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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Baltimore Birds beat Backsik, Bowden's Boys 3-2 OR 11-inning ignominy

Oh, the shame of it all. "Charm City" takes a series from "Shangri-La on-the-Potomac".

For the second straight evening. the Washington Nationals lost a 1-run game to their regional rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, this time in 11 innings.

Nats starter, lefty Mike Bacsik, who was called up from AAA Columbus to fill in the battered starting rotation, actually had a very good night, throwing 94 pitches for 63 strikes in 6 innings (67%), allowing 5 hits but no runs, striking out 1 and walking 1. Welcome back to "The Show", Mike, you can pitch like that for us anytime.

The Nats scored on Nook Logan's first double and first R.B.I. of the year in the 2nd inning, driving in Ryan Church.

The bullpen of Rauch, Cordero, Rivera, Abreu and King did well for the most part, allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks and 3 strikeouts. Winston Abreu took the loss, and Jon Rauch had the blown save.

Ryan Report: Sadly unimpressive tonight. Church went 1 for 3 and had a run, Zimmerman went 0 for 5, Langerhans did not bat, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 4 but was walked once and had a run.

My friend Randi came down from Baltimore to join me for the evening, and we got to the park early and got inside to get to the fun as soon as possible.

Last night was Geico red visor night, and Randi and I got into the gate a couple of moments too soon because just after we got in, up came Ryan Langerhans and Austin Kearns at the Main Gate, and Ryan Church and Ryan Zimmerman at Gate A. We got some photos, which I'll post later but, alas, none of the photos involve either of us with a player. I don't believe that the club wanted more than a moment's interaction between these guys and the fans, but it was fun to see them all the same, and I'm sure some kids got the thrill of their young lives being handed a new red Nats visor from a real major-leaguer. Kudos to the club for continuing to get these players involved with the fans, we sure appreciated it.

We checked in with Rico, our favorite program vendor and learned the sad news that yesterday was to be his last as a stadium program vendor. I wanted to find out why he was leaving but there were far too many fans coming in and we didn't want to interrupt the flow of commerce, but I am very sad to see Rico leave. His booming voice could be heard all over the stadium, even in the parking lots sometimes - Ellie in the press cafeteria told me that she could even hear him from the press cafeteria ladies room!. To me, Rico was like the welcoming committee, the ambassador of ballpark cheer, Every time I heard him unleash a booming, "PROoooooOOOO-GRAMS! BASE-BALL, GET'CHER PRO-GRAMS!", I have to admit, it got my blood running, It let me know that I was finally at the ballpark and got me in the mood for fun. I wish him nothing but the best, and I am very sorry to see him leave. I'm sure that he will be missed by many fans.

We sat with some friends I'd made last year, Kate and Zeke, who wrote a wonderful piece for the Washington Post Metro Section a few weeks ago about my buddy Myron, who ushered the previous two seasons. I'll have to post that link sometime. The usher in their section these days is Tim, a very engaging guy who seriously enjoys his job and was fun to talk to between on-field action.

Randi and I got a pleasant surprise when the Nat Pack, led by the irrepressible Clint, sat down in our row to conduct the PNC Bank "Guess the PIN" with a happy group of 20-somethings. Clint sat two seats away from me, and before he could say even one word to the attractive young lady who he chose to be his contestant, she BOLTED to the other side of her friends, seemingly mortified at the thought of being on the scoreboard camera. Perhaps she was just shy, but she encouraged one of her friends, an equally attractive young lady, to participate in her stead. Here's how the contest works: There are 4 numbers in the PIN, and they give you the first number (let's say it's the number 3). Your job is to guess if the next number is higher or lower. If you guess correctly, you continue until you get all 4 numbers, if you guess incorrectly, you lose. The crowd around us got into it and encouraged her, and she DID guess all the numbers correctly and won $50, receiving a hearty round of applause. When she and her friend sat back in their original seats, I told the first young lady that her friend owes her a cut - hey, it WAS her seat, after all, right?

