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.
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…
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.
Frank Robinson throws ceremonial 1st pitch for Game 3, Frank Howard for Thursday’s Game 4. #Nats#Cards#MLB
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.
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?
An interesting mayor’s bet with St. Louis is happening too –
In D.C.’s baseball bet with St. Louis, flags are on the line – The 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.
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 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. TimesZimmerman’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.
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.
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.
Zimmerman’s Walk-Off Home Run Lifts Nationals – The Post Walk-off shot lifts Nationals – The 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.
Dukes will start his rehab assignment in A-Potomac which should be called Prince William again.
Boone not playing, wants a job – The 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 concerns – The 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?
Metro was very crowded on the way in, but efficient.
I like the walk down Half Street with the balloons and all the bunting. Everything looks good on Opening Day/Night.
Security lines were not bad when we went through.
I walked around the stadium taking photographs, which I will upload tonight. Some seats have Capitol dome views, while others don’t. It is very unfortunate that the neighboring high-rise got approved not long before the ballpark site was selected.
I respect that the President throws off the mound, unlike most politicians. I did not cheer or boo, though both were done by many.
Why did P Matt Chico think he was the tallest major leaguer ever during introductions?
Where was Charlie Brotman? Is he “retired” from any ceremonial duties?
P Odalis Perez was solid, if unspectacular. He did his job — keep that Nats in it long enough to get to the bullpen.
The first inning was great, 2 runs and forcing Tim Hudson to throw something like 35 pitches. Little did we know that there would not be any Nationals hits for the next 23 batters. Any Nats batter that faced four pitches felt like a miracle after the first inning.
SS Cristian Guzman got the first hit and the first run; good for him. He made an error later though.
I had forgotten how painful it is watching 1B Nick Johnson run the bases.
Johnson’s defense was quite welcome though, I mentioned to Fritz that “Dmitri Young doesn’t make that play.”
We were sitting in 203, the mezzanine along the third base line — we liked our seats.
A co-worker, who has never been to a Nats game, asked “did Teddy win?” No, of course not.
The scoreboard is pretty, but not having replays was disappointing.
For the third time in four openers, the visitors wore alternate jerseys. UniWatch didn’t like that at all. Neither did I.
RF Austin Kearns make a great play off the wall early, hitting the cutoff man who flipped to second for an out. His defense is an asset, and hopefully his offense will be too. His introduction music isn’t.
CF Lastings Milledge usually gets a bad jump on the ball.
The curly W clock next to the scoreboard is hard to read.
While a lot of people leaving early made it easy for me to get out, they missed a good and fairly quick ballgame.
I am going to strongly insist Ryan Zimmerman be called Mr. Walkoff. You should too.
With RFK dimensions, it would have been a 2-0 game.
“Sweet Caroline” was played in the middle of the eighth inning. Sigh. No “Bustin’ Loose” after Mr. Walkoff‘s homer.
I had a hot dog and a half-smoke (with chili, onions, mustard) from the nearby stand. Thumbs up on all accounts. Had to settle for Bud Lite though.
I like the park, but I don’t know that I can decide if I love it until I see a day game.
The ride back was pretty good, we got the first train out of Navy Yard and switched a L’Enfant with about an eight-minute wait.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ryan Zimmerman sent a telegram to the baseball world this evening: “I am Mr. Walkoff.” The fourth-year third baseman did with a ninth inning solo home run into the left field seats. His homer won the first game at Nationals Park for the home team. This may be even better than his Father’s Day 2006 home run to beat the Yankees or July 4, 2006 homer to beat Florida.
I think they cheated us out of hearing “Bustin’ Loose” though.
I will have more to say tomorrow, though possibly not until lunch. I’m tired and hoarse from yelling “Mr. Walkoff.”
UPDATE 6:27 p.a. Monday morning Video of the homer, courtesy of Awful Announcing.