Disheartening as that was, it didn't affect the way the Nats played on Saturday. Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe against the young phenom pitcher Mike Soroka, and came out ahead. Matt Adams homered, and Adam Eaton went three for five as the Nats won it, 5-3. That was only Soroka's second loss of the whole year; he's 10-2. On Sunday the Nats were in a predicament because Max Scherzer was still not available to pitch, and for some reason Martinez went with Joe Ross, who was called up from the minors. Ross has pitched with the Nationals for years, but has never quite gotten settled as a starting pitcher. Things looked bleak when he gave up two runs in the first inning, but then he composed himself and didn't give up any more runs until the sixth inning, when he was replaced. All in all, not bad. But the Nats' bats fell silent again, while the team's shaky bullpen gave up more runs in the late innings. A pinch hit RBI single by Gerardo Parra in the eighth inning was the only score by the Nationals. Final score: 7-1. Thus, the two rivals split the series two games apiece, and the Braves retained a 6 1/2-game lead in the NL East.
Back in Washington to begin a home stand, the Nationals prepared to welcome the Colorado Rockies to town tonight. The game was postponed because of forecast rain, even though there was no actual precipitation for at least an hour after the scheduled start time. That seems like another bad weather-related judgment call by the Nationals front office.
American League wins All Star Game
The American League team won the All Star Game at Cleveland's Progressive Field on Tuesday, July 9. It was the seventh year in a row that the AL prevailed in the Midsummer Classic. Most of the game was fairly subdued, with just one home run per team: Charlie Blackmon (COL) in the sixth inning and Joey Gallo (TEX) in the seventh inning. Final score: AL 4, NL 3. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) took the loss as Michael Brantley (HOU) hit an RBI double in the second inning, and the AL remained ahead for the whole game. No Nationals players appeared on the roster this year: Max Scherzer and Anthony Rendon both needed to let their sore bodies heal.
Attendance was a modest 36,747, probably the lowest of any All Star Game in many years. Seating capacity at Progressive Field dropped from 42,487 to 36,856 in 2015, as most of the upper-deck seats above right field and around the corner were replaced by a bunch of party decks. Beginning with 1988, the win-loss record in the Midsummer Classic is 27-6-1 in favor of the "Junior Circuit." I updated the Baseball chronology (annual) page accordingly.
Progressive Field thus became the first MLB stadium built since 1990 to have hosted the All Star Game more than once. When the ASG was held there in 1997, it was called "Jacobs Field." Four such stadiums have not yet hosted any All Star Games: Tropicana Field (1990), Citizens Bank Park (2004), Yankee Stadium II (2009), and SunTrust Park (2017). Tropicana Field is frankly not an attractive enough venue to merit All Star consideration. Philadelphia had hosted the All Star Game in 1996 (in Veterans Stadium), relatively recently, while Bronx, New York had hosted the All Star Game in 2008 (in the original Yankee Stadium). Atlanta will presumably get an All Star game in brand-new SunTrust Park before long.
Home Run Derby 2019
For obvious reasons, I wasn't paying as much attention to the Home Run Derby as I did last year, when Our Nation's Capital was briefly delirious with joy over the triumph of a (then-) hometown hero. Ironically, Bryce Harper (who is now with the Philadelphia Phillies) was absent from the annual spectacle this year. (Rather embarassingly, Progressive Field was adorned with big banners showing (among others) Harper, who was widely expected to be an All Star before the 2019 season got underway.) Triple Crown candidate Christian Yelich chose not to compete and was replaced by Matt Chapman (OAK). Rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) prevailed over Joc Pederson (LAD) in a tense and memorable "swing-off" tie-breaker in the second round. He then went up against Pete Alonso (NYM) in the final round, falling just short, 23-22. Congratulations, Pete Alonso!
I must admit, I didn't even know who Pete Alonso was, even though the Nats have played against the Mets several times this year. This points out one of the main benefits yielded by the All Star Game (and the Home Run Derby): it give top performers, especially young ones, visibility on the national stage. Alonso, I have discovered, is right behind NL-leading Christian Yelich and Cody Bellinger in the home run department, with 33. Not bad for a 21-year old rookie!
More stadium locations
I added map/diagrams for four more cities on the Stadium locations page: Phoenix, Denver, St. Petersburg, and Baltimore. I put extra effort into rendering the Denver Broncos' stadium, but I make no special claim to accuracy for football stadiums. I also added the locations of three additional football stadiums and two basketball arenas on the Atlanta map/diagram. I think it's more important to depict the location of stadiums that are near downtown and/or near other stadiums than it is to do so for stadiums in the far-out suburbs. Eventually I may reconsider how I handle far-apart stadiums in other cities such as Chicago and Miami. In any event, that completes the western U.S.A. and leaves only three cities in the east left to do: Montreal, Toronto, and New York -- with separate ones for Queens and Brooklyn.
To see previous blog entries, go to the Baseball archives page.