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August 27, 2021 [LINK / comment]

Nats fall into cellar, bounce back

To the surprise of no one, the newly-rebuilt Washington Nationals struggled throughout this month, and for a while they appeared to be going from bad to worse. After getting swept in a four-game series against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies (see August 5), the Nats chalked up just one victory during the following nine games. They lost seven games in a row from August 8 through August 15, at which point they had fallen into last place, behind the Marlins. Then they bounced back with three consecutive wins and presently have a tenuous hold on fourth place.

From August 6 through 8, the Nationals were nearly swept by the Braves at Truist Park in (or near) Atlanta. Thanks to a pinch-hit double by Ryan Zimmerman and a home run by new catcher Riley Austin, they put three runs on the board in the ninth inning and managed to win the second game of the series (Saturday), 3-2. That late rally helped the Nats' promising new pitcher Josiah Gray avoid a would-be loss; he struck out ten batters over five innings.

After resting on Monday, the Nats headed up to New York City for three games against the Mets. Rain forced a suspension of the first game, which the Mets won 8-7 the next day. Rain also forced a postponement of the second game to Thursday, when a double-header (seven innings each) was played. The Mets won the early game 4-1, with a guy just called up from the Rochester minor league affiliate, Sean Nolin, pitching for the Nats. In the late game, the Nats rallied to tie it 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning, thanks to a clutch two-run single by Andrew Stevenson, but in the bottom of that inning Pete Alonso hit a walk-off home run to win it for the Mets. In a way it was fitting, since he was the champion of the Home Run Derby in Denver last month. Nats' pitcher Kyle Finnegan took the loss.

On Friday the 13th, the Nationals returned home to D.C. and welcomed the division-leading Atlanta Braves to town. There was a rain delay of over three hours, which seems ridiculous, but given the wet forecast for the weekend, they may not have had a choice. The Nats only scored two runs apiece in the first two games, but perked up offensively in the third game on Sunday. Unfortunately, the Braves hit three home runs and won that game (6-5), thus completing the sweep.

The day off on Monday, August 16 seemed to help the Nationals, as they racked up their first double-digit run total in nearly a month when the Toronto Blue Jays came to Nationals Park the next day. Home runs were hit by both Yadiel Hernandez and new catcher Riley Adams, who also doubled and singled. (Adams was traded to the Nationals for pitcher Brad Hand in late July, and he has improved markedly.) On Wednesday both teams hit three home runs, but the Nats came out ahead thanks to a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Brad Hand took the loss in the 8-5 final result, and Kyle Finnegan got the save for the Nats.

Then the Nationals spent Thursday flying out west to play the Brewers at American Family Field (not "Miller Park" any more) in Milwaukee. After numerous disappointments on the mound this year, Patrick Corbin had a superlative game, striking out seven batters and giving up only one run over six innings. The Nats' star player (with 2 RBIs) in that game was left fielder Lane Thomas, who was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jon Lester. (See below.) Much like Riley Adams, Thomas has been hitting much better since he joined the Nationals. He has also played center field, and may end up replacing Victor Robles, whose hitting and base-running struggles are almost legendary. On Saturday the two teams were tied 4-4 until the bottom of the eighth inning, when the Brewers scored five runs thanks mainly to a grand slam by Christian Yelich. (The Brewers slugger has been on the Injured List for most of this season.) Nats' pitcher Javy Rodriguez took the loss in the 9-6 outcome, and lasted a third of an inning. In the Sunday game, the Nats equalled their hosts in terms of hits (9) but just couldn't capitalize on run-scoring opportunities, and lost by a score of 7-3.

