August 7, 2006 [LINK]
Gorgeous day at Camden Yards = Nightmare for Yankees
Wouldn't you know it? The day I finally go to see a game at Camden Yards, officially ending my "boycott" after all these years, the team I was rooting for gets shut down cold. There must have been at least as many Yankees fans in the stadium as Orioles fans on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, as the game was completely sold out, with nearly 1,000 "standing room only" fans. Jacqueline and I were sitting in the front part of the upper deck near the left foul pole. Some guy in back of us kept yelling "Yankees suck!" and finally got ejected by the usher, but the way the New York team was playing on Saturday, quite frankly, it would be hard to argue with him. We got to our seats just after Bobby Abreu got a single in the top of the first inning, and for the rest of the game, there were no further hits by the Yankees! What a disgrace. Well, let's give credit where credit is due: Orioles rookie Adam Loewen threw eight strikeouts in six-plus innings. [Two of those were to Abreu, who struck out a third time in the ninth inning. The Yanks'] starting pitcher Mike Mussina (a former Oriole) got pummeled in the second inning, and was lucky that only three runs scored. In the two games I've seen the Yankees play, they have scored a total of one run; at least they won the first time.
Ironically, the Yankees had just taken the lead in the AL East for the first time in at least two months. The Yankees did win their other two games in Baltimore, and on Sunday four of them hit home runs: Jeter, Giambi, Damon, and Cabrera. Heck, I would have been satisfied to see just one Yankee homer...
As expected, I was indeed impressed by the architectural beauty of the Orioles' home; it's reputation is well deserved. I've added the above photo and a couple others to the Camden Yards page, and hopefully more will come. Unfortunately, however, I did not take any photos from inside the ballpark. I plan to tweak the Camden Yards diagram slightly in the near future as well.
Nats end road trip
In spite of two more homers by Ryan Zimmerman (one of which reached the upper deck in left field), and one by Alfonso Soriano, the Nationals managed only one win in their series against the Padres in San Diego. They won three and lost six while in California. Tomorrow they face the Marlins back home in RFK Stadium, hoping to pull ahead of the slumping Braves and get out of the cellar, where they have dwelt since the Fourth of July.
You can call them Rays
Photos of the new aquarium tank featuring live rays can be seen via MLB.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. While at the Baltimore aquarium before the game on Saturday, I learned that there are two categories of rays: fast-moving ones that flap their wings like birds, and slow-moving ones whose wings make a rippling motion.
UPDATE: Livan is traded to Arizona
I thought the passing of the waiver-clearing deadline meant that the Washington Nationals' roster would remain stable until year end. Not! Livan Hernandez has been traded to the Diamondbacks for two young prospects: right-hander Garrett Mock and left-hander Matt Chico. See MLB.com, which does not explain how Hernandez cleared waivers so quickly. And so, yet another former Montreal Expo parts company with the transitioning franchise. That's a real shame. I suppose that the Nationals' front office figures that at age 31, he might not have many more productive years. Either that, or they are trying to save on payroll so as to meet Soriano's likely demands for a raise. As if by magic, the image of Livan that used to be on the masthead of the Nationals' Web page has already been replaced by that of Ryan Zimmerman! They may have to replace Jose Guillen's face, as well.
Speaking of that masthead image, has anyone else noticed that the swooping curve of the word "Washington" in the Nationals' team logo matches the swooping profile of the roof at RFK Stadium? Is that just a coincidence?
Adjusting Chase Field?
Speaking of the Diamondbacks, Chase Field is gaining a reputation as "a hitter's paradise" this year, and some people in Phoenix are wondering whether the uniquely-shaped left- and right-field corners should be eliminated, to cut down on the number of extra base hits. For heavens' sake, that's one of its most interesting features! See azcentral.com, thanks to Mike Zurawski. Surprisingly, RFK Stadium ranks as the fourth hitter-friendliest MLB stadium.