Ok, it wasn't stormy, and the incandescent glow of the stadium lights ensured the night was not particularly dark. But dark was the offense. Perhaps that's because whole baseball seasons passed between Livan Hernandez pitches. Perhaps because the dripping heat was an oppressive dictator who whipped and tortured the bats of the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Club. Perhaps it's because I'm back in the country and the Reds have decided to continue to be the team of old. Perhaps it's because of what they saw at Walter Reed earlier in the morning.
And Jonny, oh, Jonny, you have lost two games in a row with your - how should I put it? - shitty, shitty defense. As a hopeful spectator sticking to a leftfield seat, I saw clearly The Play That Ended the Game. It seemed like the life of the team was sucked out as that ball hit the ground. It was Stubbs' ball. It was any centerfielder's ball on any team of any level anywhere on the planet.
Of course, if The Shadow of Aaron Harang hadn't walked Reincarnated Livan Hernandez earlier, the outcome of the game could have been different. Alas, Livan trotted down to first, the Nationals scored a run, and the game was tied, setting the stage for The Play That Ended the Game. I can't say Harang was bad - four runs is not Miltonesque - but his lapses are killing him. Maybe he needs Ritalin. Ok, yes, yes he was bad. Ninety-eight pitches in only four innings.
I hate to say this, but I can't wait for the day Aroldis Chapman replaces him in the rotation this season. We could really get some decent prospects for him come July.
Third baseman Scott Rolen awaits the outcome of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's at bat. There's some real talent in this picture. I wonder - is Scott Rolen a Hall of Famer? His career line at this point is .284/.370/.500/.870. He is currently four homers shy of 300 (in the Steroid Era). He has 1166 career RBI. Then there are the Gold Gloves - seven of them. Of course, there's the injury factor. I don't know. There are only ten third basemen in the Hall of Fame.
I think Zimmerman will get there.
There's not much else I can say about the game. It was dull. It was hot. It was disappointing. I mean, come on, my first game of the season, the one thing that is supposed to console me after having to return to the US, and Can't Catch Gomes and The Shadow of Aaron Harang had to go and blow it.
Oh, and what is with Nationals fans being so arrogant after a win? The Nationals have sucked for their entire existence save a few months in their 2005 inaugural year. I actually said "Which of these teams is in first place?" to one asshat who felt the need to heckle me on the Metro. Yes, yes, I know the Hated Deadbirds have temporarily recaptured first, but I had to make a point. It's been six years, and DC folks still don't know how to root for a baseball team.
Hopefully Leake will get it right tonight.
A few more photos: