Looks like we made it!. (a nod to Barry Manilow).
Atlanta @ Washington
Opening day is still playing in Washington DC at brand new Nationals Park, where Nick Johnson first doubled-in the very first run, then scored the second himself, “with a back door slide” home in the first inning, without a pause to think about IT — IT being the reason the rest of us were cringing as we listened, the femur we heard him snap last year.
First hit: Christian Guzman
First run: Nick Johnson doubled-in Christian Guzman
First HR Chipper Jones (Atlanta)
First Walkoff HR Ryan Zimmerman, bottom of the 9th!
Notable Tim Hudson (Atlanta) retired 19 batters in a row (after a wobbly 1st inning)
UPDATE: 1st CURLY W in Nationals Park
Nationals 3 Braves 2
Charley Sloes called ’em:
“Bang Zoom He’s done it again! The Zman on opening night at Nationals Park in the bottom of the !”
“We said it at the start folks. Remember where you are folks, so you remember where you were, when the Zman.ended opening night in Nationals Park history with his 4 walk off home run…in as dramatic a fashion as you could ask for….”
He blurted it, like a boy opening his best birthday present, in front of everyone. (He was about to turn 48, and has just done so.)
"This is going in my bedroom. Right over the bed."
Instinctively, immediately, he wanted to sleep under a photograph with breadth that would stretch panoramically across the bed, as the sky that night had swagged Tiger Stadium and hovered, encouragingly, over our seats on the Front Porch. These were terrific seats, which he had somehow sniffed out as we walked toward Michigan and Trumbull to sold-out Tiger Stadium, where he had himself once suited-up, and where after this night the still-inconceivable no one would.
We almost never got there. An apparently convincing phone call to him at his Mother’s, made from Lenox Hill Hospital, where my only friend-with-child had just given birth, worked. On a hospital payphone, I learned that he was too tired, had too much to do, that the game didn’t matter so late in the season, etc. Then, he changed his mind. I should ask him if he remembers exactly why, because this is not a common occurrence. We agreed to meet in an outdoor smoking area on the boarding level, if I remember right. Seven serious-sounding words from one late-arriver to an even-later-arriver still echo: "Now, Sharon, I do not miss airplanes." arriving from different states, we made the plane.
What a gift to me was his reaction — regardless of whether his girlfriend asks him to put the photograph somewhere else. These were not feelings I had even hoped to touch in him or myself. In fact, I am glad for my innocence, as I am not sure I could have brought myself to give him this photograph knowing how stirred he and I would be.
I will not try to break someone up, yet also not be will not be dishonest about my own feelings. Now, what good is this? Well, something good happened on his birthday, whatever it was. I do not require definitions and stats for every play every day.
That is another episode of Marc and me, and as usual, that’s baseball.
Thanks, Gremse, as always. We know you’re watching.
RARE VIDEO OF EXTENDED STEVE TRACHSEL INTERVIEW before Game 3 of the 2006 NLDS, against his and my own hometown childhood team, the late 70s and early 80s Los Angeles Dodgers, when he rooted against his manager Willie Randolph, who was then 2nd baseman for those foes the New York Yankees.
Trachsel Workout Day Interview If this doesn’t work, try the link below:
Trachsel Workout Day Interview Look under OCTOBER 6 and click.
He has not been to a postseason game at Dodger Stadium since he was 10 or 11, and now he’s working for a recent Yankee on a team that was built in 1962 to fill the hole left in the souls of Brooklyn Dodger Fans, New York Giants Fans too. The team of orange and blue. That’s Baseball. (I miss Mark Gremse. No question where he would stand on this match-up, though, even if I was his favorite LA Dodger fan. Oddly, there might be a healing circularity in pulling for Trachsel, who, as a Cub in 1998, knocked out his beloved Giants in that one-game playoff to get to the NLDS. Two stories go with that, and they are here and here.)
Links to the YES Network’s Jim Kaat Tributes:
Calling It a Career, and more
- When the YES Network booth crowds up with Kay, Kenny, and Oh-Mercer, and you can’t figure out how you could possibly be missing anyone’s voice, it will be Jim "Kitty" Kaat’s that you are straining for. His sharp, well-timed explanations of pitching strategy and execution has reminded us that baseball is a skill and an art to be appreciated, and that we "pay" all these people because they have specialties the others do not know about.
Time to make it formal. Turn the TV volume off. Turn on John and Suzyn on WCBS AM. The timing will be a little off, but we will know the score and get some analysis at least. Suzyn lacks the insight of a player and could use a mentor like Mr. Kaat. Meantime, she out-schools the bunch in the big Yes broadcast box in the sky.
- We’ll miss you, Kitty. Meow, baby, as Kojak would say. Good luck, and please do not be a stranger. Stop by the WCBS booth if you get a chance.
