Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Original National League team that relocated from New York City for the 1958 season. They play in AT&T Park.

That time Rafael Soriano ruined my son’s first Nats game

Good turnout
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Nationals were on a five game winning streak going into yesterday’s series finale against the San Francisco Giants. Dan Haren continued his solid pitching, giving up a mere solo home run over six innings. The Nats scored 3 runs off of Ryan Vogelsong in the 3rd, but only managed 2 hits after ending Vogelsong’s day in the 4th. Fernando Abad and Tyler Clippard kept the 7th and 8th scoreless. Then Rafael Soriano came in, gave up a hit and a walk. Then it got really ugly.

With two outs and a full count, PH Hector Sanchez pulled the ball towards the foul pole, but not far enough for DC fans. Sanchez hit his fourth career homer in 297 at bats over three seasons. Soriano blew the save and cost the Nats a six-game winning streak, series sweep and a most importantly, a win in my son’s first ever game.

Now, the blame isn’t all on Soriano, outgoing manager Davey Johnson put him for the third day in a row ahead of a seemingly important series in Atlanta tonight. Still, Soriano’s the goat here because he walked Roger Kieschnick, a rookie hitting .250 too.

Then again, Haren did strand six runners in his first two at-bats…

I’d be more upset if the playoffs were still a factor and if it weren’t such a perfect day for baseball and time spent with my family. My son, who followed the lead of the Nats bats and napped for the 6th through 8th innings, was disappointed to see the Giants pull ahead after he woke up. I consoled him with the knowledge that the first time I went to a baseball game, my team lost (Royals over Yankees on Old Timers Day) and at my first Nats game they lost too (Opening Day 2005 in Philadelphia). However, if he decides not to become a baseball fan, I’ll forever blame Soriano.

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Bryce Harper in 2013 Home Run Derby; Harmon Killebrew vs. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in the 1960 TV version

Bryce Harper in the cage
Tonight is annual Home Run Derby as part of the All-Star Game festivities at Citi Field New Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.,. Bryce Harper will be the first Washington Nationals representative in the Derby and his father, Ron, is pitching to him (The Wash. Times).

Err, let’s hope not. I’ll have more to contribute to the Nats’ 1st half later in the week.

Before becoming part of the All-Star experience, “Home Run Derby” was a 1960 television show hosted by Mark Scott. Sluggers from both leagues played against each other, though not necessarily interleague. The venue was Los Angeles Wrigley Field, long-time Pacific Coast League home of the Los Angeles Angels and for 1961, the expansion A.L. Angels’ home. From the Wikipedia entry:

The rules were similar to modern home run derbies, with two notable exceptions. If a batter did not swing at a pitch that was in the strike zone, that also constituted an out. Also, the contests were conducted in a more similar fashion to a baseball game than the modern home run derbies, where a player has a set number of outs before his turn is over.

Batters were given three outs per inning, and the player with the most home runs after nine innings won. The defending champion had the advantage of batting last; his opponent batted first. Any ball not hit for a home run was an out. The player did not have to swing at every pitch, but if he did not swing at it, and the pitch was in the strike zone, that also constituted an out, as did a swing and a miss, but these rarely happened as the pitcher was supposed to be giving the batters good balls to hit. If the players were tied after nine innings, the Derby would go into extra innings as per regular baseball.

Harmon Killebrew was featured on the show twice. The first was against Mickey Mantle, a returning champion.

Killebrew unseated Mantle and won the next week, beating out Rocky Colavito. Ken Boyer ended Killebrew’s first run.

Later in the series, Killer returned and lost to Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants.

Jim Lemon, another Senators outfielder, appeared on the show twice but lost to Hank Aaron and Mays, respectively.

Back to the present, I got to see Harper take batting practice last year. He tends to hit line drives about 200 MPH more than he hits towering fly balls. I hope he approaches it that way. If he wins great, but I’m not too concerned. Just don’t mess up the swing and don’t get hurt, pretty much my hopes for any Nats All-Star.

