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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Roadkill OR No Easter miracles for Nats

On my way into Lot #8 today, I noticed that the cars in front of me were avoiding something in the roadway. A dead squirrel.

Roadkill. Not a good omen for a struggling team.

I got there sort-of early today, optimistically thinking that the temperature at game time would be around 50 degrees. How wrong I was. The "unwelcome visitor" from the last few nights , Old Man Winter, just couldn't get out of town for our matinée game.

No sign of Rico - perhaps he was in church or with family for the holiday? I saw Ellie, though. She was glad to be inside the press cafeteria, staying warm.

I wandered around the stadium a bit, reorienting myself for the new season. This was the first game that I've had a chance to just explore a little and make mental notes of where the best beer selection is, and what all the food options are.

I went back to the Attman's stand for lunch and today I tried the corned beef sandwich, and it was hot and delicious. Both last night with the brisket and today with the corned beef, I added Gulden's mustard to them and it made a nice difference. Attman's really has solid options to having yet another hot dog. They get a good grade from me.

After settling in with Screech's Best Friend and Sohna nearby, I tried my best to get into this game, but it wasn't so easy. The cold was distracting, and there just weren't enough compelling situations on the field to keep me riveted, although there were a few. Thus, the Nats suffered their first series sweep of the young season.

The Nats had their chances today, they really did, but they just didn't get the hits they needed at the right times. They stranded several runners today, and they had almost as many hits as the Diamondbacks, but without run results. Austin Kearns saved the shutout today driving in a run on his 5th hit in 16 at bats. A different day, a different hero. Now THAT'S teamwork!

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Shawn Hill's fine performance on the mound today. He was much more effective today than his first outing last week. It also made me think of a new Washington, D.C. wrinkle to the classic Abbott & Costello, "Who's on first?" routine:

Abbott: "Who's on the mound today?"
Costello: "Hill."
Abbott: "Okay, sorry, who's on the hill today?"
Costello: "Shawn is on the mound today."
Abbott: "I thought you just said it was a hill?"
Costello: "It is. Shawn."
Abbott: "Shawn is on the hill today?"
Costello: "No, Shawn is on the mound today."
Abbott: "So, who's on the hill?"
Costello: "Congress, but they're out of session for Passover and Easter."
Abbott: "How did Congress get into this?"
Costello: "You brought it up."
Abbott: "I brought it up? All I asked was, who's on the mound today?"
Costello: "Hill."
Abbott: "Sorry, who's on the HILL today?"
Costello: "Congress, but I thought we were talking baseball?"

Well, you get the idea. I could go on and on with this, but I hardly possess the comic genius of the immortal Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

"Teddy" got off to a good start out of the gate in today's "Rushmore" race, but he got distracted by the Easter bunny and he ran into the stands trying to catch the fleet-footed critter. The REAL Theodore Roosevelt would have pulled a revolver out of his belt and fired a shot at his quarry, but in today's post-9/11 world our Teddy was forced to pursue this distant cousin of Harvey on foot. Perhaps his old police commissioner instincts got the better of him. In any event, "George" pulled out his first win of the season.

I found out what some of the vendors do when the Nats are on the road - they go up to Camden Yards to vend, if the Orioles are home. Howard will be vending at Orioles Opening Day Monday, and he told me that, between these two teams, he'll be able to vend possibly as many as 140 games this season.

I actually have high hopes for the Nats road trip to Atlanta and New York. I think that the Nats batters might have a little better luck with a change of venue. Hopefully, the weather will be a little more conducive to baseball, too.

I hope that a day-off will do the Nats some good, too. I'd prefer to not have to use the "roadkill"metaphor again this season.

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