Monday, October 6, 2014

Final Report

Our nation's Capitol Dome from Nationals Park.

The stadium was designed by Populous, which is what HOK Sport is now called, as have been all the newer "retro" stadiums.  It opened in 2008. 

As with the Phone, it is open and accessible.  It is hard to tell the barriers that actually define the stadium as you walk in off of the street.  Between the 2 block walk from the Metro Station and the park, there is an outdoor area surrounded by stacked up boxcars in which they sell beer, some food and has bands and a big screen set up for these games.  As can be imagined for a playoff game, it was a very festive mood in the boxcar area and as you approached the stadium.  Guys drumming on plastic pails, a dixieland jazz band set up on the sidewalk, guys on stilts, guys on bullhorns encouraging everyone to repent, and an unrelenting sea of red.

Not too many Giants fans, but I have to say that we were treated well (perhaps it helped to be walking next to my friend and host, who is just large enough to give one pause).  I was a bit surprised that I was not engaged more in conversation as one of the few black and orange clad spectators, but neither was there the kind of nastiness that one can expect in, say, southern California.  I saw one Pirates fan who looked a bit out of sorts.  Our seats were what would be the equivalent of the View Boxes at ATT, right behind the Giants' batting circle.  Excellent seats.  You know how the announcers complain about the location of the press box here?  It's true, I was way closer to the ground that Jon, Kruk and Kuip who I could see in their window.  Unlike ATT, however, the concourses are wide and movement is easy, and the seats can accommodate the generally heftier bodies in this part of the country.  What was crowded, however, was the Metro Station.   There is only one stop at the ball park and after the first game, it was pretty tight until trains gradually moved people away.  After the second game, many fans had left as it was in the low 40's.

The pace of the first game was not brisk.  Both Peavy and Strasburg piled up the pitches, unlike both Hudson and Zimmerman.  I remember looking at the clock in the second game, at 5 minutes before 8 in the middle of the eighth inning and thinking that we could probably get to dinner near my friends house in Virginia by the same time we did the evening before.  That did not prove to be the case.  I was very impressed with Hudson.  I did not expect more than 5 innings out of him.  I think that is an example of where a seasoned manager can make a significant difference - I like the roster construction that gives us plenty of long relief without burning through starters.  When Williams replaced Zimmerman with  (and it was a mistake, part of the deal with managers is that they get judged in hindsight) Nats fans looked at each other - he was the same guy who blew the save against the Cardinals two years ago (although he had an impressive season).  The home run by Harper to the third deck was impressive, Nats fans had said they had never seen one that far.  Strickland used mostly fastballs, although his slider is perhaps his most devastating pitch.  You don't want to give Harper enough pitches to time a fastball, even a 99 mph one.  That is why he needs a change up or something.  Later, I was remarking to my friend about Belt's power to right and how he could put one out there, although I wished it for quite a few innings before it happened.

Quiz: Do you know what they refer to the Nationals logo as?  The curly W.  That seems to be an official thing.  It was a delightful weekend, and I am not normally a spontaneous type of person. The Nationals are a powerful team, with a deep rotation and lots of hitters.  We saw 27 innings, 8 runs total, and fortunately, 2 wins for the Giants.  I would have been thrilled to get a split.  And as the lady on Southwest Airlines said, "Welcome to San Francisco, Go Giants."


Zo said...

I dropped a word: Williams replaced Zimmerman with Storen.

Orioles vs Kansas City! Isn't that delightful.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Fabulous write-up, thanks. I would have been upset if all we'd gotten were pictures and laconic quips.

Way to represent, man!


Zo said...

On the Jumbotron Saturday, they showed a fan holding up a sign that said, "Hunter Pence loves taxation and hates representation." Sadly, this seems to pass for humor inside the Beltway.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Funny thing about the Storen move--it was defensible. I liked it at the time because Zimmerman was unhittable and I figured anyone was better for the Giants to have a chance! Williams will catch a lot of flak for it but it wasn't egregiously bad. I think the problem was he had his mind made up that one baserunner meant "go to the 'pen" and he followed his script. It's not that the script was bad, just that sometimes you have to improvise. I think I'd have let Zimmerman pitch to Posey, but work carefully, then bring in a lefty to turn Sandoval around if it came to that. And you'd still have Storen for later.

Great game, lots of stories and "what-ifs".

Ron said...

If the Giants close this thing out, there has to be some great quip coming about Belt & the Beltway - maybe there already has been one.

I am in Vancouver, BC (what an awesome place), & the blog address comes up as ''.

Great post, Zo - so happy you made the trip! You may have to go tonight, you know. They so clearly need you!

Brother Bob said...

Great stuff; thanks.
My imaginary theory is that Posey would have homered if Zimmerman stayed in, and everyone would have wanted to crucify Williams for not using the closer.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Wow, what a stupid play by Bumgarner. I'm in shock. You HAVE to go to first there. You HAVE to get the out. Even if he makes a perfect throw the chances of getting the runner there are very low. With men on 2nd and 3rd you can pitch carefully to the #8 hitter and if you load the bases you get that DP chance back. Plus it would have forced the Nats to think about a PH for Fister. Man, I can't believe that decision. And why wasn't Posey pointing to first and calling the play.

Damn. And the Giants haven't hit for shit today. Damn.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

FYI, according to the after-game report, Posey said that he was the one who told Bumgarner to throw to 3B.