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Nats finish dark West Coast swing of the soul with 2-1 win over Giants in 10

The Washington Nationals finally won again, beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 in 10 innings. I missed out on the last two innings because I went for a bike ride.

The Washington Nationals just completed a miserable road trip out west with a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. It was their first win since last Friday and only fourth of a 10 game trip. The offense struggled, scoring two or less runs five times and getting shut out twice. They were blown out three times, by each of the teams the visited. The Natmosphere, upside-down avatars and all, wasn’t too happy either. Ryan Matteus broke his pitching hand punching a wall. Yunesky Maya got called up. The Nats just seemed to find ways to blow every close game, so I didn’t feel bad about “leaving early” for a bike ride last night. I’m glad to have blown it, because I was tired of the Nats blowing it. The broadcasters deserve hazard pay for that California trip.

Let us never speak of this road trip again.

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2013 Nats vs. Giants Q&A and prediction with my friend David

That was a weird weekend for the Washington Nationals. After taking the first two of a four game series at the San Diego Padres, the Nats lost a tight one on Saturday evening. They didn’t hit (recurring theme) and when they did they ran the bases poorly. Jordan Zimmerman got a hard luck loss — 8 inning complete game (85 pitches) with the winning run coming after he threw a pick-off away. Sunday, Dan Haren put them in a 3-0 hole early and it just got worse, a 13-4 loss and series split.

Now, the Nats are finishing up their California trip with a 3-game series in San Francisco. Mercifully, the last two 10:00 or later starts are over after tomorrow. They face the defending World Champion Giants and as always, I’ve invited my friend David to talk about them like he did in 2011 and 2012. I’ve included some notes he shared with me late last week before asking some questions:

The Giants are a baffling team at the moment. The pitchers keep getting rocked with long balls that always seem to come in clusters. Cain gave up two bombs in one inning last night and then another one inning later. I think much of baseball is randomness and deviation or reversion to the mean. Cain for many years had a spectacular ratio of fly balls to home runs. It appears that is working its way to the league average in a terrible hurry.

What has been so fun about this team is they are actually starting to hit consistently. They are putting up over 5 runs on the board with regularity. That never happened in the 2010 season and happened in 2012 only from the All-Star Break onward. It has allowed for many exciting comebacks and a few terrific walk offs. Last night was no exception: down 6-0 after two or three innings and they managed to win the game.

I had a nice moment on (last) Wednesday. I went to this delightful diner/shack on the Embarcadero for a burger and a coffee for lunch. When I left I started to walk down the Embarcadero back to my office. Brian Sabean, the Giants GM, was walking the other way to the ball park. I gave him a thumbs up and he responded with a head nod. It was a pleasant little exchange. Then a few hours later the Giants gave up 11 runs to the Blue Jays.

Now, on with the questions:

WFY: Looking at the standings, I see the Giants are in the third place with a 24-20 record (better than the Nats) and a 4-6 skid (just like the Nats). The whole team wore high-cuffed pants as a slump-buster yesterday and it didn’t work. Is there a bit of concern about the overall team?

WFY: I know there is concern about Tim Lincecum — what’s going on with him? Bad mechanics, too skinny, other issues (Editor’s note: not an endorsement, just a link)? How long is he signed for?

DFS: I believe this is the second of Lincecum’s two arbitration years. After this season he will be a free agent. Lincecum has no command. Batters know to take pitches and draw walks. Then he pitches out of the stretch and his 89 mph fastball gets killed. The loss of velocity has hurt him badly. His reliable out pitch used to be the changeup, but that’s not terribly deceiving when there is little difference between the changeup and the fastball. An interesting stat on Lincecum is looking at balls in play. He gets batters out exclusively with strike outs. If the ball is in play, it is a hit. I felt for a while that that was just randomness and would self correct. Now I’m not so sure. I’ve stopped wondering or caring about what Lincecum’s problem is. The most creative excuse is that he has stopped smoking dope during the winters, due to more regular drug testing, with the result of him putting less weight on during the offseason. In any event, he is not the pitcher he once was nor do I have any notion that he will be again. The fans love him for nostalgic reasons, but he is a liability on the staff.

