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December 9, 2014 [LINK / comment]

"Play of the Year" award to Souza

Not long after getting a Best Buy gift card from an appreciative Jordan Zimmermann, Steven Souza Jr. was honored to get the GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) "Play of the Year" award [for that amazing game-ending, no-hitter-saving catch at Nationals Park on September 28]. See I'm still dumbfounded at how lucky I was not just to be at that game, but to get a photo of that historic play. I just showed that photo on November 29 for a second time, so instead of showing it for a third time, I incorporated it into a montage of some of the Nationals' other great moments of the past three seasons:

Nationals great moments

Some of the Washington Nationals' "great moments" I have had the privilege to witness -- and photograph! At top left, the Nationals mob Jordan Zimmermann after Steven Souza Jr. (top right) made the diving catch to preserve the no-hitter last September 28. Bottom middle, Ian Desmond homers to get the only run scored in that game. Bottom left, Ryan Zimmerman hits a home run into the "Red Porch" on September 22, 2013. Bottom right, on September 8, 2012, Jayson Werth homers in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game, which the Nationals won one inning later.

You can also see a larger-size version of the Nationals mobbing Jordan Zimmermann, in the top left of that montage.

What about "great moments" of players from other teams which I have seen? Well, I saw then New York Met Julio Franco's home run on September 2006; the following year he hit one more to top his own record. And last July in Kansas City I saw and photographed Billy Butler hitting a home run that proved to be the Royals' margin of victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Winter GM meetings commence

In beautiful, balmy San Diego, MLB general managers have begun their annual winter meetings. On the first day, the Chicago White Sox picked up two first-class pitchers: Jeff Samardzija (who has played for the Cubs and Athletics in recent years) and David Robertson (who has been with the Yankees). For a full recap, see

This event is the "swan song" for outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who officially retires at the end of the month. I hope he gets a suitable sendoff to reward him for leading the sport through some exciting but often trying times over the past two decades.

Nats free agents get offers

All Washington Nationals free agents received qualifying offers from the management, which is good news but not exactly a surprise. Can the franchise keep both Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann on the roster? They will both expect big raises, and they're probably worth it.

On the other hand, Ken Rosenthal ( says the Nationals should avoid getting into a contract squabble with Bryce Harper.

Werth: "2 Fast, 2 Furious"

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was convicted of reckless driving by a judge in Fairfax County last week, and was sentenced to ten days in jail. He is trying to cut the actual time served behind bars to only five days, however. Always the rebellious kind, he was driving his Porsche at over 100 miles per hour on the Beltway, and the cops nabbed him. (Washington Post)

Three Rivers Stadium update

For the second time in three days, I have finished updating diagrams that were over five years old -- in this case, for Three Rivers Stadium Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Aside from the obvious inclusion of new details such as the entry portals, the biggest change since the 2009 version is that the overall shape is slightly more of an oval, with more pronounced bends behind home plate and beyond center field. It's rather like a football, in fact, reminding me of how the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore had a sharp bend behind home plate. This finding is based on a closer inspection of some aerial photos, and helps to resolve one of the nagging discrepancies in the oval-shaped stadiums with "paired swivelable circular section lower deck" (PSCSLD) configuration. (The other is Busch Stadium II.) For such a dual-use arrangement to work, the curvature of the rear of the movable portion of the grandstand must match the curvature of the rest of the grandstand. In a typical, more blunt oval, consisting of four circular (fixed-radius) curves, the range of movement would be too restricted. I'll have to figure out how to explain that more clearly.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 10 Dec 2014, 11: 14 AM

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