Friday, May 22, 2009

Pirates-Nationals Notes

Since I was in attendance, I thought I would share my observations from the Tuesday and Wednesday night games between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

- While it would be nice for the Nationals to be successful one day, in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the easy access to tickets. For the third time over the past two seasons, I arrived at the stadium without tickets only to have someone give me two tickets. Not sell me tickets, give me tickets. On Wednesday night's game, I was given tickets in the first row of section 100L (center field not far from where Nate McLouth made the game-saving catch). The normal ticket price is $30 per ticket and we even had someone in this section taking orders and bringing food and drink directly to our seats.

- Speaking of servers, when my friend ordered a hot dog, our server told him a few minutes later that they were out of hot dogs and had to make them from scratch. Do the Nationals have cows somewhere in the stadium ready to become hot dogs? (Just writing this past sentence makes me want to consider becoming a vegetarian.)

- I'd like to thank the Nationals for showing both A. LaRoche and A. LaRoche on the scoreboard. That really helped to differentiate the two brothers.

- Speaking of the LaRoches, what set of brothers have the most assists and put-outs from one brother to another? Our initial thought was Cal Ripken to Billy Ripken, but the LaRoches have to be pretty close, right? Any thoughts?

- Craig Monroe & Christian Guzman had a warm exchange at center field before the game. I feel like you need to know this.

- Pirates third base coach Tony Beasley deserves a lot of credit for Pittsburgh's victory on Wednesday. He made a bold move waving Andy LaRoche home in the fourth and then holding Freddy Sanchez in the ninth. Both turned out to be excellent moves.

- Andy LaRoche should start paying me to attend all of his games. He had three hits on Wednesday and a 2-run homer on Tuesday.

- I haven't watched Jeff Karstens enough this season to know whether this is a pattern, but he looked really good against the Nats the first time through the line-up. The hitters caught up to him quickly during their second go-around.

- There seems to be a lot of discussion from Nationals fans to fire manager Manny Acta. Personally, I don't think it is his fault that the team is so bad. As of a few days ago, the bullpen was on pace to have the worst ERA in the history of baseball. The team's defense is also the worst in the majors. My solution: rehire Jim Bowden as General Manager and then re-fire him the next day.

- The Nationals never announced the attendance at either game.

- Adam LaRoche is clutch in the 9th and 10th innings. He did next to nothing offensively in either game but on Tuesday, he hit a huge two-run double to give the Pirates a 7-5 lead in the 10th. On Wednesday, he was at-bat for the fateful wild pitch that scored the winning run. Coincidence? I say no. He is Mr. Clutch except for the first 8 innings!

- During Tuesday night's game, it would have been helpful to let us know that the Pirates were resting nearly the entire bullpen. Instead, we continually questioned why Sean Burnett and Tom Gorzelanny pitched so much when Matt Capps, John Grabow and Jesse Chavez were all available. This was especially the case after Burnett threw a wild pitch allowing the Nats to tie the game in the 9th.

- I would like to point out the jerk who sat two seats down from me on Wednesday night. He and his friend arrived in the fourth inning and talked loudly during the rest of the game. I'm all for going to a game and talking with your friends. That's part of the baseball game experience. However, he rarely talked about baseball and shifted to topics from naming all the French words he could to something about hanging out with drug dealers at a party. Plus, he also broke out his laptop for a few minutes.

- I wasn't a big fan of the old Screech mascot, but finally got used to him. When the team introduced the new gastric bypass Screech, I wasn't impressed. However, the person inside the costume changed my opinion. I'd share more but I worry what I reveal could be viewed as offensive, when it was really funny.

Overall, it was nice to see so many fellow Pirates fans at the stadium. While I don't recall seeing any Steelers clothing (though I did see one Terrible Towel), there was a handful of Crosby and Malkin jerseys and shirts.

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