WFY: How is Barry Zito doing this year? Does anybody still care that he has a big contract that he hasn’t lived up to?

DFS: Zito started out very strong. After the first few rotations, he and Bumgarner were the only two starters that seemed to have a chance to go 6 innings. He has reverted to the mean and had a few poor outings recently. There is next to no ill will towards Zito from the fan base over his contract. Of course, he has been grossly overpaid, but over the past few seasons the Giants haven’t been in a situation where they lost bidding wars to keep other great players. For instance, they recently shelled out ton of money to Cain and Posey. Also, Zito was electric in the playoffs last year. The win in Cincinnati and Game 1 against the Tigers had Giants fans chanting “Barry!” His RBI in the World Series had to one of the great moments of collective joy that I experienced during the Series. He also handled being left off the 2010 playoff roster with dignity. As crazy as it sounds, the Giants could very well sign him again at the end of the contract.

WFY: I haven’t kept up, but what’s the situation with closer (former closer?) Brian Wilson?

DFS: Wilson is not on the team. He pitched in one game in 2012. He had a second Tommy John surgery and evidently there hasn’t been much interest in him league-wide. The team clearly committed to sticking with Sergio Romo as its closer during the off season and hasn’t looked back. During the Wilson Era, Romo played the role as set up man and/or right-hander specialist. I enjoyed Wilson’s flamboyant personality and his antics, but he was a Mitch Williams-style, take you to the brink and walk the bases loaded, strike out the side type. My aging heart can’t take much more of that. I would have thought he would be popping up locally in lots of ads, radio spots, TV bits a la a recently departed Theismann or Riggins, but he hasn’t.

WFY: What’s the best way to get to whatever phone company the ballpark is named after this week? How is the beer and food at the ballpark? Are craft brews hard to find like they are a lot of parks? What’s the signature foodstuff? Are the hot dogs any good?

DFS: I like to walk to the park. I work in the Financial District. It is a pleasant walk to the ball park from the office. Public transportation options are good as designed on maps, but the practical reality is the ride to the ballpark is sweaty nuts-to-sweaty butts. On the 100 level, craft brews are probably easier to find than macrobrews. In the view reserve, there are fewer beer options, but there’s no problem finding the San Francisco standbys like Sierra Nevada.

The signature food is probably garlic fries. I tend to limit eating at the ball park to hot dogs. The food generally is decent. I tend to just stick with beverage. I think I’ve written to you about this before, but AT&T Park could be a little jarring at first for an East Coast sports fan back in 2003, accustomed to the Spartan offerings of RFK, Veterans or Shea Stadium. Bread bowls and sushi at the ball park felt hopelessly out of place and indicative of a stadium experience for non-fan sports fans. But, in fact, the offerings merely reflect what Californians and San Franciscans like to eat and, more importantly, people’s willingness to not restrict themselves to the limited choice that traditionalists allow.

WFY: Is San Francisco a Giants town or a 49ers town? With both teams playing for the title last year, either way it has to be a good time to be a San Francisco sports fan.

DFS: Tough question. Particularly tough for a transplant who has been here for only 10 years. Before Jim Harbaugh took over, I would have said that San Francisco is a Giants town. You see more Giants hats, sweatshirts, colors every day than you do Niners gear. I think a big part of that has to do with the fact that the Giants play every day. Living and working in the city you see people going to the games. In the morning, you’ll see people with their gear because they are going to the game that night. The Niners play 8 home games a year and they play in a place that everyone drives to.


WFY: Are you enjoying Bay Lights (LED display on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge)? Have you seen them from the ballpark while attending a game?

DFS: I can see the Bay Bridge from where I live. So, it has already become wallpaper for me. I loved the white lights on the Bay Bridge. The dancing lights seem like a logical, natural extension of that. I’ve been to three games this season thus far. But from where I was sitting I didn’t see the Bridge. AT&T Park has a nice democratizing dynamic in that that the cheapest seats have the best view of the Bay.

