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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Capitalize


Game 70: June 23, 2009
WinRed Sox11
W: Manny Delcarmen (2-1)
H: Hideki Okajima (13)
43-27, 3 game winning streak
L: Julian Tavarez (3-5)20-48, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: Tuesday evening featured the first visit to the nation’s capital by the Red Sox since 1971. Nationals Park, which debuted last season, is not as self-consciously retro as other recent parks; there’s no silly hill in center field (I’m looking at you, Houston) or obnoxiously jutting banks of seats (ahem, Phillies). The field isn’t boringly uniform like Rogers Centre and has a just a subtle assymetry in center field. The home plate camera angle should be called Bob Uecker Cam, however.

Even cozy Fenway has a camera bay far below the announcers’ booth. When you can’t distinguish Dustin Pedroia from Adam Dunn you know your camera is too far from the field.

This franchise missed out on a tremendous opportunity to pay homage to the renowned Negro League teams that called the district their home. Washington D.C. had Black Senators (long before there were actual African American senators in the post-Reconstruction Congress), Elite Giants, Pilots, Potomacs, and, most importantly, the Homestead Grays.

I guess marketing “gray” is difficult for your modern advertising executive.

There are three statues honoring significant players: Walter Johnson of the original Senators, Frank Howard of the expansion Senators, and Josh Gibson of the Grays. It’s a shame that the legacy of the Grays is frozen in stagnant statuary rather than vibrant on the front of players’ jerseys day in and day out.

Goodness knows that “gray” is easier to spell than “national,” which would be a relief to the team's equipment manager: no more misspelled jerseys.

In other fashion news, Nick Green, still reveling in his walk-off win, was shown wearing a Yawkey Way Rescue Squad tee shirt during an interview with Heidi Watney. The design was created by Mark Kotsay for the relievers and bench players. It might be the most prescient player-made shirt since Adalius Thomas’s “Humble Pie” line.

Green finds himself in the middle of all the action. In the third Christian Guzman squibbed the ball up the middle. The Red Sox shortstop grabbed it, reached back to tag Guzman, flipped over his counterpart, and then hurled to Kevin Youkilis for the inning-ending twin killing.

Save for Pedroia (3-for-6, 2 runs), Jason Bay (4-for-6, home run), and Jacoby Ellsbury (4-for-4, 2 triples, stolen base), everyone was a little off their game tonight. Kathryn Tappen called Ted Williams “Tom” in her lead-in to a segment on the former Senators franchise. Watney, commenting about Green not knowing his home run won the game, snidely stated, “Well, at least you didn’t lose track of the score like Milton Bradley.”

First: Bradley lost track of the number of outs, not the score. Second: he was on the field, playing defense.

Who let the blondes out?

A power outage at Nationals Park prevented Don Orsillo and Dave Roberts from doing their preview of the game. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised at the logistical shortcomings at Nationals Park; this is the crew that couldn’t deploy the tarp during a rain delay.

Roberts predicted that Josh Bard and Willie Harris were primed for vengeance against their former squad. I tensely watched their at bats transpire, and then I realized that it was Josh Bard and Willie Harris. To their credit, Harris tied up the game in the sixth by doubling in Bard, rendering the score 3-3.

The Red Sox were close to walking the same path of ignominy as the Yankees before them. Then Julian Tavarez remembered his roots and allowed Jason Varitek a sacrifice fly for the lead in the seventh.

The overriding cause of the Nationals’ atrocious record is their leaky bullpen. Where the Yankees failed to score against the likes of Tavarez and Ron Villone, the Red Sox pummeled Nationals relievers for six runs in the eighth. Teddy Roosevelt, pitching from the stretch on a unicycle, had a better chance of shutting down Boston’s formidable lineup.

Nationals Park had a record number of attendees, and the intensity and frequency of Red Sox chants made it clear why the record was broken. It’s just the nation warming up for its trip to Baltimore.

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