Monday, April 04, 2005

Phulphilled? Sure, why not?

Well, it was a game; that's good enough for today

One of the most fulfilling things you'll ever see or hear come from Comcast SportsNet occurred at about 6:30 this evening. The regional sports net (but not THE RSN, if you know what I mean) had just covered about five minutes of Frank Robinson's press conference following Washington's 8-4 Opening Day loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. During the press conference, Robinson was wearing a Nats cap, which was a foot above a Nats windbreaker, which was over a Nats jersey, which was over a Nats Under-Armour type shirt. Lots of Nats stuff, in other words.

Said anchor Chick Hernandez after video reverted back to the studio:

Wow. It's really pretty neat to see baseball manager wearing the word "WASHINGTON" across his jersey.

No, it wasn't particularly profound, but it was well put. I turn 29 this month; I don't consider myself even close to nearly almost being a "long-suffering" fan. But for those of you out there who are, let me say that---win or lose---this day is for you.

About the previous entry? Well, it was just for fun; consider it a "what if?" that evolved into a "Huh, how exactly would that happen?"

My prediction remains unchanged, though: 75-87.

Quite a few Nats Fan Clubbers, including Chris from Capitol Punishment, went up to Philly today. I'll be interested in reading and hearing the impressions.

From a detached vantage point---and I mean detached---the game didn't seem like a monumental disaster. Sure, ¡LIVAN! was merely livan, and the offense piled up hits but didn't come through in the clutch. (Moreover, it didn't really work Jon Leiber all that much; he was knocked out with two outs in the sixth with 99 pitches, but 69 of those were for strikes.)

Still, judging by my observations from the Phils radio network, the Nats showed some decent fight. The announcers acknowledged that (and only slipped up with an "Expos" reference once, at least when I was listening) and gave some credit where credit was due. Unfortunately, I missed most of the Harry Kalas portion, which I assume is the first half or even third of the game, and was stuck with two relative mediocrities. By the time Lofton poked the three-run shot to doom Livan, I was tempted to shut it off. The announcers were getting a little homeristic, which is their right of course.

But I stuck out the Phils' broadcast awhile longer. (I didn't have much choice, as I was still on my way home, and XM gives you the home team.) I am glad that I did, because I heard T-Sledge's homer in the sixth---and the subsequent crowd reaction.

To those Nats Fan Clubbers out there: You were great! You really cheered loudly when Sledge went yard. You guys definitely came through loud and clear on the radio broadcast.

I eventually did switch over to MLB Gameday Audio when I got home, so I could hear the Nats/WFED broadcast. It was my first experience with Charlie and Dave; a little boring, but not bad. One of them, though, I swear sounds like a sober, younger, non-stroked (and living) version of Harry Caray. The vocal patterns and inflections are reminiscent, if not altogether similar.

Courtesy of "Rocket Bill" Ladson, Pravda's hardest worker, here's some quotes from the Day One:

Brad Wilkerson, on batting lead-off on (fairly) short notice:

"I'm prepared for it. I'm just looking forward to getting on the field and seeing what we could do," Wilkerson said. "Frank gave me an idea a couple of weeks ago that I might be doing it."

Ryan Church, on being held out owing to a gimpy groin:

"It's for the best," Church said. "In the meeting, Frank told me it's not long term. He told me it was a tough decision. He said it was going to be better for me. What is one or two days compared to six

New TV color man Ron Darling, on the team:

"I was looking at the lineup today. Vinny Castilla led the league in RBIs last year and he is batting sixth. That tells you a little bit about this lineup," Darling said. "The lineup is strong. The starting pitching was as good as you want it during Spring Training. I think they have one of the most underrated starting pitching staffs in baseball. In the National League East, they are going to have to pitch."

Now, tell me why Castilla led the league in RBIs again? Anyway, judging from the various game chatters I observed today, Darling got decent marks. Many people characterized Proctor as boring. I guess I can see that, though I have fond memories of him.

So, the dream of a perfect season is dead. Guess we'll just have to focus on the division now. ;-)

Thanks so much for understanding how important this game, and this season, is to those of us who had the Senators ripped from our grasp in 1971.

I was 15 when I picked up the Washington Post from my porch that September day -- "Senators Moving To Texas" it shouted in huge black letters. This big, athletic 15 year old fell to the porch and cried like a baby. Yes, The Redskins were beginning their glory years under George Allen. Yes, The Bullets were forming the foundation of the team that would be the NBA champs a few years later. Yes, the Terps were now approaching "national power" status under Jerry Claiborne [football] and Lefty Driesell [basketball]. None of that mattered.

In 1973 [or so], Joe Danzansky [he owned Giant Food] made an arrangement to buy the Padres and bring them to DC. Warner Wolf [channel 9] said, "Folks, lets call 'em anything but Senators -- that named is jinxed." Of course burger king Ray Kroc bought them and that ended that.

I moved away in '75 and live in Idaho now. I'm very happy here, and although I love D.C. [actually, lived in Falls Church], wouldn't move back for any reason. But, had the Senators stayed, I would have too. When they left, it broke the bond I had with my home town.

Your understanding of how we "long suffering" baseball fans feel right now is very insightful. It is also greatly appreciated.

Be well.
Farid Rushdi

Thank you so much for your heart-felt comments. I can only hope that this latest iteration (appropriately, perhaps, not named the Senators) can rekindle, to some degree (and from much farther away), the feelings you had for Washington's team prior to that long-lamented day.
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