WFY: Is there any excitement for the Nats coming to town? I mean Zach Duke, yes, ZACH DUKE, is starting for the Nats tonight…

DFS: I don’t think so. The Giants just finished a road trip in which they went 1 and 5. I think people would be excited if they had a three game set against a cream puff. This team really needs to win a series. The Nationals are a good team and my recollection is that the Nationals have gotten the better of the Giants in the past few seasons.

WFY: Your prediction for this series and the season series?

DFS: Nats win this series and the season series.

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Day baseball! Nats-SF Giants rubber game at 3:45, a brief mention of Strasburg shtudown

Yay, we have day baseball today, after all those late nights. The Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants on TV – MASN2 or if you are outside of the Nats footprint, MLB TV has it. Sadly, my office has neither station, so MLB Gameday Audio is how I’ll listen to it initially. Stephen Strasburg vs. Tim Lincecum.

After a 14-2 win Monday night, the Nats fell 6-1 yesterday. Drew Storen had a bad outing out of the bullpen.

By design, I haven’t mentioned much about the Strasburg shutdown — I accepted it unemotionally last September when it happened to Jordan Zimmermann. Thomas Boswell has a big column about it (The Post) today that is actually worth reading. There is a little on GM Mike Rizzo who is making the decision (or taking responsibility for it) — he’s in charge and he’s taking the heat/glory. Whenever his tenure ends, he’ll probably have few friends I bet, but he will probably be respected if the team wins a pennant or two.

By the way, I wonder if Boswell talked to Strasburg’s dad about the anecdote mentioned in the article.

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Alexandria Dukes, Potomac Nationals and a little irony

The Potomac Nationals have been through several incarnations in the 4 decades they have played in Northern Virginia. Last Friday, the P-Nats commemorated there tenure as the Alexandria Dukes by wearing and wore 1978 replica uniforms. They wore a blue, orange and white combination , as seen in this Baseball Reference Dukes entry. At some point, they also wore a blue, white and orange cap with an A. That season, the Dukes played as an independent. In ’79, they were the Alexandria Mariners. In ’80 they would be an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, even wearing a black and gold pillbox cap with an A on it while restoring the Dukes name. I remember a neighbor having an Alexandria Dukes pennant too.

The Dukes played in Four Mile Run Park. I don’t know if the current baseball diamonds reflect what the facility was during the Dukes days but if so, wow, that’s pretty spartan, even for the Carolina League in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They moved to Prince William County in 1984 and became the Prince William Pirates. Then, they affiliated with the New York Yankees and became the Prince William Yankees (I remember the interlockling PW on pinstripes — sharp) before becoming the Prince William Cannons. Then they became the Potomac Cannons and finally, after becoming an affiliate of the new Washington Nationals they became the Potomac Nationals.

Seemingly, the change from Prince William to Potomac was to make the club more marketable to Northern Virginians in Fairfax and Arlington counties. I always thought it was silly and kind of disingenuous since Pfitzner Stadium is probably over 10 miles away from the Potomac River. The P-Nats are trying to move into a new facility at Stonebridge near Interstate 95 (insidenova.com). That would be considerably closer to the Potomac River, but if I were Prince William County, I would make them switch back to the Prince William name in order to get any funding, site approval, etc. We’ll see.

So, what is the irony I mentioned in the headline? The Four Mile Run home of the Alexandria Dukes was actually just a few miles from what was once known as Potomac, Va. That town, created in 1908 was annexed by the city of Alexandria in 1930 according to Wikipedia. The “Potomac Cannons/Nationals” would have made more sense in 1978 than it does now.

By the way, I’d be tempted to buy a Dukes cap with the “A” and maybe even an “ALEXANDRIA” road jersey if they ever had them since I live in the city. I’d also be tempted to get a “PRINCE WILLIAM” road jersey if they change back for obvious reasons.


