Monday, May 16, 2005

40,000 Guillen Fans Can't Be Wrong

I was in the Nats Blog seats for yesterday's tilt with the Cubs (leaving SuperNoVa a sparkling 4-0 when attending Nats home games), and much enjoyed the Nats' squeaking victory over the Cubs.

What will probably be lost in the box score - even the ERV box score - is the value of Jose Guillen in right field. I know that DM gave Jose Guillen credit for his play on Lee's drive to right center. Mostly deserved, although I think about 50% or more of Major League right fielders make that play. But perhaps a more meaningful play occurred in the sixth inning. Here's the sequence:

J Dubois doubled to deep center, J Burnitz scored.
J Macias fouled out to third. [making the second out]
R Cedeno singled to right, J Dubois to third.

From my perch in the Nats Blog seats, I could tell that Dubois (pronounced Du-BOYS, not Du-BWA, I've learned) got a pretty good read on Cedeno's hit and a good jump off the bat. He was essentially rounding third as Guillen was preparing to field it. My initial reaction was that he would score easily - especially with two outs. But the pure intimidation factor of Guillen's arm in right field stopped DuBois from even taking the chance. I would say he would have scored on perhaps 90% or more of MLB right fielders (but probably not Ichiro or Vlad). But Guillen's right arm was enough to convince DuBois and the Cubs' third base coach not even to attempt it.

It's a subtle thing. But in a one-run game, that play is the difference between winning or going to extra innings.

On Lee's Drive Caught At The Wall:

I play a lot of softball, and therefore see a lot of home runs flying over fences. When he hit it, Lee's ball was gone. I know them when I see them. Somehow, RFK kills home runs at the fence - they simply die out there. I don't know if it's the configuration of the outfield and the upperdeck blocking wind patterns or creating a dead air flow, but I can tell you that his ball was a home run in pretty much any other park in the league. This underscores my preseason prediction that RFK will play as a pitcher's park.

Game Notes:

Another hazard of going to a (near) sold out game: the concession stand near our section not only ran out of the Ice Cream of the Future (causing the future Ms. SuperNoVa to speculate that it's because of the high cost of time travel), but jalapeno peppers for the Nacho Grande. What an outrage!

I missed Nick Johnson's home run because of the aforementioned shortages. Damn it. Damn it all to hell!

On Politics And The Nats Games:

Between innings, James Carville was shown on the big board and was booed (he took it well, laughing). I don't get that. At Nats baseball, we leave our politics at the entrance gate - we must unite behind the team. And unless he was wearing a Cubs hat, he shouldn't be booed. (Mary Matalin, his wife, went to the same high school as SNV, and is likely a Sox fan, if she has a baseball rooting interest at all). In fact, although I disagree with his politics, I have new respect for Bob Novak, who shows up at a lot of Nats games and keeps score. Now that's a baseball fan.

Merciless booing of Linda Cropp, however, is always acceptable.


At 10:40 AM, Blogger DM said...

See my comment in the discussion of the sac bunt -- that may be the hardest skill to put a value on.

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Sam said...

I was sitting halfway down the firstbase line and I too was sure that ball was gone. Positive.

Think about how much of that ball Nick Johnson must've gotten to reach the top of the outfield wall.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Yuda said...

The thing I'll give Linda Cropp, though, is that unlike Catania, Fenty, Barry et al, she shows up at the park and takes the boos with her head held high.

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous DMCj (f/k/a conNATSlurker) said...

That's because our scorn is politically useful to her ... we might be booing her but she's got her eyes on the people who aren't at the game.

That said, I'm kind of rooting for her to be Mayor ... if for no other reason than Selig isn't.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Brian said...

I think the DC mayoral race should always be settled with a cage death match. DC could raise huge $s selling the PPV rights for the chance to see Linda Cropp blast Anthony Williams with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire

At 2:54 PM, Blogger John IV said...

James Carville got booed not because of politics.

He got booed because the stadium cameras had a bunch of cute kids with an "I love Nationals" sign in the "Fan of the Game frame on the videoboard for the entire skit, and then when the fan of the game announcment was made, they switched to James Carville and announced his name.

they should have kept the camera on the kids.

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

He got booed for politics. That's the same reason he got the cheers.

And the only reason he was put on camera was because they knew he'd get a reaction out of the crowd, because of politics. (He knew he'd get booed too -- he loves the role of the villain, and he was clearly eating it up)


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