March 31, 2007
Now that Spring training has come to an end, we have a slightly better idea of what to expect in the regular season. At least the Nationals managed to avoid the cellar in the pre-season NL standings, for whatever that's worth. Every baseball annual magazine I have looked at has picked the Washington Nationals to finish dead last in all the major leagues. Even the Washington Post annual baseball special section echoed the bleak outlook, raising questions about the Nationals' decision to invest nearly all of their capital in rebuilding the farm system. Surprisingly, Thomas Boswell dissented from the conventional pessimism, speculating that the Nationals are poised to become one of the "richest" (talent-wise) teams in the majors in another two or three years. He praised the Lerners' long-term strategy the other day, after warning that they were putting the team's fan base at risk by banking everything on future years.
Nook Logan has healed faster than expected, so he will be in the starting lineup (at center field) for the Nationals on Monday. It will be the first Opening Day home game in Washington. Former Tiger Dmitri Young will serve as first baseman until Nick Johnson is ready to return, which could take another two months or so. The superb John Patterson leads the starting rotation, while the other four are relative unknowns: Shawn Hill, Matt Chico, Jason Bergman, and Jerome Williams. But you know what? Some of those young kids have a lot of promise.
I was checking the stadium impressions submitted by fans of this site recently, and came across a posting on the Polo Grounds (scroll down to near the bottom of that page) by a guy named John. He uploaded to YouTube a fascinating old home movie taken by his grandfather of two football games some time during the 1920s or early 1930s. The first one was in Yankee Stadium and the second one was in the Polo Grounds. Trust me folks, you do not want to miss this.
Thanks to John Pastier, author of Historic Ballparks and sponsor of five stadium pages for alerting me to Historic Ballparks, a new blog by baseball artist Jeff Suntala, whose beautiful and precise renderings grace the cover of the new edition of Green Cathedrals.
A new visitor named Dan "would like to know the volume ( if you will ) of the outfield playing area." Coming up with such a two-dimensional measurement is one of the items on my long to-do list. Does anyone out there know of reliable estimates along those lines?