MEANWHILE, IN THE BIG LEAGUES

The Washington Nationals have gone 9-1 over the last ten games with only a Sunday loss to the Houston Astros halting the streak. Last night, the Nats scored a couple of touchdowns on the San Francisco Giants (mlb.com video) to take that season series with two games to play. The gained another game on the Atlanta Braves in the NL, who are 5½ behind. DC will need every win they can, this won’t get an easier. Tonight is the last West Coast night game of the regular season and tomorrow is a 3:45 p.m. start. Thursday is an off day. A homestand starts on Friday night with the New York Mets in town.

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2012 Nats vs. Giants Q&A and prediction with my friend David

After too long without a guest prognosticator, the series returns with my friend David, a native-Washingtonian living in San Francisco. Previously we talked about his San Francisco Giants as well as the 49ers whom he did not adopt. The Western division leading Giants visit D.C. this week for a series with the Washington Nationals, leading the Eastern division.

WFY: Last year you mentioned that a World Series hangover was okay. I guess they are getting over that now — they are in first place without Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum being ineffective for the most part. Are the Giants lucky/streaky or do they have a real shot at taking the division?

DS: I don’t think this team is streaky or lucky. They have a very real possibility of winning the division. Cain, Bumgarner and Vogelsong are going to give the team lights out performance each start. Lincecum and Zito are totally unpredictable at this point and they will likely be difference makers if the team succeeds this year. I expect Lincecum to regress to the mean and improve; I expect the same for Zito with the result being the opposite.

I actually think that Arizona represents the bigger threat than the Dodgers–although the Dodgers were playing out of their minds in April and May.

WFY: With Wilson out, how has the bullpen held together?

DS: The most dominant pitcher in the Giants dugout is Romo. He can be just electric. I love watching him throw his slider. During the 2010 season he was the 8th inning setup man consistently with Wilson coming in at the ninth. With Wilson out the team has used Santiago Castilla almost exclusively in the closer role. I was surprised by that, thinking that Romo was the clear choice. Castilla has blown two of his last three save attempts after being fairly reliable earlier this year. Now the team doesn’t have anyone in the setup role. If you see Clay Hensley or Jeremy Affeldt enter the game you should be happy. I’m still not convinced Hensley is a major leaguer. Affledt has his moments and was great down the stretch in 2010. I think that bought him goodwill that should have expired. I don’t buy his stats either. He’s the type of reliever that comes in with two men on, gives up two runs then closes out the inning without taking on an earned run. The team just brought up Brad Penny–a blast from the past. We’ll see how that goes. They’ve filled in the gaps with the likes of promoted minor leaguers. So the bullpen should be the week link, but it has not been to my happy surprise.

WFY: Lincecum pitched better in his last start, but overall he’s been a real liability. What happened to him and was it “overnight” or were there warning signs?

DS: That is the question that everyone is talking about. The two most common theories are that (i) he is underweight and that his cost him power in his legs and (ii) he is injured. I’ve watched a number of his starts. Several of his terrible 3 or 4 run inning performances have included unfortunate balls getting through. That’s just baseball. That has diminished his confidence and he hasn’t been challenging batters that he should be challenging. The loss in velocity though is a problem, given that his best asset has been his change-up. But if you go back to those bad, bad starts he was still striking guys out. I expect that he going to fare a lot better in the coming weeks. I read somewhere a quotation from Tom Seaver saying that skinny guys don’t last long (I assume he made some qualification for Randy Johnson). He suggested that Lincecum needs to bulk up. Roy Oswalt questioned Lincecum’s fitness and training work ethic last year. There may be something to that. By comparison, Bumgarner and Cain are just horses.

I think Lincecum has turned a corner but will likely struggle in DC: he is from Washington state and is accustomed to throwing in the cold to temperate San Francisco climate. He notoriously hates hot weather. That doesn’t bode well given the recent weather you’ve been having.

WFY: What was the reaction to Matt Cain’s perfect game last month?

