Category Archives: Mr. Walkoff

For posterity, Ryan Zimmerman’s walk off

I was on vacation, off the grid, etc. last week, so I missed Ryan Zimmerman‘s latest walk-off home run, to beat the New York Mets, his first since 2011. I was getting concerned — he was overdue.

Zimmerman earned the nickname Mr. Walkoff on Opening Night 2008 when he christened Nationals Park and I came up the the nickname on the spot. Friday night’s was his 9th game winning home run of his career. The all-time record is 12 with has tied the all-time record for walk-off home runs with Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Jim Thome all sharing the record. Zimmerman is 28 years old. Zimmerman has also beaten every NL East team via walkoff now.

The day before, Bryce Harper hit his first walkoff homer to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates:

I can’t say I was surprised to return to BeltwayLand to see the Nats under .500. While I was out, Rick Eckstein got fired, Drew Storen got demoted and Steve McCatty was hospitalized. It is probably for the best I was out to sea for the week.

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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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Nats: Mr. Walkoff returns! Ryan Zimmerman’s grand slam beats Phillies 8-4

Yesterday, I was thinking about how pathetic Ryan Zimmerman‘s Walk-Off total was in 2011. Foolishly, I didn’t tweet it, Facebook it, etc.

The Washington Nationals scored two runs in ninth and loaded the bases. Zimmerman had a 3-2 count with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with , game tied with Ryan Madson pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies:

Just in case that video gets pulled (which it will) here is the MLB.com link.
I like the look back to the dugout, I wonder what he was talking about with his teammates prior to his at bat.

The blast was Zimmerman’s 8th career game-ending home run which is why he’s called Mr. Walkoff. I named Zimmerman that on Opening Night 2008 when he inaugurated Nationals Park with a walk-off. Zimmerman is now 66.6% of the way there to the all-time walkoff record shared by Jim Thome, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth who all have 12. By the way, it’d be nice if the Nats would acknowledge I created the nickname.

You have to like What Zimmerman had to say about the situation too: “The pressure’s on him, man,” Zimmerman said. “It’s not on me.” as quoted in Adam Kilgore’s great write-up: Nationals vs. Phillies: Ryan Zimmerman hits walk-off grand slam to cap Washington’s improbable rallyThe Post

Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington described the scene this way: “The entire marathon night had come down to this singular moment, a moment that would leave mere mortals shaking with trepidation but incredibly leaves Zimmerman in his ultimate comfort zone.”

The Nats had rallied back from a 4-0 deficit. The Phillies had tagged ¡LIVAN! for 4 runs in the third inning. He’d only go one more inning because he had thrown a tremendous mount of pitches:

Amanda Comak of The Wash. Times Zimmerman’s walk-off grand slam lifts Nats to 8-4 comeback win over Phillies noted that: “Hernandez threw 85 pitches during his pre-game bullpen session, nine in the game, roughly 35 in the cage four different times during the rain delay and 30 pitches to warmup once the delay concluded. Then he threw 59 more in the game — seven of which were hit in the third inning to help the Phillies to a 4-0 lead. By the time Hernandez was done for the night, he’d thrown over 300 pitches.”

Phillies starter Roy Oswalt got scratched without throwing a pitch and was replaced by Kyle Kendrick. Overall, ¡LIVAN! had very active night:

Tom Gorzelanny allowed only one hit in 3 innings of relief. Sean Burnett and Todd Coffey both pitched scoreless innings with the latter earning the win.

Game 2 of the series is tonight with John Lannan set to face Roy Oswalt. Lannan has some better numbers 8-8, 3.54 ERA than Oswalt 5-7 3.84 ERA, but the Phillies own Lannan. The season series and thus the Cheeseteak/Half-Smoke Challenge is at 7-5 in favor of the Phillies. A Nats sweep this weekend, however unlikely, would tie it up.

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Hey Nats, how about a little recognition for coming up with the Mr. Walkoff nickname

Next week, the final Washington Nationals T-Shirt Tuesday giveaway features a Mr. Walkoff t-shirt. Being that I created the Mr. Walkoff nickname for Ryan Zimmerman back on Opening Night at Nationals Park in 2008, perhaps we should have a little talk. Clearly, this is a pretty good nickname as there have been others who thought the nickname I came up with was t-shirt worthy.

Feel free to contact me wfyurasko at gmail dot com.

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Did you know Ryan Zimmerman is more than halfway to the walk-off record?

