Nats winless in spring training
In spite of fine outings by pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Garrett Mock, the Washington Nationals just can't seem to win. After losing to the Atlanta Braves today, the Nats are now 0-11 in the "Grapefruit League" standings. Good grief! Well, so much for the resurgent momentum they achieved at the end of the 2009 regular season (Oct. 4), when they won their last seven games. Perhaps the Nationals are just "sandbagging it," creating a false impression among other teams that they are no better than last year. At least I hope that's what they're doing...
The Nats are trimming their roster as the regular season approaches. The latest big name to be let go is veteran left-hand pitcher Ron Villone, who was reliable in 2009 but has not done well this spring. A younger pitcher of some promise, Collin Balester, was sent to the Syracuse Triple-A affiliate. Recently acquired Chien-Ming Wang has thrown a few practice pitches as well. If he gets healthy soon, the 2010 season could show a huge improvement over the past two years. As of now, good old Livan Hernandez is in line to become the fifth starter in the Nats' rotation. See MLB.com.
Two members of the Nationals have been excused from practice duty over the past week because their wives were giving birth: Josh Willingham and Cristian Guzman are the proud fathers. Neither of those players is guaranteed a spot on the 2010 starting lineup, however, so they'd better get back to Viera, Florida pronto. There's a real chance that young Ian Desmond could start the season at shortstop, taking Guzman's place. Desmond was one of the clutch-performing stars at the end of the 2009 season.
Diagram-wise, I've been attending to a few loose odds and ends over the past few days, while taking a respite from wracking my brain trying to solve various ballpark configuration riddles. A fellow member of SABR, Thomas Tomsick, requested some information for a research project he is doing, and drew my attention to the fact that, at least through the late 1960s, there was no warning track in front of the inner outfield fence at Cleveland Stadium. (He should know, since he was a bullpen catcher for the Indians in the mid-1960s, and spent a lot of time out there.) Instead, the original pointed oval warning track / running track was left in place, going around the entire field, abutting the grass slope in front of the bleachers. So I fixed that in the 1954 version of that diagram.
Other minor fixes in the works include Sun Life (Dolphin) Stadium, K.C. Municipal Stadium and Comiskey Park.
About half of the upper deck at Yankee Stadium has now been torn down, and hopes of preserving Gate 2 as a token for posterity are fading fast.