May 30, 2006
In Monday's Washington Post, Thomas Boswell noted how many home runs have been hit in Washington this year, contradicting last year's conventional wisdom that the park was too spacious for batters to hope to hit many four-baggers. Yet so far this year, Alfonso Soriano is tied for second in the National League with 18 home runs, 11 of which were at home. Even Jose Vidro, who has complained about the far-out fences in RFK, has hit two homers at RFK this year. Boswell also points out the recent blossoming of the starting pitchers into a first-class rotation, even without John Patterson, who will remain on the DL for another week or two. Veterans Tony Armas and Ramon Ortiz have fulfilled their latent potential, while rookies Michael O'Connor and Shawn Hill are far outperforming expectations. When you add power hitting plus ace pitching, it makes you wonder whether the Nats could become contenders for the postseason again this year after all. Ah, if only the Nats' bullpen could hold up... Speaking of which, in the Nats' 11-2 loss last night, nine of the Phillies' runs came after O'Connor had to leave the game with a bruised ankle in the sixth inning.
CITGO Petroleum Corporation has hired Miguel Cabrera, of the Florida Marlins, to serve as its spokesman in a marketing campaign. He was born in Venezuela, the government of which owns CITGO. See CITGO's press room. What they don't tell you is that Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez has often threatened to cut off oil supplies to the United States. In January CITGO reached an agreement with the Baseball Hall of Fame to raise public awareness of the contributions of Latino players to the sport of baseball; see baseballbeisbol.com. Perhaps baseball could also be a tool to promote understanding between Latin American countries and the "Yankee imperialist exploiters" whom Chavez routinely condemns. For a bit of background on the CITGO-Venezuela controversy, see my blog post from Nov. 25.
UPDATE: Now that the Minnesota legislature has passed the stadium funding measure, the Metrodome now has a (baseball) life expectancy of only four years. Also, I have reduced the likelihood of the Marlins relocating from 35 percent to 25 percent, and of the Twins from 10 percent to 5 percent.
David Black pointed out that the text on the Baker Bowl page mistakenly stated that the Phillies moved out of there in 1939, and a Marlins fan informed me that it was the Marlins -- not the Mets -- who won the final game played by the Montreal Expos in Olympic Stadium. Full coverage of that sad game is at MLB.com. Someone had told me it was the Mets, but he was probably confusing the final game of the season (in New York) with the final home game of the season (in Montreal). Corrections to those pages and the Oct. 4, 2004 blog post will be made ASAP.