Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’
The Nationals are playing a day-night doubleheader today thanks to yesterday’s game being rained out. Sound familiar? It should, since the same thing happened over the weekend—Saturday’s game against the Brewers was rained out, leading to a traditional double-header on Sunday. There are two main differences between the two types: a traditional doubleheader is started shortly after the first game ends and you get two games for the price of one and a day-night double header is just that, one game is in the afternoon and one is in the evening and you have to have two tickets to go to both games.
Yes, the Nationals are playing back-to-back doubleheaders. It’s something of a rarity these days. But it wasn’t always so: the Washington baseball record for back-to-back doubleheaders was set in 1909, when the old Nationals played in eight straight doubleheaders between July 27 and August 5. During this time they swept one, split two and were swept five times, leading to a record of 4-12 in that period. That season, Washington finished 42-110. If you’re wondering: yes, that was dead last in the American League.
If eight doubleheaders played back-to-back makes your head spin, hold on to your seat for this one: The Major League record for consecutive doubleheaders was set by the old Boston Braves back in 1928. From August 31 to September 15, the Braves played in a staggering 11—yes, 11—doubleheaders. That included nine in a row. For that 23-game stretch they went 6-17, but managed to avoid the “last in the League” distinction. That went to the Phillies, who placed last in the NL at 43-109.
We like to think that the Nationals of today can appreciate such historic precedence for back-to-back doubleheaders. Since MLB returned to DC in 2005, the Nationals are 3-3-4 (sweeps, swept, splits) when playing twice in a single day, or 10-10 overall. They are 1-2-3 in day-night doubleheaders and 2-1-1 in traditional twinbills.
It is Bryce Harper day at the ballpark. The Fauxhawk-sporting, black hair dyed, 2010 No. 1 Draft pick officially signed his contract today along with 157 other items: 11 dozen balls, 15 bats and 10 jerseys. He did a photo shoot–it was obvious that this was his millionth photo shoot of his young career. The 17-year-old, would-be-senior-if-he-was-still-in-high-school was a pro. He could have told the photographer how to do his job, not really, but it is only fitting two different people asked facetiously, “So have you done this before?”
What he definitely has done before is take batting practice. Harper took early BP with Adam Kennedy, Justin Maxwell and Kevin Mench while a handful of Nats players, along with the entire Scott Boras camp standing nearby and watching. It wasn’t like watching Josh Hamilton–the king of batting practice shows–but a few shots were memorable. He hit a total of ten home runs in five rounds. He started off with a few bunts to get loose and then he sprayed the ball to all locations of the field. On the final pitch in the first-round, he unleashed the hammer that is Bryce Harper. It was easy to see why he has been labeled the Lebron James of baseball. Lebron James dunks. Bryce Harper hits home runs. He blasted a shot to the third row of section 236–that would be the third deck. It was definitely hard to not think, “Wow, how did he do that?”
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez has been selected by Nationals fans to be featured as this season’s Fans Choice Bobblehead. In his first season in Washington, Rodriguez is batting .295 with 26 RBI and one homerun and has provided a spark to the bottom of the order. The bobbleheads, presented by PNC Bank, will be given to the first 15,000 fans attending the Nationals game on Saturday, August 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
For the first time in team history fans were given the opportunity to cast their votes for their favorite player to receive the bobblehead honor. Voting took place in March and April on Nationals.com. The Fan Choice bobblehead is the last in a three-part series: the first was a Ryan Zimmerman Gold Glove/Silver Slugger bobblehead that commemorated Zimmerman’s unique achievement in receiving both awards during the 2009 season, while the second will feature Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan and will be given out before the July 31 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Free to interpret…
· Ryan Zimmerman will make his first appearance in a Midsummer Classic and will represent Washington in the 80th MLB All-Star Game today at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. He was voted into the game by his fellow players. Cristian Guzman was among the five candidates eligible for the final roster spot via the Sprint Final Vote, but was edged out by the Phillies Shane Victorino.
· A look back at the past Nats’ All-Stars
Year Player At the plate or on the mound:
2005 Livan Hernandez 1 IP, 2 ER on 2 hits
Chad Cordero 0.1 IP, 1 strikeout
2006 Alfonso Soriano 1-for-2 and got the start in left field
2007 Dmitri Young 1-for-1 with a run, 2007 Comeback Player of the Year
2008 Cristian Guzman 0-for-3, ended the season fourth in the NL in batting
SS Danny Espinosa went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts playing for the U.S. in the XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Busch Stadium. The World beat the U.S. 7-5. He is batting .259 (76-for-294) with nine home runs and 41 RBIs in 81 games for the Single-A Potomac Nationals. He is second in the Carolina League with 53 runs scored.
· The AL is 11-0-1 vs. the NL since 1997. The last time the NL won was in 1996 at the old Veterans Stadium 6-0. Mike Pizza went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI to earn MVP honors.
The last time the All-Star Game was in St. Louis was 1966, the original year Busch Stadium opened. A lot has changed since then… in 1966 Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson led their respective leagues in home runs and RBI, a gallon of gas was $.32, the median cost of a house was $23,000, a dozen eggs were $.60, a postage stamp was $.05 and Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax were the highest paid players making $125,000. They made $677,714 adjusted for inflation … just a little less than the $28 million A-Rod brings in this year.
· President Barack Obama, an unabashed Chicago White Sox fan, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight. He is the fourth sitting U.S. President to throw out the first pitch at the Midsummer Classic joining John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. President Obama is the seventh U.S. President to attend the All-Star Game. The first U.S. President to attend an All-Star Game was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.
The Midsummer Classic on July 12, 1966 started at 1 p.m. and the temp soared to 105 degrees for the start of the game. You can count on former St. Louis Cardinals catcher and 1966 NL All-Star Tim McCarver, calling his record-extending 18th All-Star Game, to make more than one reference to the ’66 game tonight.
“I remember guys stepping into ice buckets with their cleats on,” McCarver said. “When I relieved Joe Torre of his catching duties in the 8th inning, I said, ‘You holding up alright, Joe?’ and Joe replied, ‘Yep, only had to take 12 salt tablets today.’”
· The MLB All-Star Game is the highest-rated All-Star event among major sports for those keeping track:
Program Network Rating
2008 MLB All-Star Game FOX 9.3
2009 NFL Pro Bowl NBC 5.4
2009 NBA All-Star Game TNT 4.5
2009 NASCAR All-Star Challenge SPEED 2.4
2009 NHL All-Star Game Versus 0.6