June 26, 2006
I had my heart set on seeing the Nats play up in the beautiful Camden Yards this year, ready to put an end to my silly boycott at long last, but social obligations made that impossible. (Ay, estas fiestas peruanas...) I was in Northern Virginia, so at least I got to see the Nats games on TV, for once. As things turned out, being there in person wouldn't have been that entertaining anyhow, given the repeated rain delays. Considering the record-breaking torrential rains that fell in Maryland and nearby areas, it's amazing they were able to finish all three games in the series. In the first two games, the Nats batters failed to capitalize on critical run-scoring opportunities over and over, letting the fine pitching performances of John Patterson and Mike O'Connor go to waste. The Orioles won both games by a single run.
On Sunday, the Nationals' batters woke up at last, and the team won by a convincing 9-5. Everyone seemed ecstatic over Alfonoso Soriano's sacrifice bunt that sparked a two-run mini-rally in the third inning, but I would call it "enlightened self-interest." He knows he has a reputation for being a prima donna and hard to get along with, and given that he will probably be up for trading in the next month or so, it was exactly the right thing to do -- for the team's sake and for his own career. Oddly, the hero of the final game was shortstop Royce Clayton, a solid fielder and adequate batter who seldom garners attention. With the bases loaded on three walks in the fifth inning by Daniel Cabrera (who threw four wild pitches!), Clayton knocked a perfect double into the right center gap, driving in three runs. That gave Livan Hernandez a big enough margin to pitch with confidence, and he finally got another win. So the new cross-state rivals ended up with an even win-loss record, 3-3. Attendance was not that great at either RFK Stadium or at Camden Yards, so it may take a while before the rivalry really heats up.
* Double entendre? Moi??
Following up on some of the recent leads from Mike Zurawski concerning the possible short-distance relocation of the Oakland Athletics, I came across a new Web site: A's Baseball to Fremont. It's possible, but I'll believe it when I see it.