April 19, 2009
I bet Joe Girardi knows what General Custer must have felt like at the Battle of Little Bighorn. So there I was watching TV on Saturday afternoon, all excited to watch the first nationally broadcast game at New Yankee Stadium, and things started off on a good note. Mark Teixera hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. Yes! Then pitcher Chien-Ming Wang suffered a total collapse, getting yanked in the second inning after he gave up eight runs, followed by a hapless rookie relief pitcher named Clagett, and the Marlins racked up 14 runs in that inning alone. Welcome to the Big Leagues! The onslaught continued for the rest of the game, and the final score was an unbelievable 22-4. I forced myself to watch the entire hideous meltdown; I must be a masochist.
Fortunately, the Yanks came back with a win today, 7-3, but it's still going to take a while to live down that awful game on Saturday.
My fears that New Yankee Stadium would turn out to be a slugger-friendly "band box" like Shibe Park are turning out to be true. They really need to expand the outfield dimensions next year...
And if that disaster wasn't enough, the Washington Nationals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on three consecutive days, losing in the most aggravating way you can imagine. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Nats were ahead of the Marlins going into the ninth inning (2-1, 6-3, and 4-3), and then fell apart. On the first two days the Marlins came back to tie it in the ninth, as Joel Hanrahan blew consecutive save opportunities, after which the Marlins won in extra innings, 3-2 and 9-6. Today, Saul Rivera blew the save, as the Marlins managed to turn a probable 4-3 loss into a 7-4 win. Well, you have to give them credit for knowing how to win; they are 11-1 right now, the best record in the majors. It was an appalling performance by the Nationals' bullpen, but the batters kept failing to take advantage of run-scoring opportunities, so there is plenty of blame to share.
All in all, I'm in a real piss-poor mood right now.
Not long after it was announced that negotiations would be suspended until the end of the season, the Nationals have reached a long-term contract agreement with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. See MLB.com. In the absence of a general manager since Jim Bowden resigned last month, team president Stan Kasten is filling that role. The Washington Post reports that it's a five-year contract worth $45 million, but we won't know for sure until Monday. That's not an exhorbitant price, but in today's economy it is generous enough to convey respect and appreciation for everything Zimmerman has contributed, and everything that is expected of him in the future. Zimmerman had an off-year in 2008 (as did the entire team!), but after a slow start, he is starting to hit consistently this year.