Saturday, September 10, 2005

"We still believe"


So proclaims Carlos Baerga, as recounted in St. Barry's gamer of last night's improbable, come-from-behind, 8-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Okay, okay: maybe it wasn't so improbable; Jose Guillen's game-winning double,
the 1,000th hit of his career, came against Danny Kolb. The Nats kill Danny Kolb. So does, for that matter, the entire 2005 National League.

Nevertheless, it was a great victory. I tuned in on-and-off and found no legitimate reason to believe the Nats would come back from a 6-2 middle-inning deficit. But come back they did, and in resounding fashion. On the radio, Charlie Slowes---so desperate for a thrilling burst at the end---sounded out a booming "Bang! Zoom!" after Chief Cordero recorded the final out of his franchise record 44th save. The "boom" was equal parts the fireworks and Charlie apparently rustling his microphone in excitement somehow. (The replay of the call was edited back into something a bit more coherent.)

Perhaps it was inevitable, then, that St. Barry would conjure the heady days of June:

The joyous days of June? Or the sad days of September? For a moment last night, it was hard to tell. This team has been embattled, embittered, upset and uninspired. Still, they rise for one more morning, and they're in it.

Yes, I suppose they are. (The Wild Card Tracker says so, and Jose Guillen would seem to believe so, too; he remarked that the Nats would have been "done" with a loss last night.) Let's hope that by mid-afternoon today they're still in it.


______________

Last night's game seems like one of those make-good 17th holes during a round of golf. This "map isn't drawn to scale," but the team---like a round of golf from yours truly---got an early lay of the land, set into a great groove, began playing indifferently just after the mid-way point, saw its game fall completely apart, and then rebounded with a wonderful and unlikely performance right near the end.


And last night's "17th hole" performance made the comments of Frank Robinson---who has at least appeared embattled, embittered, upset, and uninspired in recent weeks---all the more poignant:


"It may not look like it on the field," Robinson said. "But I'm with these guys in the clubhouse. They haven't quit. That's the one thing they haven't done."

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