August 25, 2018
For some time, I have been pondering a graphical-based way to navigate among stadium pages, as a quicker alternative to the text-based Stadium lists page. One possibility was utilizing a map of the United States with thumbnail diagrams somehow stacked in each respective urban area, but I just didn't get very far. Then I tried putting thumbnails in some logical sequence, and ended up creating a "Periodic Table of Stadiums," which will look familiar to anyone who has ever taken a chemistry course. To my amazement, the pieces of the proverbial puzzle all started to fit together.
The basic idea behind this table is that geographic space is represented by the columns (left is west, and right is east) and time is represented by the rows -- but in both cases, I had to make compromises for the sake of expedience. It bears some similarity in concept to the Stadiums by class, which is largely chronological but not geographical. To get the stadiums to fit the "template" of the Periodic Table of the Elements, I had to combine Boston with Canada, and had to put four stadiums in places where there are no corresponding elements: League Park, Fenway Park, Colt Stadium, and the Astrodome. To add to the "educational value," the color coding is based on the actual Periodic Table of the Elements: Light Metals, Transitional Metals, Misc. Non-metals, Halogens, and Noble Gases. Note that I put Hydrogen in the Halogen column (VIIA), rather than in the Light Metal column (IA), as is conventional; otherwise there would be no room for all six Pennsylvania stadiums. The use of Baker Bowl as the default diagram displayed in the middle is partly because it was the most compact and therefore has the least obstructive effect on the other parts of the table, and partly because it was built in the 19th Century and almost doesn't belong with the rest of them.
This is the culmination of many hours of coding effort, and I hope it was worth it. Here's a screen grab to show what it's supposed to look like, or will look like in the near future. For the time being, stadiums whose diagrams are in need of revision have a red border around them, but those red borders will disappear over the next couple months or so. If anyone has problems with it, please let me know. Otherwise, enjoy!
Coming on the heels of an uplifting walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman (see below), the Washington Nationals had hopes for sweeping the It was an epic pitchers' duel in Washington on Thursday afternoon, after the Phillies' Aaron Nola narrowly prevailed over the Nats' Max Scherzer. The Nats' one big chance was in the second inning, when Spencer Kieboom hit a lead-off double. Max Scherzer laid down a fine sacrifice bunt that got him to third base, but then Adam Eaton struck out and Trea Turner lined out on the first pitch he saw. Max got ten more strikeouts, raising his season total to , but it was all for nought as one pitch he threw was just where Odubel Herrera was looking for it, and hit smacked that ball into the second deck in right field, scoring the only two runs in that game. What a shame.
Beginning a weekend series against the Mets in New York on Friday night, Gio Gonzalez bounced back from a poor start against the Marlins last week. I one of his best outings all year, he went seven full innings while only giving up one run. But that was all it took for the Mets to win, although they did tack on two insurance runs in the eighth inning. The Nats' one big chance was in the second inning, when Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto both singled, but then Matt Wieters flew out, Michael A. Taylor struck out, and Wilmer Difo popped out on a foul ball. And so, Gio's heroic effort was totally wasted; how pathetic. Final score: Mets 3, Nats 0.
And this afternoon, Tanner Roark put in yet another exceptional outing on the mound, striking out seven and only allowing one run and four hits over six innings. But the Mets' Zack Wheeler was slightly better, allowing six hits without any runs over seven innings. Time and time again the Nats had opportunities, and they just blew it. They had the bases loaded in the third inning with one out, but Anthony Rendon lined out and Juan Soto grounded out. They were one for eight with runners in scoring position. Juan Soto was tagged out twice at second base: once on a steal attempt and once when he tried to stretch a single into a double. That was in the eighth inning when they were behind 2-0, and one extra run didn't matter much. No excuse, even for a rookie. Same score as yesterday: 3-0.
And so, in spite of superb performances by starting pitchers in each game, the Nationals were shut out in three consecutive games for the first time in team (as opposed to franchise) history. According to the guys on MASN, that happened to the Montreal Expos in their final year, 2004. Tomorrow the Nats pin their hopes of avoiding being swept on starting pitcher Jefry Rodriguez, a rookie with a 1-1 record.
When I noted on Wednesday night that the walk-off home run by Ryan Zimmerman ("Mr. Walk-off") was his first one in more than three years, I really should have mentioned that it was the eleventh walk-off home run of his career. That is especially noteworthy, because Ryan is now only two behind the all-time leader in that category, Jim Thome! Six men are tied in second place with twelve such homers: Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Frank Robinson, and Babe Ruth. Two others besides Ryan have hit eleven: Tony Perez and David Ortiz. For the entire list, see MLB.com
I noticed that all of those listed with at least eleven walk-off homers are either Hall of Famers or (in the cases of Pujols and Ortiz) a Hall of Famer to-be. So what does that say for Ryan's chances of being inducted into Cooperstown some day?
And a final note about walk-off home runs: Cubs rookie David Bote, who stuck a figurative knife into the hearts of Nats fans when his two-out, two-strike bottom-of-the-ninth bases-load four-bagger won the game on August 12, did it again yesterday afternoon, as the Cubs beat the Reds 3-2 in 10 innings. Worth mentioning is that Daniel Murphy hit his first home run since joining the Cubs on Tuesday, and it put the Cubs ahead 2-1 in the eighth inning of that game. See chicagotribune.com and MLB.com.