On The Early Lead, Cindy Boren notes that Minnesota Twins slugger Jim Thome, has tied the all-time record for walk-off home runs with Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Babe Ruth. That is pretty good company and along with nearly 600 home runs makes Thome a Hall of Famer in my book. Anyway, the local angle is that Mr. Walkoff, Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals, is half way to that milestone. I don’t want to jinx him, but Zimmerman has 6 walk-off home runs in less than 6 seasons. UPDATE & CORRECTION: Cindy reminds me that Zimmerman beat the Phillies on a walk-off on July 31 when I was down the Shore, raising his career total to 7 in less than 6 years. Sorry for the omission folks, this is why I don’t take a lot of vacations from blogging.

Speaking of Ruth, some color photographs of his final appearance at Yankee Stadium are now up on the Life magazine site. Amazing — I’m not sure I had ever seen Ruth in color before when I think about it. I know that I have never seen Lou Gehrig, whom I blogged about last night, in color.

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Mr. Walkoff returns! Nats beat Padres 6-5

Ryan Zimmerman must really want to go to the All-Star game.

Since being selected as a candidate to the NL’s final vote for the All-Star game, the third baseman has been on fire. Last night, he did what he does best — hit a walkoff homer (nationals.com video, SHUT UP DIBBLE), winning another game (The Post) for the Washington Nationals in dramatic fashion. Last night’s walkoff was his sixth in about 5.5 MLB seasons. The victim: Luke Gregerson of the San Diego Padres. Zimmerman hit another homer earlier in the game. He’s still the face of the franchise (Nats Insider).

Zimmerman’s heroics would not have been necessary had Tyler Clippard not destroyed a fine start by ¡LIVAN! — 7 innings of 2 run ball in 99° heat. Clippard promptly coughed up 3 runs to tie the game. Ian Desmond contributed to the mayhem with another error off a poor Cristian Guzman feed. Desmond atoned for it by throwing out the go ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth. Desmond also homered earlier in the game.

A strong ¡LIVAN! outing and a Mr. Walkoff appearance are two of my favorite Nats events; too bad there had to be a lot of aggravation in between the two.

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MR. WALKOFF! Ryan Zimmerman hits another walkoff homer to beat Marlins

Zimmerman’s Walk-Off Home Run Lifts NationalsThe Post
Walk-off shot lifts NationalsThe Wash. Times
Ever since I assigned Ryan Zimmerman the nickname of Mr. Walkoff seconds after he beat the Atlanta Braves on Nationals Park Opening Night in 2008, he had not won a game with a walkoff home run. That streak, along with the Washington’s recent 8 game skid, is thankfully over. For the fifth time in his first four full seasons, Zimmerman ended a game with a home run. This was the third such occurrence against the Florida Marlins.

I’ve been at two of Mr. Walkoff’s game winners which is only 40% of them now. Most have been on special days — July 4, Father’s Day, Opening Night and now the day before Labor Day. I guess since the Nats are not playing today for some reason, he moved it to yesterday.

VIDEO

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This week’s Mr. Walkoff is…Wil Nieves?

NATIONALS 5 CUBS 3
Nieves’s Homer in 9th Wins It for NationalsThe Post
Nieves walks off an unlikely heroThe Wash. Times
Just what the Nats Nieves: A win streakThe Free Lance-Star
Nieves’ first career homer sinks Cubs in 9th inningChicago Tribune
Missed opportunitiesChicago Sun-Times
C Wil Nieves is 30 years old and has only 162 at bats as a major leaguer. Last night he hit his first home run in dramatic fashion, a two run shot to break a 3-3 tie and win the game for Washington in the ninth.

Austin Kearns, who was benched last night, singled as a pinch hitter in the ninth and was technically the winning run.

Probationary Period Is Over For DukesThe Post
Dukes to start his rehab stint with PotomacThe Wash. Times
Troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes no longer has any legal clouds hanging over his head. While on the DL, he completed community service requirements for his weed convictions at a Tampa Bay area zoo. He got to clean out cages there which probably is not much fun.

Dukes will start his rehab assignment in A-Potomac which should be called Prince William again.

Boone not playing, wants a jobThe Free Lance-Star
Bret Boone wants a job in the majors, not AAA. I’m sure he will have more luck with organizations that don’t have his father making decisions in.

THOMAS BOSWELL – Mound of concernsThe Post
Bos thinks that we could be in for a long summer if Shawn Hill and Chad Cordero cannot get healthy. I think he has a point about Cordero, but given that Hill has about six wins in his career, I can’t feel the same way. It would be great if Hill could get on track, but how can we miss what we never had?

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