Monday the 23rd was yet another travel day for the Nats, as they flew to Miami to play the Marlins. In the Tuesday game Erick Fedde pitched his best game of the year, striking out ten batters over six innings. Home runs by catcher Tres Barrera and Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nationals a much-needed 5-1 victory. On Wednesday Josiah Gray pitched very well for the Nats once again, but his team mates didn't give him any run support until the seventh inning. That's when Josh Bell and Yadiel Hernandez hit back-to-back home runs to give the Nats a 3-2 lead. But in the bottom of the inning, relief pitcher Andres Machado gave up a leadoff triple, and soon the game was tied 3-3. It stayed that way until the tenth inning, when the Nats' Carter Kieboom (automatic runner on second base) was thrown out at home on a single by Riley Adams. So close! The Marlins executed a sacrifice bunt to get their automatic runner to third base, all but guaranteeing a home team victory. Marlins 4, Nats 3.

After flying to New York once again, tonight the Nationals faced the Mets, who have been perhaps even more jinxed than the Nationals over the past month. Thanks to some clutch hits in the third inning, the Nats managed to eke out a 2-1 victory, credited to starting pitcher Paolo Espino. In contrast to what happened two weeks ago, Kyle Finnegan got the save.

Kyle Finnegan

The Nationals' new de facto closer, Kyle Finnegan, at Nationals Park on June 16.

Injury update

The Nationals' fifth starting pitcher, Joe Ross, is out for the rest of the season, but at least for the moment it does not appear that he will need Tommy John surgery, as appeared to be the case at first. If so, it would be his second time. In addition, catcher Alex Avila has been on the injured list for several weeks. Relief pitcher Austin Voth returned to the Nats roster after being placed on the Injured List late in July, and his performance seems more reliable thus far. And, in another chapter of a never-ending tragedy, Stephen Strasburg had surgery to repair thoracic muscles, meaning that he will not only miss the rest of this year, but probably the first part of next year as well. He hardly played at all last year. Sad to say, but his renewed contract in late 2019 after the Nats won the World Series may turn out to be one of the biggest busts in franchise history.

Meanwhile, in L.A. ...

Former National Max Scherzer is doing his best to help his new team (the Dodgers) catch up with the Giants in the NL West race. He has won four of his five starts with Los Angeles, with no losses yet. Last night in San Diego (when the Dodgers won, 4-0) he struck out ten batters, raising his strikeout total to 188 for the year (41 with L.A.), and 2,972 lifetime. If he keeps up this pace, there seems little doubt that he will cross the immortal threshhold of 3,000 Ks some time in the middle of September. The other former National that was traded to the Dodgers in late July, Trea Turner, is likewise keeping up the pace in terms of batting and fielding. With a .320 batting average, he still leads the National League in that category.

Yankees win yet again

On Monday evening, for the first time in 120 years (really???), two teams with nine-game winning streaks faced each other: the New York Yankees and the host Atlanta Braves. The Yankees won 5-1, and beat the Braves again the next day, 5-4. After beating the Athletics twice in Oakland, the Yankees now have a 13-game winning streak and are putting pressure on the AL East Division leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have won nine of their last ten games, which is not too shabby.

Orioles finally win

They came very close to losing once again, but thanks to a five-run eighth-inning rally on Wednesday, the Baltimore Orioles just barely managed to beat the visiting L.A. Angels, thus putting an end to their miserable 19-game losing streak. Suddenly pumped up with adrenaline, they clobbered the Angels 13-1 the next day. After losing to the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, the Orioles are now 40-87 for the year (.315), 39 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East. I heard they have one of the best farm systems in the majors, however, and with the anticipated top draft picks for next year, the franchise should improve markedly.

The Nationals' diaspora: (CORRECTED)

I realized that I had omitted the name of a (former) Nationals player who was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in late July: veteran pitcher Jon Lester. My apologies for leaving him out. So here is a corrected version of the table that I included in my August 5 blog post.

