September 24, 2006
It was obvious right away that Nick Johnson was badly hurt after bumping into right fielder Austin Kearns in the eighth inning of Saturday's game with the Mets, and that he would be out for what is left of this season. To say he "suffered" is putting it mildly. The care that was taken in putting a splint on his right leg left little doubt that it was broken, as was confirmed a few hours later. The surgery on Saturday night to set the thigh bone (femur) properly was deemed a success. With the titanium rod implanted by the doctors, his leg should be able to bear a full weight load within four to six weeks. see MLB.com. Nick is one of the Nationals' "core" players, with a very solid performance record, and is a great all-around guy. Plus, he bears a striking resemblance to Babe Ruth! We can only pray that his leg heals well during the off-season and that he will ready to play again next year.
This ugly accident was broadcast in living color on FOX Saturday Baseball, no less. The game started off well, and the Nats had a 4-0 lead in the middle of the fifth inning, but Mike O'Connor gave up six runs, and the Mets went on to win, 12-6. Ryan Zimmerman reached into the stands to make a fantastic catch of a pop foul hit by Shawn Green in that game, but the ump couldn't see it, so the effort was all for nought. The Nationals managed to win two of the three games so far at Shea Stadium, at least. The final game in that series will be Monday night.
Having lost to the Rockies this afternoon, it is now known for certain that the Atlanta Braves will be missing postseason play for the first time since 1990 (leaving aside the 1994 strike, of course). The Yankees and Mets have clinched their divisions, and the Cardinals and Athletics are on the verge of doing so, and the Tigers clinched at least a wild card spot. The only real divisional races left are the AL Central and the NL West. To refresh your memory on what has happened in the last four Octobers, take a look at the Postseason scores page, which will soon be updated once the divisional series begin next week.
Having given up on the plan for a mixed-use high-rise parking/retail complex just north of the future home of the Nationals, the D.C. government is scrambling to find other suitable parking places. The lease agreement requires that at least 1,225 parking spots be completed by March 2008, the target completion date. The team owners, the Lerner family, insists that 5,000 parking places will be necessary if the team is to succeed financially. (RFK Stadium has nearly 10,000 parking places.) There is plenty of industrial wasteland that could be used for parking in the Buzzard's Point neighborhood southwest of the Frederick Douglass Bridge, but fans would have to walk several blocks to get to the ballpark. The fact that the (virtual) mayor-elect, Adrian Fenty, was a staunch opponent of spending any public money on a new baseball stadium means that friction is sure to continue as construction proceeds. See Washington Post. I think any parking garages next to the stadium higher than two stories would be an eyesore. Take Metro!
Jeff Lego has submitted his recollections of the games he saw at Shibe Park, and wonders where the other fans' impressions are. Me too! Don't wait any longer: register today, and submit your own impressions! (The links to do so are near the bottoms of the respective stadium pages.)