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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nats rally fails vs. Orioles, 5-4 OR "O"h, s"o" cl"o"se

As I made my way into R.F.K. stadium tonight, for game 1 of the "Battle of the Beltway", I had to grab some food before settling in. Having had no lunch, and wanting to enjoy just one beer to relax, I was in dire need of victuals.

I'd stopped to catch up with Rico and buy a couple of "Battle of the Beltway" commemorative buttons, for myself and friends, and found Ellie up at the press cafeteria for a quick chat, so I was off to forage for dinner.

I simply decided to grab a nice sandwich from the Attman's stand, and now that I've had all of their sandwich offerings, I can say that my favorite is their corned beef on rye with a little mustard. Perhaps it's my Irish heritage, but that's become my sandwich of choice. I got to sit with my friends, proceeded to buy a beer from Howard (who I gave a button to since, as The Dude might say, "It really ties his whole outfit together") and began chowing down.

Perhaps it was the excitement of the evenings entertainment, maybe it was just residual stress from a typical Friday in retail sales, but as I began eating my sandwich, I felt a slight bout of dysphagia coming on. I had to find the nearest Men's room and try and get my food either up or down, and quickly.

Unfortunately, as I was trying to get to the Men's room, some fan attempted to ask me where the Diamond Club was. I was only able to gurgle, "Down that way" and point in the general direction of the Diamond Club as I scurried quickly on my way. I felt bad about that. Under normal circumstances, I'd have been only too happy to stop and direct a fan to precisely where they needed to go to, and in the past, I've even been known to walk them to their destination myself. I seem to have this "look" about me, as though I work at the stadium, or else I just project this confidence that I know where I'm going, so people frequently stop me for assistance. Being a reasonably-accommodating soul, I enjoy helping people out, and as a Nationals fan, I feel very strongly that we need to help each other out, even fans of the visiting teams. I want us to have a good, friendly reputation around the league. So it made me feel bad that I was under some duress and wasn't able to help out this fan. Oh, well. I tried my best under the circumstances.

As my discomfort passed, it suddenly occurred to me that my problem resulted from dining upon a sandwich from a BALTIMORE food vendor. Ah, HA! Attempted sabotage! Those cunning Orioles fans had infiltrated the Attman's stand and had attempted unsuccessfully to bring me, and by extension this blog, down for the evening. Thankfully, my superior Nationals-fan constitution allowed me to survive such an obvious attempt at embarrassment, and I prevailed. Not tonight, Orioles fans, not tonight. I'll return to Attman's again and again, I'm sure, but perhaps I'll wait until the Orioles are out of town first.

As it turned out, my gastro-digestive insurgency was an unpleasant foreshadowing of what was to follow on the field. The Orioles gave the Nationals their own brand of indigestion, as the Nats lost, 5-4. At least it wasn't a blowout, and the Nats had several chances, including first baseman Dmitri Young and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman hitting two-run shots to keep the team within spitting distance of a win, but it was not to be. There would be no bottom-of-the-ninth, walk-off heroics from Zimmerman this evening, though his was the final at-bat, and he battled mightily with 2 outs and a 3-2 count and came VERY close to at least tying the game at 5-5. But t'was not to be.

Starter Jason Simontacchi started off well, but faltered a bit in the middle innings, throwing 94 pitches over 6 innings (60 strikes, 64%) allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, and 1 walk, but he struck out 6. The bullpen of King, Abreau, Rivera, Traber and Colome allowed 3 hits, 2 runs and 3 walks.

Ryan Report: Up and down. Church went 0 for 2 but he walked once. Zimmerman went 1 for 4 (but what a one! That 2-run home run!) but had 2 RBI's and walked once, and he made a rare poor throw to first base early on which failed to get a runner out. Langerhans went 0 for 2, and Austin Ryan Kearns went 0 for 4.

There were some on-base mental errors which cost the Nationals, including an odd decision by the speedy Nook Logan, on 2nd and ready to be sent to 3rd by Ronnie Belliard, to stay put, fearing perhaps a play at 3rd. Shortstop Cristian Guzman also blundered in the 5th when he failed to reach 2nd base on a wild pitch, ending the inning.

As Forrest Gump would say, "And that's all I have to say about that."

Now to see if Mike Bacsik can step into Jason Bergmann's cleats and get the Nats a win on Saturday. Perhaps I'll have dinner ahead of time.

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