Name Position New team With Nats since
Max Scherzer P L.A. Dodgers 2015
Trea Turner SS L.A. Dodgers 2016
Kyle Schwarber LF Boston Red Sox 2021
Daniel Hudson P San Diego Padres 2019
Josh Harrison 2B Oakland Athletics 2020
Yan Gomes C Oakland Athletics 2019
Brad Hand P Toronto Blue Jays 2021
Jon Lester P St. Louis Cardinals 2021

I will try to assemble a corresponding list of newly-acquired Nationals players, since many of them show great promise for the future. Overall, General Manager Mike Rizzo did a great job in getting very good talent in return for all the top stars who were traded away one month ago.



August 17, 2021 [LINK / comment]

Hollywood ending in the Field of Dreams

I was a little skeptical when it was first announced, but the Yankees-White Sox game played in the corn fields of eastern Iowa last Thursday, August 12 turned out to be a big hit. The Field Of Dreams game had been delayed by one year due to the covid-19 pandemic, and it was a stroke of good luck that the weather was almost ideal. With seating limited to just 8,000 fans, MLB arranged a ticket lottery open only to residents of the state of Iowa. Fair enough. (Mark London, a long-time fan of this website, kept me posted about developments in the weeks before the game took place, and he tried to get tickets via the lottery.) A similar game held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in July 3, 2016 was open only to members of the armed services and their families. Field Of Dreams actor Kevin Costner was part of the opening ceremonies, in which the players for both sides entered the field from the corn, a very effective gimmick. The Yankees and White Sox battled back and forth as the game progressed, with the lead changing four times. In the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees erased a three-run deficit and took the lead thanks to home runs hit by two of their biggest sluggers: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. But in the bottom of the ninth, Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson hit a home run into the corn beyond right field, as the "home team" White Sox won the game in dramatic walk-off fashion. Almost as if it had been scripted that way... White Sox 9, Yankees 8.

The game was such a success in terms of TV viewing and advertising revenues that MLB announced that there will be another game there next year: between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Cubs. If they open it up to non-Iowans, I'd like to see that game...

Field of Dreams update

Field Of Dreams

And so, needless to say, I made some corrections and enhancements to the Field of Dreams page. It now includes separate diagrams for the new stadium where the game was played last week, as well as the diagram showing the diamond about 1/4 mile to the east, where the movie was actually filmed. [It is based largely on various aerial photos I have seen, including photos I took of the TV screen during the game. NOTE: The estimated 1,300-foot distance between the home plates of those two fields as rendered in the "combined" thumbnail image is only an "eyeball" approximation, and could be off by as much as 50 feet.] The thumbnail image above allows you to compare (by clicking, rolling your mouse over, etc.) the original (1988) Field Of Dreams with the new one where the MLB game was just played.

The new stadium is a simple, one-deck grandstand, resembling Fort Bragg Field, where the Braves hosted the Marlins on July 3, 2016. The portion surrounding the infield consists of 20 rows of seats with a row press boxes perched on top of fan amenities to the rear of the grandstand. There are access ramps on both the first and third base sides. Along the third base line down to the left field corner there is a large bleacher section, with about 40 rows of bench seats. The bullpens are in center field, and the corn fields run right up against the right and left field fences. Behind the main grandstand are two very large tents, presumably serving as emergency shelters and logistical functions. (There are also a number of other smaller structures and tents, which the diagram omits for reasons of simplicity.)

In addition, I have updated the Anomalous stadiums page with that information, as well as the two temporary ballparks used by the Toronto Blue Jays this year: TD Park (new page pending) in Dunedin, Florida and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York.

Another (very special!) no-hitter

There was yet another no-hitter on Saturday night, as Tyler Gilbert, age 27, led the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 7-0 victory over the visiting San Diego Padres. It was the seventh (!) no-hitter this year, according to my calculations. This one was special, however, as it was the first time that a pitcher had thrown a no-hitter in his very first major league start since Bobo Holliman did it for the St. Louis Browns in 1953. (Holliman didn't last long in the majors, however.) Gilbert's parents were attending the game in Chase Field, obviously delighted beyond measure. Ironically, the losing pitcher in Saturday's game, Joe Musgrove, had thrown the first no-hitter in Padres history back on April 9.



