Nationals go down fighting
After the Mets scored eight runs in the first three innings tonight, I was just about ready to call it a season, but when the Nationals finally got on the board with six runs in the seventh inning, I was convinced that this motley crew of immigrants from the Far North may just have some fight left in them after all. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Brian Schneider came through with a clutch 2-RBI double that almost cleared the fence in right center field. If it had been a foot or two higher, the Nats would have won the game. At least they went into extra innings. Cristian Guzman singled in the tenth and later advanced to third base with two outs, but then Nick Johnson swung at the first pitch and flied out. In the bottom of the tenth, pinch hitter Chris Woodward hit a grounder that just got by the shortstop Guzman (who seemed to lack hustle), and the winning run scored from second. Mets 9, Nats 8. It is hard to imagine a more anguishing outcome than this, which forces us to take refuge in philosophy: It is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all! Moral victory or not, this game at least restores some pride to the frustrated Nationals, making it more likely that they will stay in contention for the postseason at least into early September. The last-place Mets are now within a half game of the Nationals in the NL East, by far the toughest division in the majors.
Meanwhile, the NL West-leading Padres have beaten the Braves twice, climbing back to the .500 mark. I say again, there should only be two divisions in each league, and two wild card teams. The White Sox have now lost seven in a row, as the Yankees shut them out 5-0 this afternoon at U.S. Cellular Park. If the see-saw race between the Angels and the Athletics continues at this fervent pace, the AL wild card team may not come from the Eastern Division this year. The Indians and Twins are in contention for that spot as well.
I've redone the thumbnail images of the rest of the cookie-cutter "doughnut clone" stadiums to conform to the new standard. Rolling the mouse over the stadium names on the Baseball sitemap page reveals that a substantial majority of the thumbnail images are now properly aligned, which makes for much easier comparisons. While I was at it, I redid the full-size diagram of Tropicana Field as well, so it is now "up to standard." The Polo Grounds revisions, which involved more work, are almost complete.