I got to talk to Clint a little bit before the contest started. He's an incredibly engaging guy, very high energy, and friendly, and it's plain to see how he got this job, he seems born for it. Given that he gets to work with several of the prettiest young women in the stadium (our Nat Pack is second-to-none in that regard) I offered to fill in for him if he ever gets sick. No, I won't be sitting by my phone expecting a call anytime soon., they can do better than me if that's ever necessary.

The "Rushmore Four" came in tonight on Segways, and it was kind of a hoot. "George" won again, as "Teddy"'s seemed to run out of juice.

Another first in Nats history tonight (as far as I can tell). The first bozo-fan to climb over the rail and onto the field during play. It happened in the bottom of the 7th and, fortunately, didn't last long, as he was quickly escorted out. I couldn't see him very well, so I don't know if he was drunk, confused, or just a jerk, but I have to wonder, what in God's name was he thinking, assuming that he WAS thinking? That the club was going to give him a chair to sit in? Did he do it on a dare? It can be kind of scary when that happens, you never know if you have some crazed nut with a grievance against a player acting out. He seems to have been mercifully removed without incident.

Randi and I had the Super Dog hot dogs, hers with ketchup, mine with ketchup, mustard and relish, Boardwalk Fries and sodas. I bought my one beer of the game from Howard and enjoyed the nice, if slightly breezy, spring weather. We also explored the Team Store a bit before the game and Randi bought me a very early birthday present, a nice white polo shirt with some red and blue horizontal stripes and a curly "W" on the chest. Very nice!

I had to visit Screech's Best Friend and the African Queen for a moment, as I'd found an empty plastic beer bottle for the African Queen to bang on the seats during the rally. She doesn't drink, so she's always hoping to find one to use, and she was happy to get it. It does make a distinctive sound, I can see why she likes using them.

After the game, I was pleased to run into MASN's Bob Carpenter. I introduced him to Randi and we chatted for a few moments. He's an awfully nice guy, and it's always a pleasure to speak with him. Out in the parking lot, we also ran into Tom, the camera operator from the booth who I'd met last season, and Joe, who also works up in the booth, and then we saw MASN's Johnnie Holliday and Ray Knight. That was a whole lot of fun, as we got to chat with both of them for a bit. For me. it's a real pleasure to get to meet these folks, since I spend literally hundreds of hours watching them on T.V. (because I also record the games that I go to and review them, you see) and I enjoy having the opportunity to thank them for their fine work and show them my appreciation. Folks, let me tell you, our television broadcast crew and staff are all great people. They broadcast out of Baltimore right now, but it is my understanding that they are trying to get studio/broadcast facilities here in D.C. to be closer to the games and the community. I'm sure that we'd all enjoy their closer proximity.

Today we try to salvage some pride and take the rubber game. Relief-man Micah Bowie will join the starting rotation and take the mound for this game, while the "fractured four" are recovering from their various injuries.

Randi and I will be there - will you?


Anonymous said...

Hey man, I was looking all over the internet to see if someone posted anything about the guy that jumped on the field. My friends and I were sitting right behind first base and saw the guy come down the aisle, climb on the dugout and then just hop down like it was no big deal - then he walked out towards the field very non-chalant. He was real calm, and didn't look pissed - but just kinda bummed that security came to get him. He definitely looked like he was high on something - and he had an unopened can of Budweiser in his right hand. Oh yeah... and he was a VENDOR! Red Polo shirt and apron. It was pretty funny - stupid, but funny.

Joe Riley said...

That's what my friend Randi said, that the guy looked like a vendor.

We were out past 3rd base and didn't have the best view of the incident, but Randi saw him and I was still focused on the pitcher.

Thanks for filling me in, I was curious as to what I'd missed. Naturally, they never show this stuff on T.V. I wonder if anyone with a video camera or phone camera got a picture? I'll have to ask some vendors what happened to the guy and who he was.

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