August 5, 2021 [LINK / comment]

Fire sale from the smoldering ruins:
Nats trade away Max, Trea, Kyle, and many more!

As expected, after their season effectively went crashing down in flames last month, the Washington Nationals officially parted ways with three of their biggest stars: Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber. As the trade deadline (Friday July 30) approached last week, there was a rumor that Scherzer was about to be traded to the San Diego Padres, but then the L.A. Dodgers zoomed in and closed a deal that seemed more attractive to the Nationals. The key condition was that Trea Turner (who was under contractual obligation for another year) be included in the bargain. Scherzer becomes a free agent at the end of this year, and as a "rental" player is of less value to the Dodgers. Those two superstars were exchanged for four young prospects, most notably pitcher Josiah Gray and catcher Keibert Ruiz. The transaction was contingent upon medical exams of all players concerned, and became a formality on Friday. By that time, Kyle Schwarber had already been traded to the Boston Red Sox, but he is still recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered a month ago.

But wait, there's more! In addition to the trades of Scherzer, Turner, and Schwarber, the Nationals also announced on Thursday that Yan Gomes (catcher) and Josh Harrison (infielder) were being traded to the Oakland Athletics, while Daniel Hudson went to the San Diego Padres. Actually, the first National to be traded last was closing pitcher Brad Hand, who was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays. No surprise there. The benefit to the Nationals side will come primarily from the savings in salaries owed, enabling the franchise to rebuild its minor league system.

Although few knowledgeable baseball observers would question the need for the Nationals to unload some of their priciest stars, some might question whether General Manager Mike Rizzo went too far. Obviously, major league baseball is a business, but financial success is derived to a large extent from maintaining the goodwill of the team's fan base. When the Florida/Miami Marlins had "fire sales" immediately after their World Series victories in 1997 and 2003, it did great damage to the Marlins' popularity in south Florida. To the credit of the Nationals' owners, the Lerner family, they did invest a substantial amount of money after the 2019 World Series championship in retaining old talent (e.g. Stephen Strasburg) and acquiring new talent (e.g. Kyle Schwarber). It just didn't work out, and there was no point in pretending otherwise.

The Nationals' diaspora

Name Position New team With Nats since
Max Scherzer P L.A. Dodgers 2015
Trea Turner SS L.A. Dodgers 2016
Kyle Schwarber LF Boston Red Sox 2021
Daniel Hudson P San Diego Padres 2019
Josh Harrison 2B Oakland Athletics 2020
Yan Gomes C Oakland Athletics 2019
Brad Hand P Toronto Blue Jays 2021

The acquisition of free agent Max Scherzer in January 2015 was probably the biggest coup of Nats General Manager Mike Rizzo's career. The seven-year $210 million contract turned out to be a spectacular bargain for the Nationals, as Scherzer played a key role in winning the NL East Division three times and winning the World Series in 2019. (I wrote back then "Is he really worth that much?" Ha! smile) Scherzer threw two no-hitters during his very first year with the Nationals: June 20, 2015 (at home vs. the Pirates) and October 3, 2015 (while visiting the New York Mets). He won the National League Cy Young Award in both 2016 and 2017, after having won the AL Cy Young in 2013 when he was with the Detroit Tigers. During his four months playing with the Nationals this year, Max Scherzer had eight wins and four losses, with 147 strikeouts (seventh best in the major leagues), and a 2.76 ERA. In his first start with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, he gave up a home run to the second batter he faced but then struck out ten batters over seven innings, getting the win. Typical Max! The near-capacity crowd at Dodger Stadium roared its approval, and Max relishes the opportunity to pitch deep into October as his new team tries to repeat its World Series title. It's all very difficult for me to absorb... frown

Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer pitched against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 30, 2017, when the visitors won the game, 4-1. Max finished with a 16-6 record for the year.

