September 11, 2009
In the Bronx on Wednesday night, Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig's record for total number of career hits as a Yankee, #2721. He had been in a 0-12 slump, possibly because of the psychological barrier he was facing. The hit, a single, came in the seventh inning, and the Yankees went on to beat the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2. See MLB.com. Fellow Yankee fan Brian Vangor was lucky enough to be one of the 45,848 fans present at New Yankee Stadium to witness the historic moment, and took this photo of the scoreboard display:
By the way, has anyone noticed that the Yankees have widened their lead in the AL Eastern Division over the past few weeks? With a win-loss record of 91-50 (.645), they are far ahead of any other team in the majors. It's hard to remember the last time the Bronx Bombers were playing so well so consistently. Maybe they'll get back into the groove of living up to their legacy this October...
Speaking of the Yankees, there are some great, highly accurate 3-D models of Yankee Stadium created by Rick Kaplan at digitalcentrality.com. That reminds me, I need to fix a few details in my (2-D) Yankee Stadium diagrams.
In Washington, the Nationals played fairly well but lost in the first two games with the Phillies this week. Last night, the visiting team scored twice in the first inning, a bad sign that they might get swept again. But in the third inning, they tied the game, 2-2, and two innings later a pair of home runs by Adam Dunn (#36) and Ian Desmond gave the Nats a commanding 8-2 lead. It was a perfect chance to give a rookie pitcher a chance to prove himself, but in the top of the ninth inning Zack Segovia let the bases get loaded and then gave up a grand slam home run to pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, making the score 8-6. Get that rookie outta there! So, in came closer Mike MacDougal, who gave up another run, and a Phillies runner made it to third base with only one out. I'm ashamed to say, I couldn't watch any more. Fortunately, veteran pitcher Ron Villone got the job done, as Ryan Howard grounded into a double play to end the game. Whew! The Nats' record for the 2009 season is now 48-92, almost the inverse of the Yankees' record.
I teach classes* in Lynchburg, Virginia, and on a bright and sunny day last week, I decided to stop by Lynchburg City Stadium, a.k.a. "Calvin Falwell Field," the home of the Lynchburg Hillcats, to take some pictures. The Hillcats are a single-A farm club of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and are in the Carolina League championship series right now. Last night, they beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 1-0, thereby evening the series, 1-1. If not for the threatening weather, I might have stayed to see a game there before heading home. The visitors had won the day before, 7-1. [Lynchburg set a franchise record for season attendance this year, totalling 164,913.]
Lynchburg City Stadium was originally built in 1939, on the top of a hill on what used to be the south end of Lynchburg. It was thoroughly renovated in 1978 and again in 2004, when it was officially renamed "Calvin Falwell Field." See milb.com and minor league ballpark expert Charles O'Reilly, who didn't like it so much.
Lynchburg is better known as the home of Thomas Road Baptist Church, where the late Rev. Jerry Falwell used to preach. It is no longer located on Thomas Road, but rather on the east side of town, next to the campus of Liberty University, which Falwell founded. (Contrary to what O'Reilly wrote, Calvin Falwell was Jerry Falwell's cousin.)
* The recent "back to school" rush explains the lack of diagram updates lately, in case you're wondering.