March 19, 2010
The Washington Nationals released right fielder Elijah Dukes and right-hand pitcher Logan Kensing, quite a shock to the team, but it's probably for the best. He hadn't been hitting well in spring training (going 3-20), and no other teams were interested in trading for him. Justin Maxwell and Willie Harris are readily available outfielders who can hit, joining Nyjer Morgan and Josh Willingham, who are expected to be regulars. See MLB.com. Dukes and Lastings Milledge were acquired from the Mets in December 2007, and were expected to become slugging stars once they had been given coaching support and discipline, but it just didn't work out that way.
There are some signs of improvement on the field, but the Nationals are still getting their revamped team in sync with each other. Jason Marquis got roughed up on Wednesday, giving up seven runs in the first two innings, as the Nats fell to the Astros, 11-2.
At Space Coast Stadium today, Stephen Strasburg gave up two runs in the first inning (the first runs he has given up this year), but settled down and was credited with a win after pitching four innings. The Nationals beat the Cardinals (split squad) 13-5, and are now 3-12 for the spring training season. There's nowhere to go but up!
In Chicago, workers are busy putting a new exterior on Wrigley Field, which is currently surrounded by scaffolding with less than three weeks before Opening Day. Evidently, the ramps and concourses in the grandstand will be exposed to the fresh air, with wire fencing to enclose them. See baseball-fever.com. On a more disturbing note, the new Cubs owners are negotiating with Toyota to put up a prominent billboard in back of the left field bleachers. See ESPN; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. Toyota??? As if the Cubs didn't have enough bad-luck jinxes already...
I made some minor corrections to the (Kansas City) Municipal Stadium diagrams, but you'd need a sharp eye to tell the difference. It mainly has to do with the profile, indicating the gradually sloping catwalk ramp to the upper deck. There were evidently no supporting or connecting structural members along those catwalks, and fans walking along them must have gotten vertigo on the way up! Note that the upper deck in the diagram profile is not a simple triangle, as in most diagrams, but reflects the absence of horizontal structural beams and the open-air configuration of that deck. Here is an enlarged profile: