Nats: Where is Mr. Walkoff? Big Train, cortisone, A-ha, flag bet

Something was missing from the 2012 Washington Nationals season – the annual Ryan Zimmerman game-ending home run. A walk-off. Zimmerman has hit at least one annually starting in 2006 when he homered off Chein Ming Wang on Father’s Day. He then hit one on July 4, 2006. When he christened Nationals Park with a game-winning home run on Opening Night 2008, the legend only grew and I named him Mr. Walkoff. Or Mr. Walk-Off if you prefer hyphens. He’s come through with one annually. Until this year. More reading before Game 3, the first playoff game in Washington, D.C. since 1933…

79 YEARS IN THE MAKING, 3 MONTHS IN PREPARATION

Nationals Park staff has been preparing for the big day since JulyThe Wash. Times

Mr. Gambino said his work to prepare the stadium for its first postseason game was similar to readying the riverside facility for Opening Day.

The difference, he explained, is that around the All-Star break in mid-July, Major League Baseball issues binders “with various requirements for the postseason.”

“That ranges from ticket requirements to hospitality and broadcasting, field preparation, things like that,” Mr. Gambino said. “Obviously, this year we need to pay close attention to it, so right after the All-Star break we started regular committee meetings, and as our season became more and more successful, it broke into subcommittees.”

The months of preparation winnowed down to weeks. Finally, last weekend, Mr. Gambino’s crew put the finishing touches on the ballpark.

FRANKS!

WALTER JOHNSON’S DAUGHTER AND A NEW MEMORIAL

Big Train Is Still RollingThe Times

Now, Washington is in the National League and its Nationals will play here Wednesday afternoon in Game 3 of their division series against St. Louis. It will be the first postseason baseball in this city in 79 years, and Johnson’s daughter, now 89, is following along avidly.

The little girl turned great-grandmother represents one of the last direct connections to her father’s life. Her only remaining sibling, Edwin, died at 94 in August. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, no one is alive now who played in the major leagues when Johnson pitched and managed.

Thomas watches many Nationals games on television and reads newspaper articles about the team, which relocated here from Montreal in 2005. A color photograph of the rookie outfielder Bryce Harper graces her living room mantel, next to a stuffed-eagle doll in a Nationals uniform. On a nearby bookshelf rests a baseball signed by the team’s former first baseman Dmitri Young. “You are the sweetest lady,” Young wrote on it.

She’s not a fan of the statue of her father in front of Nationals Park.

The Johnson statue, situated in a Nationals Park concourse and depicting the pitcher releasing the ball with multiple arms, should be done in “with an acetylene torch,” said her son, who was visiting on the day his mother was interviewed. He was not smiling.
The Nationals are making amends. They now plan to dedicate an eight-foot-tall Johnson monument, a replica of the one that President Harry S. Truman unveiled at Griffith Stadium, then the home of the Washington Senators, in June 1947. It was shortly after Johnson’s death. The original monument now stands at the entrance to Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md.

BOB SCHIEFFER

Bob Schieffer on 79 years without playoff baseball in D.C. on Face the NationNats Enqurier


MAMA DON’T TAKE MY CORTISONE AWAY


Cortisone: Is it worth the shot?
- USA Today
GOOD: Zimmerman’s season was saved by cortisone. NOT SO GOOD: Carlos Beltran‘s may have been as well. The St. Louis Cardinals outfielder hit two home runs on Monday.

Hasn’t anybody done the obvious “Kodachrome” parody?

TAKE ON ME

‘Take On Me’ becomes a Nationals battle cryThe Post
If the Nats make the World Series, A-Ha might show up. They are pleased with Michael Morse’s at-bat music.

IAN DESMOND CAN’T DO IT ALL HIMSELF

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond finally has a big stage to show off his talentsThe Post
Desmond can’t do it all though.

MAYBE HARPER CAN HELP
Bryce Harper’s wild rideESPN
He’d due for a breakout game.

MAYOR GRAY IS A BIG FAN

Playoff has extra meaning for Nationals’ No. 1 fan — D.C. Mayor GrayThe Wash. Times
Mike Rizzo leaves voicemails for Mayor Vincent Gray, who is a big fan.

The Wilson Building (city hall) has the red lights on for the playoffs:

An interesting mayor’s bet with St. Louis is happening too –

In D.C.’s baseball bet with St. Louis, flags are on the lineThe PostThe terms are these: Should the Cardinals somehow take three of the four two of three remaining National League Division Series games from the Nationals, Gray will fly the official St. Louis flag above the John A. Wilson Building for a day. Known as the “three rivers” flag, it alludes to the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec rivers near St. Louis.

Should the Nats win, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) will, for a day, fly a D.C. flag above his own City Hall — and not the official D.C. flag, but the modified version with “Taxation Without Representation” written on the two bars of the Washington arms.

That’s a little bit different from the half-smokes-for-toasted-ravioli bet you might have been anticipating. Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said comestible-based gambling is “played out”

Comestible-based gambling is NEVER played out. Why not do both? The flag idea is pretty sharp. I’m sure Mark Plotkin is a very excited boy, he might not even yell at any co-workers or service employees today.

TODAY’S USA TODAY COVER STORY
Strasburg shutdown? Not exactly (video)USA Today
You really need to see Stephen Strasburg with his eyed glazed over playing Call of Duty.

PLAYOFFS ARE GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Nats playoff run sets off millions in spendingThe Wash. Examiner
$$$ for DC

GAME IS AT 1:00 ON MLB NETWORK
I don’t get it at my office either. :( Charlie & Dave it is…

Edwin Jackson vs. Chris Carpenter

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