Nats taste own medicine: Yuk!
What comes around, goes around. Eventually other teams were bound to figure out how to beat the Nats (otherwise known as the "One-Run Wonders") at their own game. Too bad it had to be nationally televised! Gleeful D.C. area fans now know how other teams must feel after losing close games to the Nationals over and over again. All three games against the Phillies were decided by one run. Actually, the Mets edged the Nationals on Wednesday and Thursday to take their series, 3-1. It's the first time since April that the Nats have lost two consecutive series, and yet they still lead the NL East by 2 1/2 games. I'm not complaining. Jose Guillen showed he is truly of All Star caliber in yesterday's game, hitting a long two-run homer and making a spectacular catch in right field after hurting his ankle on a foul tip. He's a real trooper, and I don't begrudge his high-spirited approach to the game. He was mad at Livan Hernandez for not retaliating after he was hit by a pitch thrown by Pedro Martinez last week, and did not play in the next game until the ninth inning, presumably as a disciplinary measure. As the Nats have plowed ahead to the top of the heap in the NL East during the first half of the 2005 season, I've started to wonder about how well all the teams that were relocated in years past have fared after arriving in their new cities. Stay tuned for a report on that...
Urban areas with multiple teams
One of the big unanswered questions related to the recent move of the Montreal franchise to Washington is whether the Baltimore-Washington area can support two MLB teams. Gary Gillette and Stuart Shea review the history of the San Francisco Giants - Oakland Athletics friction, which is often cited as bearing many similarities in terms of population and demographics. give a strong affirmative in 24-7 Baseball. The crux of their piece:
In both the Bay Area and in Baltimore, the historical trends have shown that winning baseball brings in fans. The novelty value of a new ballpark cannot be discounted, but new parks in most every major-league city aren't enough to maintain high attendance if a club doesn't win. While the Orioles are among tough competitors in the AL East, the club has won in recent years and clearly can do so again.
Look homeward, Mr. Angelos. The experience of the Giants and the A's in the 1970s and 1980s offers no guidance other an exhortation to play to win. The Orioles' wounds in recent years are self-inflicted, and Baltimore retains the resources to put a winning team on the field again whether it has a National League neighbor in Washington or not.
Will the presence of the Nationals hurt the Orioles? Somewhat; certainly the monopoly the Birds have enjoyed for decades is preferable, from their viewpoint, to having serious competition.
Is it likely that Baltimore and Washington will reprise the experience of Oakland and San Francisco from the late 1960s through the late 1990s? No. The factors that are similar are far outweighed by compelling reasons to believe that Washington and Baltimore have more than enough fans, TV households, and discretionary income to handsomely reward both franchises-assuming they put a good product on the field.
The Tiger Stadium page has been updated with six (6) brand new diagams, including a football version. That happens to be one of the stadiums that doesn't quite fit within the standard template, so there is a separate truncated diagram that appears on the Side-by-side page. Coincidentally, yesterday's New York Times had an article about the status of that homely but lovable old hulk of a ballpark, and the various proposals to restore it for posterity. [UPDATE: In my haste, I neglected to thank Bruce Orser for providing research assistance in preparing the Tiger Stadium diagram (especially the 1936 version), and for bringing to my attention the above-cited New York Times article.]