April 24, 2005
The Nats got revenge today (and averted being swept), beating the Mets by a resounding 11-4. They embarassed the heck out of Mike Piazza by stealing base four times, including twice by Vinny Castilla who went four for five, and is now batting .386, among the top ten in the majors. Last week Vinny set a new Major League record for consecutive errorless defensive plays at third base (272), but it came to an end on Friday. The streak began in July 2004, when he played for Colorado. Do the last-place Rockies regret letting him go? People said his high slugging marks were boosted by the thin air in Denver, but this veteran is for real. Career year? I'd like to know why the grass field at Shea stadium looked like a wet carpet today.
The Yankees got revenge on the Texas Rangers, meanwhile, but are still in last place in the AL East. The Orioles (!) are in first place. Something is seriously amiss here...
Speaking of the Orioles, there was a full-page ad in today's Washington Post by that franchise's Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, titled "NATIONALS FANS HELD HOSTAGE BY COMCAST." The open letter, signed by MASN VP Bob Whitelaw, accused Comcast (see April 22) of heavy-handed tactics, deception, and unreasonable litigiousness in the war over broadcast rights. The format and aggressive tone were both remarkably similar to an open letter in late March by a certain franchise owner who shall go nameless. MASN wants D.C.-area fans to know they're on our side: "We continue to work tirelessly to provide you with more Nationals baseball games in your home." On their terms, of course, and only after having done everything humanly possible to prevent the Nationals from ever coming to existence in the first place. Chutzpah on parade! I'd like to know why they are still blacking out Nationals games broadcast on TBS when the games are not yet available on cable TV.
Major league kudos to Rudi Riet for bringing to my attention what seems to be the best online source I've seen yet for satellite ground photos, sponsored by Google. He did all the necessary searching to nail down the coordinates for nearly all present baseball stadiums, and some long-gone ones, posted on hisRandom Duck blog. That's the kind of devoted, painstaking effort that warms the heart of any researcher. NOTE: You'll need updated browser software and plugins to use it, and my Safari version 1.0 wouldn't cut it. (I've been holding out for the next upgrade of Mac OS X, "Tiger.") Rudi pointed me to mozilla.org, from which I downloaded Firefox, which works very well. Many thanks, Rudi!
Responding to my recent post "Phantom fans and tax reform," Gary Dunaier of Flushing, NY (home of the Mets and site of the 1657 Flushing Remonstrance) offered a reason why someone might buy tickets without intending to use them: For their value as collectable souvenirs. Well, it's a free country and we can all spend our money pretty much as we see fit, but doesn't that practice result in fewer available seats for people who actually show up at the stadium? Do the ticket booth workers in most stadiums make a practice of selling standing room tickets toward the middle of a "sold-out" game if they know that a significant portion of the sold tickets aren't being used?
Today's Twins-Tigers game in Detroit was snowed out! Maybe a domed stadium there wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all. Actually, I saw a few snowflakes outside our window today. Weird...