Whereas the departure of Scherzer (soon to be a free agent) was widely expected, Trea Turner's sudden exit was quite a shock. The Nationals were unable to come to terms with him on a long-term contract this year, but he is (or was) under team control for one more year. (I try to ignore rumors, but it seems that neither side was particularly motivated to renew the contractual relationship.) That fact that Turner was under a contractual obligation may have motivated the key demand made by the Dodgers in the Scherzer trade. Turner was originally acquired by the Nationals from the Padres in a multi-team trade in December 2014 -- just a few weeks before the Max Scherzer deal, in fact. A speedster, he spent most of 2015 in center field, after which he replaced Danny Epinosa (and Ian Desmond) as shortstop. (I saw his major league debut on August 21, 2015, when he he almost beat the throw on what would have been an infield single.) Over the years he blossomed from a solid contact hitter and defensive player into a top-caliber slugger. During his four months playing with the Nationals this year, Turner had 18 home runs, 42 RBIs, and a .322 batting average -- the fourth best in the major leagues! On July 29 he was placed on the 10-day Injured List after testing positive for covid-19. The Dodgers will benefit greatly from his presence, but there may be some rearrangement of the infield, since Corey Seager has held the shortstop position for a few years. Modest and youthful in appearance, Trea will be missed greatly by fans in Washington.

Trea Turner

Trea Turner in a game against the New York Mets on September 21, 2018, when the visitors won the game, 4-2.

In retrospect, perhaps the historic home run hitting performance by Kyle Schwarber in June (16 home runs within an 18-day period) was just too good to last. His hamstring injury in early July suddenly put a chill on the Nationals' aspirations to vie for the NL East title; it's almost as though the fortunes of the entire Nationals franchise were held together by those fragile ligaments in his legs. He heard an ugly "pop" while rounding first base, and the rest is history. Recovery from hamstring injuries is hard to predict, so it may take a few more weeks before he is able to help his new team (the Boston Red Sox) as they compete against the Tampa Bay Rays.

After two years of disappointment with the Nationals, catcher Yan Gomes (born in Brazil!) showed remarkable improvement in the batter's box this year. He and Josh Harrison were traded to the Oakland Athletics, who have been in a close race with the Houston Astros for the AL West crown. Harrison has been a very useful infielder, who can hit fairly regularly and can play a variety of positions. Relief pitcher Daniel Hudson, who replaced Sean Doolittle as the Nats' closer late in the 2019 season and got the final out in World Series Game 7, was traded to the San Diego Padres. He didn't enjoy being the closing pitcher, a very stressful and often thankless job.

Of all the trades made, the one involving closing pitcher Brad Hand (traded to the Toronto Blue Jays) was least painful for Nats fans. Despite getting a $10.5 million contract for this year, he repeatedly failed to meet expectations, and often turned victories into losses. Hand was criticized for several gut-wrenching blown saves this year, most notably the ones on July 25 (vs. the Orioles) and 26 (vs. the Phillies). After losing those two games, all hope was gone for the Nats. Hand got 21 saves out of 26 save opportunities with the Nationals this year, ranking a very respectable #13 in the major leagues. On the other hand, several of his saves were of a most precarious nature, giving up multiple hits, walks, and runs. It's an odd mixed bag of pluses and minuses. In the top of the tenth inning Monday, when the Blue Jays were hosting the Cleveland Indians, Hand gave up three runs and was tagged with the loss.

Brad Hand

Brad Hand pitched against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 16, getting his 13th save of the year.

Farewell and best wishes, Max, Trea, Kyle, Josh, Yan, Daniel, & Brad!