DS:
Huge story. Already a centerpiece of local media and Giants advertising. I was in a bar for pub trivia and watched the game there. The bar was focussed on the game and lost its mind when Blanco made that outrageous catch. From the 8th on people were cheering after each strike–this is people at a bar that are there for another reason. It was awesome. The pub trivia came to a halt as people called their friends and loved ones and generally hooted and hollered. The Giants have great fans.

Incidentally, the headline on Bloomberg the next day was “San Francisco pitcher throws perfect game.” Cain did make an appearance on David Letterman however.

WFY: How has the Giants offense been?

DS: I really like the offense. There isn’t much power in the line-up. That is the big weakness. But having two and a half threats in the heart of the order that are switch hitters (Cabrera, Sandoval and Pagan) gives the team tremendous flexibility. AT&T Park is a difficult park to hit in. My own theory is that Posey takes a different approach at home. Most of his power numbers come on the road. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits at least one out in DC–assuming he is in the lineup each day. The team has finally made a commitment to its young first baseman (Brandon Belt) and we’re starting to see results.

But ultimately this is a pitching and defense team. The thinking being if they score 2 or 3 they should win. That hasn’t worked of course when Lincecum or Zito give up 4 runs in one pop. So, you see a fair amount of base stealing and sacrifices, which is fine with me. I’d take that any day over watching 40 year old DHs swing for the fences without any situational awareness.

WFY: The July 4 game starts at 11:05 EDT/8:05 PDT a.m.. Are you even going to be awake before the game ends? Should the Giants be hosting a July 4 game instead of traveling or does it not matter?

DS: I guess I’ll catch the last two or three innings on the radio. I like when the Giants play in other ball parks at higher profile times. For people on the East, the NL West games start at 10:05 and ESPN typically doesn’t provide much coverage during Sportscenter because it requires live editing when they already have enough material for their hour. Consequently, I don’t think a lot of sports fans know that much about this team other than fantasy people. (I suspect the same is true for the Mariners, Angels, As, Padres and, to a lesser extent, the Dodgers).

Actually, does ESPN still broadcast two games on Wednesday nights? I don’t think they even do that.

As a continuation of our East Coast bias email conversation, I was surprised that Sports Illustrated didn’t run a story about Cain. This week’s edition was almost entirely basketball coverage. The only baseball story of note was a profile on Giancarlo Stanton. Last week the baseball story was Andrew McCutchen. Both are great players, but I would have thought Cain would have gotten more than a glossy photograph with a caption that said nothing more than he pitched a perfect game. In the 80s a perfect game would have been a cover story. Now it isn’t even covered.

WFY: Does a team really need two road uniforms? Do you like the new “headspoon” piping on the SAN FRANCISCO jersey? What about the fauxback SF one?

DS: I’m afraid I don’t know what headspoon piping is. To be honest, most of the Giants coverage is on cable. So I follow mostly on the radio. I make a point to watch when the games are on local TV, but those are almost always home games, and head to the corner bar to watch other games probably once a week. But I haven’t focused much on the road jerseys. I have noticed on a few occasions going with the SF logo the chest rather than “San Francisco”. I like the nod to the Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Kevin Mitchell days. But I like that jersey as exactly that–a throwback. So, I would like to see it used sparingly with the classic uni worn on most days. I hope they stay away from the cursive late 1970s early 1980s home jersey.

No team needs two road uniforms. Every team needs marketing opportunities.

I heard on the radio that the As will be having a 1950s throwback night. That will probably represent the only chance I ever have of seeing anyone wear a Kansas City Athletics jersey. Be on the look out.

WFY: Who is more popular, the 49ers or Giants? Has that changed during your time in San Francisco?

