September 16, 2006 [LINK / comment]
40 / 40: Soriano did it!
After a few failed steal attempts and one that was invalidated because of defensive indifference, Alfonso Soriano finally crossed the Big Threshhold in the first inning tonight. He thus follows Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez as the only ones to get 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in one season. It was nice that it happened in a home game, as the fans in RFK Stadium gave him an extended standing ovation. What's more, the Nats capitalized on his baserunning to build an early lead which they never gave up. They bounced back from last night's loss to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-5. Too bad Soriano may be playing for another team next year...
What about Nick?
But lest we focus all our attention on this National League MVP contender, let's not forget the other National stars. In the Washington Post, Thomas Boswell lauded slugger Nick Johnson for finally performing on a steady basis, and staying healthy. He has amassed one of the highest on-base percentages in the majors this year. He leads the team in batting average (.292) and has 22 home runs, and is tied (with David Ortiz) for third place in the majors with 105 walks, behind Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. It's called smart batting:
Some hitters look for high or low pitches, or guess "inside" or "outside." However, Johnson's sense of the strike zone is so acute that he doesn't need this popular "zoning" technique. So, he has the luxury of looking for a particular kind of pitch.
It's a good thing Jim Bowden signed Nick to a three year contract last winter!
According to the Washington Post, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission fears the new stadium parking complex project is about to collapse, and wants to pay a developer nearly a million dollars to void the construction contract. That was Mayor Tony Williams' big idea, trying to maximize the neighborhood development spinoff from the new stadium. As you can see in the artists' renderings, however, those buildings would be so tall that they would block the view of the Capitol dome except for a very few lucky fans. To heck with that! I've decided the Lerners' opposition to that project is well founded after all.
QUESTION: Why is it that almost every time I watch the Yankees play this year, on TV or at the ballpark, they lose? They have been cruising to an easy divisional championship since the Red Sox fell apart in July, and another Subway Series is a very strong prospect. Would one more World Series victory in the "real" Yankee Stadium be too much to ask? Too bad the Tigers have failed to keep up with the pace they established in the first half of the season. And the Braves have long since resigned themselves to their first non-playoff October since 1990.
The mail bag
Chris Kassulke points out that Kauffman Stadium is within Kansas City proper, not in the suburb of Independence, as I had thought. Did the city limits change over the years? And Mike Zurawski found some more artists' renderings of the future D.C. stadium, which will have a grass slope in center field, like in Ameriquest Field. See maurybrown.com.