Hellish month comes to an end

There was a fleeting moment of wistful glory in the early afternoon of July 29 when Max Scherzer pitched his final game with the Nationals, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. He struck out five batters over six innings, and when Yan Gomes hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the seventh inning, that put Max in line to get his eighth win of the season. Nats 3, Phillies 1. But the second game that day turned out to be an eerie repeat of the 9-8 loss to the Padres on July 8. The Nats jumped to a 7-0 lead by the middle of the third inning, but starting pitcher Patrick Corbin and the relief pitchers that followed him began hemmorhaging runs. The Phillies scored three in the eighth inning, and four in the ninth inning on a grand slam by Brad Miller, winning it 11-8. Sam Clay took the loss for the Nats. It was yet another one of the worst collapses in Nationals' history, ruining what could have been an uplifting series win against a good team. Instead, the Nats and Phillies split the series two games apiece.

Back in Washington for the weekend, the radically revamped Nationals did fairly well against the Chicago Cubs, who also traded away some of their key players in a fire sale of their own. The Nats' Paolo Espino pitched well enough for a victory on Friday (4-3) and Erick Fedde did likewise on Sunday (6-5). But the Saturday game (July 31) was plagued by a mediocre performance by Joe Ross, who was replaced in the fifth inning. The Cubs won that one, 6-3. Still, getting a series win was at least something to be proud of for the New Nationals.

But then the Philadelphia Phillies came to town on the second day of August, and nothing went right for the Nationals. On Monday they had a 3-2 lead going into the top of the ninth inning, and Davey Martinez decided to send Gabe Klobosits back out to the mound after he got three quick outs in the eighth inning. Well, the first two batters singled, so the extraordinarily unreliable Wander Suero was sent in to finish the game. It was a complete, unmitigated catastrophe. Before you knew it, five Phillies had crossed the plate, taking a 7-3 lead. To their credit, the Nats came back with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but they still lost, 7-5. Suero was promptly traded away, and quite frankly will not be missed in D.C. On Tuesday Patrick Corbin pitched very well until the seventh inning, when the Phillies scored three runs. Comeback rallies by the Nats fell short in the 5-4 defeat. On Wednesday Paolo Espino could not contain the Phillies, and the Nats lost 9-5 even though they hit four home runs -- two by the young second baseman, Luis Garcia. Thursday afternoon looked like the Nats would finally catch a break, as they headed into the ninth inning with a 5-3 lead. But Kyle Finnegan, who is the closest thing the Nationals currently have to a reliable relief pitcher, flinched when the heat was on. The Phillies tied it 5-5 on an RBI double by J.T. Realmuto, and then took a 7-5 lead on an RBI double by Rhys Hoskins. The one run scored by the Nats in the bottom of the ninth was not quite enough.

Two observations about that series: Nats' third baseman Carter Kieboom, who had been heralded as a future star until repeated disappointments, may finally have turned the corner and started to live up to his potential. He has hit two home runs recently, and is hitting regularly as well. Also, the Phillies' Bryce Harper has been on a hot streak lately, and may be a contender for the NL title in the home run and batting average categories. He may even be a candidate for NL MVP, which he won in 2015 -- way back when he was with the Nationals.

For the month of July, the Nats went 8-18, after going 19-9 in June; it was an apocalyptic downturn of truly epic proportions. The Washington Nationals page has been updated accordingly. Now that the Nationals are out of the postseason picture for this year, and probably for at least the next year or two, I plan to spend less time in this blog recounting their games. For a team in rebuilding mode, wins and losses are of secondary importance.

American League wins All-Star Game again

For the eighth consecutive year (not counting last year when the event was canceled), the American League won the All-Star Game. The Nationals' ace (at the time) Max Scherzer started the game for the National League, and got three quick outs. Why didn't they keep him in for one more inning? The pitcher who replaced him, Corbin Burnes (of the Milwaukee Brewers), gave up a run in both the second and third innings. Not surprisingly, the Blue Jays' young phenom Vlad Guerrero Jr. hit a solo homer and later batted in a second run, thus becoming the youngest (age 22) player ever to be named All-Star Game MVP. The final score was 5-2. For the first time ever, the starting pitcher for one league (Shohei Ohtani) was the leadoff batter for that side. (Somehow they let him have a second at-bat as a designated hitter after he had been replaced as pitcher; very strange.) The game was moved from Atlanta's Truist Park to Denver's Coors Field, in response to protests against restrictive voting laws passed by the Georgia state legislature. See the Annual baseball chronology page.

