September 15, 2005
For the first time since one month ago (when they beat the Rockies), the Nationals have swept an opponent in a three-game series. Cliff Floyd's fifth-inning line drive grand slam to right field in Shead Stadium put the Mets on top, but a ninth-inning error by 2nd baseman Kazuo Matsui allowed the Nats to tie the game, and a clutch RBI single by Vinny Castilla in the tenth gave the edge to Washington. Final score: 7 to 6. Now just 2 1/2 games behind in the wild card race, the Nationals are flying west to San Diego, which was the last team to sweep the Nationals -- in Washington! -- earlier in August. Next week the Giants play at RFK Stadium for the first time ever. I wonder what kind of reception the newly activated (and presumably clean) Barry Bonds will get. In tomorrow's (Friday) Washington Post, Thomas Boswell marvels that the Nationals, who have been written off by most experts several times already this season, have returned from the dead," and may just be in the thick of a fierce showdown with the Astros, Marlins, and/or Phillies at the end of the month.
According to the Washington Post, Major League Baseball has sent formal contracts to the eligible bidders for the Washington Nationals franchise. This raises the remote but real possibility that the team could have its own owners by the end of the regular season, which would avoid the awkwardness of to whom the National League pennant should be awarded to. The sale price is expected to be about $450 million. I wonder what this franchise would have been worth if the former Montreal Expos had been relocated to Portland, Las Vegas, San Juan, Norfolk, or Monterrey, Mexico?
Some new photos from my recent trip to Washington, in which I saw the Nationals lose to the Phillies, are posted on the RFK Stadium page. Of particular amusement to some folks will be the guy with the T-shirt that says, "Mr. Angelos Screws the Nationals," referring to the Orioles-controlled Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. I have also used some new digital tricks to enhance the clarity of existing photos on that page and other stadium pages.