OK, you A-Rod haters, remember where you were when the symbol of Yankee excess finally hit in the clutch and won a game, in dramatic fashion, at that. Starting June 28, 2006, you will have to find a different player to boo with such vehemence. I suspect most of you are Mets fans anyway. You just don’t know what to do with yourselves now that the Mets are doing so well, do you?
I mean no offense to fans of the Mets who genuinely feel for their team. In fact, I consider myself a fan of the Mets, and after a game at Shea, I frequently end up arguing with a "Met fan" on the 7 all the way back to Manhattan, defending the hometeam we just saw. Seems like the only team they hate more than their own is the Yankees.
I think there is a group of A-Rod haters from Shea. who comprise a sub-species of fan, an alleged "diehard Mets fan." As soon as Piazza went to the Padres and Beltran started hitting, they panicked, dove into the river, and started swimming uptown. By the time they got to The Bronx, poisoned by the chemicals and whateverelse they took in as they swam, A-Rod was too easy a shot to miss.
It’s not that the rest of us didn’t have anything to say about A-rod, by the way. I have revelled in the titles that Marc Marc has bestowed upon him, such as K-rod and E-rod. I am among the many who have chosen A-Rod’s 2-out at-bats to start for the concession stands. (We didn’t miss anything, did we, fellow comrades-in-line? Except those of us whose hubris tempted our attention away from the field on the 28th….) I shouldn’t be upset that he watched his winning homerun sail out of the park before running to first, right? He knew it was going. He needed to know. It won’t happen again. He’s no Soriano. Right?
If you must convince someone else or simply remind yourself that it is true, that A-rod won a Yankee game with a walk-off homerun, enjoy this video highlight from MLB.com, featuring Michael Kay’s famous "See ya!" to the homerun gone. Link: New York Yankees : Video : Yankees Top Plays Archive.
Esteban Loaiza 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in first 2 starts off DL But what happened in Colorado last week, in his 3rd healthy try this season? Many Athletics were critical of the unusual way their interleague balls traveled in Coors field, citing not the altitude, but, rather, the effect of the MLB-sanctioned humidor in which the balls sit before the game in order to counter the effect of the altitude. Loaiza was no exception. Let’s hope that was it.
The Red Legs have been coming along for a couple years now, especially in pitching. Take a look at RHP Aaron Harang,a starter who has been lowering his ERA with the Reds for 2 years.
Last year, over a career-high 211 innings, it was 3.83 despite a W-L
record of 11-13 — the latter a product of the young line-up, no
doubt. In his 2 innings yesterday, he outpitched Boston’s Bronson
Arroyo with 0 ER’s to Arroyo’s 5 over 3 innings, all of which were
scored in the first. Among the 7 batters Harang faced were historical
over-achievers Coco Crisp, Tony Graffanino, Trot Nixon, and Manny
Ramirez, and he held them to a single hit. To be fair, Arroyo (0-2 in
3 starts, 17.55) seems to be having a rough spring. On paper, his 2nd
and 3rd innings look more characteristic of him, with no runs scored,
but Arroyo uncritically attributes the difference only to "luck,"
saying that his pitches just happened to get popped up after the 1st.
I share his manager Tony Francona’s reluctance to get worked up about
Arroyo’s pitching so early in the spring. On the other hand, I would
be concerned about his somewhat lackadaisical appraisal of the
distinction between his first inning pitches and those that followed.
That is, I would be concerned if I were not basking in mild
complacency about the threat that this Yankee nemisis seems to be
posing, for the moment.
Consider another young ace, the bait for a much-bemoaned 2003 trade
for the Yankees’ post-season lucky charm-to-be, third-baseman Aaron
Boone: lefty Brandon Claussen,
who was then setting the air afire at AAA-Columbus (1.36 in 6 starts,
following 1.64 in 4 A-Tampa, the latter following a rapid-fire 10-month
recovery from Tommy John surgery). He had already set Yankee hearts
aflame when he came up for his MLB debut to pitch 6.1 winning innings in the second game of a subway-style doubleheader against the Mets at Shea.
Two weeks later, after Claussen had gone back down to Columbus, George
Steinbrenner set the stage for a future acquisition (care to guess, anyone?!) that would leave
Yankee fans speechless (not a frequent occurence). Oh, the dampening of those fiery Yankee
hearts! Not only did we lose Claussen (and soon after, another lefty, fan favorite David Wells, who would be insulted into leaving his second tour with New York for hometown San Diego after being offered a minor league contract — yes, a story goes with it — this is not that story) — but also the first half of our switch-hitting third baseman "Robin Zeile." who was sent to Los Angeles for Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby in another part of this contortionist multi-team deal. Rumor had it that the whole tangle was really about blocking Boston from acquiring a certain Expos pitcher…any ideas?! I longed for company, for historical context, for character, for, yes, Mike and the Mad Dog. Indeed, the Yes Network reliably kept the camera on Mike Franscesa as he poured his baseball soul dourly into the microphone on the WFAN radio talkshow…. —to be continued later on today.