Alonso wins Home Run Derby again

Do you like repeats? If so, you'll love the fact that Pete Alonso (New York Mets) won this year's Home Run Derby, just like the last time the event was held, two years ago. He beat the Orioles' Trey Mancini 23-22 in the final round after beating the Nationals' Juan Soto 16-15 in the second round.

But perhaps the biggest news from that Monday night spectacle was that the top-seeded Shohei Ohtani, who then led the majors with 33 home runs, was eliminated by the Nationals' Juan Soto in the first round. It was a memorable double-tiebreaker situation, with Soto ending up with 31 home runs to Ohtani's 28.

Baseball returns to Canada

On Friday July 30, the Toronto Blue Jays returned home to the Rogers Centre (ex-Skydome) for the first time since the end of the 2019 season. Because of travel restrictions made necessary by the covid-19 pandemic, the Blue Jays played all of the abbreviated last season at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York. They played the first two months this year at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida -- TD Park -- and then went back to Buffalo for the mid-summer. (Text updates to both those pages are pending; I will have to create a diagram for TD Park in the coming months.)

Superdome is renamed

As expected, the "Mercedes-Benz" Superdome was renamed in mid-July; it is now officially called "Caesar's Superdome," after the resort hotel / casino enterprise. The connection with gambling interests is troubling to some people, just as is the case with the Las Vegas (formerly Oakland) Raiders. The Superdome page has been updated to reflect that.




 

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This blog features commentary and musings on a diverse but well-defined set of topics, from a critical-minded conservative point of view, featuring a veritable library of original graphics and statistical information. It is distinguished in many ways from the rest of the "blogosphere." My blog entries cover a rigidly defined set of topics, with varying degrees of intensity according to how much is going on in each area, and how much time I have. Being somewhat of a "do-it-yourselfer," I chose a "home-made" approach rather than conforming to the common blogging systems such as Blogger or WordPress. The blog entries and archives are arranged in a sort of "proprietary" scheme that I have gradually developed over time. Finally, being an old-fashioned, soft-spoken kind of guy, I avoid attention-grabbing sensationalism and strident rhetoric, and strive instead to maintain a reasonable, dignified, respectful tone.

"It's not just a blog, it's an adventure!"



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My general practice is to make no more than one blog post per day on any one category. For this reason, some blog posts may address more than one specific issue, as indicated by separate headings. If something important happens during the day after I make a blog post, I may add an updated paragraph or section to it, using the word "UPDATE" and sometimes a horizontal rule to distinguish the new material from the original material. For each successive day, blog posts are listed on the central blog page (which brings together all topics) from top to bottom in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the order in which the posts were originally made:

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The date of each blog post refers to when the bulk of it was written, in the Eastern Time Zone. For each blog post, the time and date of the original posting (or the last update or comment thereupon) is displayed on the individual archival blog post page that appears (just before the comments section) when you click the [LINK / comments] link next to the date. Non-trivial corrections and clarifications to original blog entries are indicated by the use of [brackets] and/or strikethroughs, as appropriate so as to accurately convey both the factual truth and my original representation of it. Nobody's perfect, but I strive for continual improvement. That is also why some of the nature photos that appear on the archive pages may differ from the (inferior) ones that were originally posted.

The current "home made" blog organization system that I created, featuring real permalinks, was instituted on November 1, 2004. Prior to that date, blog posts were handled inconsistently, and for that reason the pre-2005 archives pages are something of a mess. Furthermore, my blogging prior to June 1, 2004 was often sporadic in terms of frequency.



 

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