May 16, 2008
Thanks in no small part to the amazing -- dare I say miraclous -- horizontal dive catch by Willie Harris of a fly ball hit in the ninth inning by Ryan Church down the left field line, the Nationals held on to beat the Mets, 1-0. Several commentators said that catch was the "play of the year" -- so far. The lone RBI in the game was a sac fly in the eighth inning by Felipe Lopez, allowing Jesus Flores to score. The Nationals also won on Wednesday night, 5-3, as Tim Redding got his fourth win of the season. Against all odds, the Nats took three of four games up in New York, hopefully getting their season back on the right track again.
I checked my records, and found that the Nationals have had much better success against the Mets in Shea Stadium than at home. Remember when they swept the Mets up there in late September last year? I'm sure the Mets remember -- they got knocked out of the playoffs! From 2005 until the present, the Nats have a 19-14 record against the Mets when playing in New York, and a record of only 8-22 when playing at home in Washington.
And so, in honor of the Mets' aging, soon-to-be-retired home, which has been so friendly to the Nationals, I have updated the Shea Stadium diagrams, adding lights and other details. Note that I have lowered my estimate of the total diameter of the stadium by about 40 feet, which works out to about seven rows. Basically, there is more overhang by the middle and upper decks than I had realized, so they are a bit more "squeezed together" than I had thought.
Watching the Nats-Mets games on TV (MASN!) was a great opportunity to see the construction progress on Citi Field, which looms menacingly over Shea Stadium's left-center field. The west side of the new structure is only twenty or so feet in back of the center field black screen.
UPDATE: For some great photos of Shea Stadium and Citi Field, see baseball-fever.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski.
Nick Johnson hurt his wrist the other day, and after an MRI test, it was found that he has a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist. He is expected to be out for four to six weeks, but has been put on the 15-day disabled list, presumably in case he heals faster than expected. The Nats really need him, as he is one of the highest on-base percentages on the team, mostly because of his ability to draw walks. (Patience!) See MLB.com. Coincidentally, the man who replaced him at first base last year, Dmitri Young, is just coming off the DL. In any case, Aaron Boone has been playing extremely well -- both as backup first baseman, and as a batter at the plate. It's another example of how the Nationals have acquired one of the deepest rosters in all the majors, with multiple solid players at almost every position. It's just too bad some of their first-stringers can't perform at All-Star levels on a consistent basis...