During August, I’ve seen four major league games in four different cities and was able to cheer four home teams to wins.
For the Nationals, they are on a ten game winning streak. Five of the last six have been by walk-offs.
Last evening those two streaks converged.
Candice and I had tickets for Thursday’s late-afternoon game between the Nationals and Arizona. The Nats came into the contest having won 9 in a row, including a terrific walk-off win the night before. We arrived early enough to pick up our Ian Desmond bobble-heads (Desmond is the one to the right of catcher Wilson Ramos in the photo at the top of the post) and with great anticipation for another magical evening.
But while picking up the Desmond bobble-head was easy enough, the Nats needed someone to pick up their offense. They hit well enough – until a runner touched second base. Then the Diamondback pitchers all turned into Cy Young. Twice the Nats left the bases loaded, for crying out loud.
But in the bottom of the 9th of a scoreless game, the magic began.
With one out, Denard Span – who is finally playing like the complete baseball player we all hoped he would be after we sent Michael Morse to Seattle – got a solid single, keeping that .300 batting average on the rise. With Anthony Rendon at the plate – the guy who won the previous night’s game with a walk-off hit – Span stole second to get into scoring position. It was absolutely the right move at the right time, keeping the pressure on the Diamondbacks. And they crumbled under the pressure.
Rendon hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Jordan Pacheco, who threw the ball past first baseman Mark Trumbo, allowing Span to score the winning run.
As usual, Tom Boswell has the best advice for Nats fans:
Pay attention. This doesn’t happen every decade, even every generation. Wherever you sit during Washington Nationals games, on your favorite couch in front of the TV or in the bleachers on South Capitol Street, don’t change seats. Eat the same pregame meal. Lucky charms — don’t lose ’em. How far can this thing go?
Nothing in baseball is more pure summer fun, mixed with just enough tension to be deliciously fretful, than a long winning streak.
Nothing, indeed – unless it is mixing that streak with a bucket list road trip and seeing baseball in four wonderful stadiums (Cleveland, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Washington) with your daughter and wife.
As the signs at AT&T Park in San Francisco demonstrate, baseball is a game for memories. And this has been a great month for making more baseball memories.
Let’s keep it going, Nats!
More to come…