Rich Tandler's Nationals blog.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bloggers are supposed to voice a different take on events, to look at events from different angles and reward their readers with a different point of view

Sometimes, however, this is impossible.

There is no other way to discuss Ryan Zimmerman's game-winning home run against the Braves than the take given by the Post, the Times, the AP, Bill Ladson, Nationals Inquisition, or anyplace else.


Some air came out of the balloon in Nationals Park when a passed ball allowed the Braves to tie the game in the top of the ninth. After Christian Guzman and Lastings Milledge became the 23rd and 24th consecutive Nationals batters retired by Braves pitchers it seemed like it would be a long, cold night going multiple extra frames.

But the next batter was Zimmerman, who has a flair coming through in clutch situations on special occasions. He had 18 game-winning hits in 2007 (accounting for nearly 25% of the team's wins) including a number of walk-off jobs. There was hope, I thought as I stood on a landing halfway between the upper and lower decks at Nationals Park watching Zimmerman come up to bat.

As the ball left his bat it immediately was apparent that it was over the center fielder's head. The only question was whether or not it would make its way out of the park.

It did, with a few feet to spare as the truly lucky fan in the first row of the Red Porch snagged a quite the souvenir.

As I was heading to the exits and to the Metro station I thought back to the opening of FedEx Field in 1997. The Redskins' opponent was the Arizona Cardinals and, like the Braves, the Cards tallied a late score to knot a game that the Skins had led most of the way.

All was well, though, as Gus Frerotte threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Michael Westbrook early in overtime and the Redskins won 19-13.

Frerotte turned out to be little more than a journeyman QB and Westbrook, of course, was a major bust. It looks like Zimmerman is headed in a much more positive direction in his career than either of those two.

Zimmerman wasn't the only hero yesterday. Odalis Perez deserved to get the win after allowing just one run over five innings.

Nick Johnson tallied the first RBI with a hustle double in the first inning. The extra base he took with two outs became critical as Austin Kearns singled him home to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

Kearns made a great play off the right field fence on Brian McCann's scorching liner and easily threw out the batter (with help from a quick relay by Ronnie Belliard) as he tried to make it into second base.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Red Porch

Not bad deal here. Food, beer, and a nice outfield seay. You just walk in get your stuff and pick a seat. Don't know how long this will last as I think that comparable seats go for about $35.

The neighborhood does need work

Not a bad seat

. . . For $20. I'm looking straight down at the pitcher and I can survey the whole field while barely turning my head. Of course seeing the whites of anyone's eyes is out of the question and even the cannon can't get a t-shirt up here, but still not bad.

Prett good game, too. I'm assuming that everyone is watching on TV so the focus here is on the park. It's 2-1 Nats bottom six. Some nice glove work on both sides.


That's the theme of the between innings promos. This is the ESPN Zone lucky row. We also had the lottery and Pappa John's select lucky fans all in the lower deck, of course.

BTW, I'm aware that many of the pictures here don't add much, but the way I have it set up I can't post without one.

Nick drives in first run

Nick Johnson leads off of second after driving in the first run. He scored moments later on Austin Kearns' hit.

The Nats take the field

Complete with fireworks.

A nice opera rendition of the national anthem. It was accompanied only by red rockets and bursting bombs at the appropriate moments.

And, to my dismay, there was a smattering of those who emphasized the "O" at that moment. Just knock it off people.


This pic needs no introduction.

Easy in

It couldn't be much easier to get here from Metro (that's after two changes of trains, of course). You take an escalator up exit the station and in two minutes you're there.

Had to get past some protesters urging everyone to boo President Bush. At this point most of us may not get inside in time to have that option.

The first glimpse

Season predictions

While on the Metro, here are a few predictions before things get started.
--Elijah Dukes will not act up, but he won't light it up, either. He may even do a stint in Columbus.
--A pitcher now in AA or lower will be the staff bell cow by the end of August.
--Assuming that Nationals Park is at least moderately hitter friendly, two Nats will hit 30 homers and neither will be Ryan Zimmerman.
--Zimmerman will play well but he won't have the breakout season everyone is looking for.
--The team will win 82 games and be in the Wild Card race until the lack of an inning eater on the mound finally gets to the bullpen.

I 95 Ugh

My hopes of being there when they open gates for the first time are fading. I 95 traffic is awful. Already 45 minutes lost and not out of Richmond yet.

Capitol Dugout is back!

On the spur of the moment, I made two decisions. One was to attend the Nats' season opener so I went on Ebay and got a $20 ticket for thirty bucks (no shipping, ticket was emailed to me).

Then I decided to revive this Blog after about two years of inactivity. I'm going to live blog the opening game from Nationals Park on my BlackBerry. That's assuming that I'll be able to operate the keyboard with my gloves on.

I plan on going Springfield Metro and taking the train to the ballpark. I'll report as much as I can every step of the way.