Maybe it was the full harvest moon over a packed Nationals Park on Friday the 13th.* Perhaps it was the insertion of Jason—the villain with the hockey mask from the Friday the 13th movies—into the President’s Race. (He favored Teddy for some reason unbeknownst to me.)
Who knows for sure . . . but it was a weird night at the ballpark. Beginning with the national anthem.
Did I mention that Washington was highlighting National Truck Driver Appreciation Week? Well, the singer of the Star Spangled Banner was a trucker who brought his guitar to the stadium. After strumming the opening chord, he sang an enthusiastic—if not exactly on-key—version, which would have been okay if he had dropped the idea of bringing the guitar back into play while still singing. Suffice it to say, our friend did not quite match the pitch of the guitar at the end of the anthem, which I could see coming. It was a “don’t give up your day job” moment.
While it was a Friday night in September, it was not just any Friday night. No, I don’t mean that it was Friday the 13th (although it was). It was “Tony Two Bags” bobblehead night! And the crowds were lined up at 5 p.m. when the gates opened.
Nats fans love Anthony (Tony Two Bags) Rendon. The nickname comes from his ability to hit doubles all over the yard (not to mention home runs). Yet we are afraid because of the inherent cheapness of the Lerner family, owners of the Nationals, that we may be seeing the last month of this MVP-caliber player in a Washington uniform. Losing Tony would be devastating to our fan base.
Unfortunately, on his bobblehead night, Tony could barely get the ball out of the infield. Among the weirdness from the night is the fact that Tony Two Bags—who is leading the league in hitting—had two infield pop-ups, a line-out to left field, and a strikeout. Perhaps the fact that the team arrived back in DC from a rain-delayed late-night game in Minneapolis at approximately 7 a.m. on game day had something to do with it.
The Nats couldn’t catch a break all night. When they hit balls hard, they were right at a Braves fielder. Rookie Mike Soroka was dealing for the Braves, and his fine effort was backed up by the Atlanta bullpen.
Finally, I’ve often said that when I attend a live baseball game, I usually see something I’ve never seen before. Last night, it was watching an umpire throw the first base coach out of the game. You read that right: not a player or the manager, but the first base coach! Here’s how Washington Post beat reporter Sam Fortier described it:
“Frustration, caused by a lack of sleep or not, spilled over in the eighth inning. Howie Kendrick thought he checked a swing, and first base umpire Tim Timmons believed otherwise; Nationals first base coach Tim Bogar agreed with Kendrick. Bogar argued until Timmons ejected him and Martinez sprinted out to corral his coach. The manager later said he thought his coach was protecting the player because Kendrick had yelled down the line at Timmons.”
Weird. Just weird.
The Braves are a very good team. So we need to go back out and battle them again on Saturday.
Play ball—weirdness or not!
More to come…
*The Nationals announced a sellout but not every seat was filled. It was still great to be with that many people at the ballpark.