July 23, 2005
Hardly anyone expected the Nats to win with Roger Clemens pitching for the other side, but last night's 14 to 1 blowout inflicted upon them by the Astros surely must mark the low point of the season thus far. The Nats were only four runs behind when Clemens left the game after the sixth inning, and then their usually-reliable bullpen withered under the onslaught of Astros slugging. Thanks to the Diamondbacks' tenth-inning victory over the Braves, however, the Nats still cling to a tie for first place, so who's complaining? Interestingly, last night's 13-run margin of defeat equalled the total margin of defeat in their previous ten losses, an indication of how close most of their games have been.
According to foxsports.com, Jose Guillen and other Nationals players used a tape measure to check the measurements from home plate to the fences before the game on Friday. Guillen says his home run totals should rival those of Derrek Lee and Andruw Jones, but insists he isn't complaining. I've revised the RFK Stadium diagrams, which now show the 380-foot markers in their new proper location. On the televised highlights from last night's game, I could see the 380 mark on the left side of the GEICO sign in right center field, about 45 feet from where it used to be.
In today's Washington Post, Benjamin Forgey discusses some of the issues related to designing the Nationals' future home, emphasizing the desire by D.C. officials for an "iconic" stadium that will become a widely-recognized signature of the Nation's Capital in the new century. He compares various Olympic stadiums of recent years, and those planned for Beijing and London, noting that such oval shapes are not suited for baseball. (Obviously.) He calls for orienting the new baseball stadium so that the distinctive Washington skyline is visible in the outfield, and making it pedestrian friendly, integrated into the neighborhood, two of the key points I have argued; see my proposed new D.C. stadium. He fears that the scenic backdrop would eventually be blocked by new high-rise buildings along South Capitol Street, but city ordinances could control that. He also thinks that batters would be blinded by afternoon sun in such an orientation, but I don't think that would be the case if center field were straight north. I just hope the HOK architectural firm is creative enough to improve upon the recent stale imitations of Camden Yards.