DS: When I moved to California the 49ers were at the end of the Mooch era and were about to embark upon a long road of bones and tears that included both Norv Turner and Mike Nolan. I sympathized with the fans as they were experiencing what Redskins fans had been going through since 1992. It definitely felt like this was a Giants town and people adored (and later apologized for) Barry. But I probably see this through skewed lens as I adopted the Giants within a relatively short time, but still don’t consider myself a 49er fan. (Incidently, in a fit of Youtube boredom recently I listened to a Vin Scully call of the 9th inning of a Koufax perfect game. It was great. I followed a link to “The Catch” drive and was pleasantly surprised to find that Vin Scully called that game. I don’t remember him calling NFL games when we were kids. He must have done NFC West games, which weren’t televised in the DC area as our afternoon games were always AFC West. Or maybe I was so accustomed to hearing him call baseball games that I never even noticed.)

But after 2010 the Giants’ popularity has blown up. When I listen to road games on the radio I can here the “Lets Go Giants!” chant. When they play in San Diego, Giants fans outnumber Padre fans. They recently played up in Seattle and Giants fans took over the place. That’s a phenomena that seems wholly uncommon in the NFL other than maybe when NFC East teams play in Washington.

That said, the town got really energized by Harbaugh and the 49ers became a hot story throughout last season. And then that game against the Saints will go down in the annals of NFL Films as another amazing fourth quarter even without the scandals of Gregg Williams. One interesting angle is that the 49ers have moved to Santa Clara. That can only distance themselves from the city. Whereas on game days, commuters high five people headed to the Giants games and there is black and orange all over downtown.

WFY: Fist pump cam?

DS: I think it has hung around because there is an old lady that is a season ticket holder that loves it and the fans go crazy for her when she’s on the screen. This is emblematic of the current stadium experience. I recognize that the club sees its job as providing entertainment and overcoming the reputation of baseball as slow and boring. But I happen to like the pace of baseball and I would enjoy the experience more if there was less blaring of advertisements or excuses to put fans up on the jumbotron. There is now a ritual after each inning–a kiss cam, the fist pump thing, singing Don’t Stop Believing, a stupid animated race between cable cars, kids announcing the batting lineup, fans answering trivia questions, etc. I guess I’m in the minority that the game, a beer and a hot dog are enough for me. Another thing is that I go to between 3 and 5 games a year. The fist pump cam made me chuckle the first time I saw it last year. Now I’m ready for it to find a quiet place in the pasture.

WFY: Who takes the series this week and the overall season series?

DS: I’m a little overoptimistic here, but I think the Giants win 2 of 3. If the Giants take this series, then I think they take the season.

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Hey, a Nats post!

Since I last blogged about the Washington Nationals, they finished 6-5 on a western swing, splitting with the Arizona Diamondbacks (lots of HBP on both sides), losing 2 of 3 to the San Francisco Giants and taking 3 of 4 from the San Diego Padres. They are about halfway through an odd stretch of schedule that has very few games starting at the same time on the same day. Starting tomorrow, the Nats next four games are at 7:05 p.m., the most consecutive days with the same start since April. The St. Louis Cardinals arrive tomorrow for a 3 game set.

Livan Hernandez has at the very least, kept company with some shady figures. I fear it is worse than that after reading this story from The Wash. Times.

A block W is in the book! The Nats wore 1936 Senators uniforms on Saturday (The Nats Enquirer) and beat the Padres. Yes, Charlie Slowes did alter his post-game greeting.

After the Nats lost to the Giants on Thursday afternoon, Beck’s “Loser” was played on the radio broadcast. A trypical response? I haven’t really be able to find out which is good news.

Is it just me or do most Michael Morse home runs happen in losing efforts unless they come late?

Jordan Zimmermann is establishing himself as a very good pitcher. – The Nationals Review

Several weeks ago, I was worried John Lannan might be pitching his way out of the rotation/city/baseball. He’s been lights out since then. Thomas Boswell made the case for the Nats locking up Lannan in his chat today.

Realignment is being talked about again and I’m against any move to take the Nats out of the NL. I hate the DH. Not surprisingly, a former Nats GM has a stupid plan that I regret clicking through on.

I feel no need to offer analysis of Bryce Harper.

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