Lethal Rays pierce Nats' defenses
After a day of rest and sober reflection on having been swept* by the Yankees, the Nationals welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays to town last night. Chien-Ming Wang took the mound, but simply could not keep things under control. He gave up four runs in the third inning, at which point he was relieved by Ross Detwiler, who "put out the fire." It's a shame, because Ian Desmond had given the Nats the lead with a home run in the second inning. Michael Morse had his first home run of the season (with one man on) in the sixth inning, but it wasn't quite enough. The Rays prevailed in the end, 5-4. There's no doubt about it, the Rays are serious contenders for the AL East title this year, along with the Yankees and Orioles.
There was a weird incident in the bottom of the eighth inning: Rays reliever Joel Peralta was ejected before he even threw one pitch, as umpires found pine tar on his glove. Peralta pitched for the Nationals a couple years ago, and somebody has apparently been saving a secret for just the right moment. Unfortunately, it had no bearing on the game's outcome.
The weather forecast for the game today is hot, hazy, and humid, with a 99% chance of me being there. Natitude!
* Only because of a blown call by the umpire at home plate!
Veterans Stadium update
I updated the Veterans Stadium diagrams, with a few corrections such as a reoriented compass. As mentioned recently, I discovered that needed to be done when comparing the position of (new) Citizens Bank Park and (old) Veterans Stadium relative to each other. While I was at it, I found that the existing diagram was too square, so I made it slightly rounder, bulging out by about ten feet in each direction on the sides. I also learned that the big "Liberty Bell" replica was originally attached to the front of the mezzanine level just to the left of center field, and was later moved to the front edge of the roof. That explains how Greg Luzinski was able to hit that Liberty Bell on May 16, 1972 -- a home run estimated by Bill Jenkins to have gone 505 feet. Hitting the Liberty Bell at the subsequent higher location would have implied a homer going 600 feet or more, which is basically impossible.
Target Field tweak
I recently learned from Gary Olson that "the north arrow on your Target Field diagram is wrong. It should be pointing to the left." Indeed, I messed up on my compass directions once again, so I fixed that, along with a couple other details on Target Field. Thanks, Gary.
Soccer at AT&T Park
AT&T Park was converted into a soccer stadium last March, for the debut game of the San Jose Earthquakes, who lost 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo. There was also a match between Olympic hopefuls Mexico and Senegal. See MLB.com; hat tip to Glenn Simpkins. Oh, no, not another one...
While at the University of Virginia on Monday, I stopped at Alderman Library and found a few books on ballparks that I have not seen before. Coincidentally, one of them was Veterans Stadium: Field of Memories, by Rich Westcott (2005). Once I've had a chance to read it, I'll probably update the text on that page.