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Game 0: Nats Versus O’s April 3, 2006

mmmmm first action of year at RFK.

On the way to the game, I stopped by Radio Shack and bought a cheap portable radio.  There is something satisfying listening to a game on a cheap radio, over AM.  I actually debated getting a radio that did both AM and FM, thinking that FM would be good enough.  Lucky I made the right choice.  The reception for 107.7 FM is terrible while the 1500 AM signal was clear (even at the urinal).

After all the hassles with my tickets last year, I always assume something will go wrong.  As the ticket taker tried to scan my ticket for the fourth time, I was sure I was fucked.  Luckily it was just a case of operator error.  New scanner or new person.  It scanned successfully on try 5.

I did get somewhat emotional as I went up the ramps.  It felt both like it was just last week that I was there last, and at the same time, it felt like I hadn’t been there in ages.  I was happy to see a number of the same ushers and vendors from last season.

Unfortunately, some other things have not changed.  I still couldn’t really hear the sound system from section 512.  And there were still a number of in-game errors by the stadium crew.

Jim Bowden was on the WPTP pre-game radio show and had some harsh words about the decision to take Watson over Church.  Basically, it came down to certain people shouldn’t spend too much time preening in front of the mirror.  I think the idea was that Church didn’t try hard enough because he thought his job was safe, but it came off a lot more harsh than just that.

The big screen looked sharper, but that could have been from a good cleaning or better graphics.  During the announcement of the starting lineup, the big graphic had Watson’s name misspelled as “Wantson” which isn’t excusable.

The bullpen was moved from LF to RF.  The Post reported the next day that it was per Mike Stanton’s request.  The LF bullpen is in the sun most of the game and it gets really hot according to Mike.

Patterson was just off his game.  More balls than usual and behind in the count early.  Jitters or change of scenery, I assume.

Brandon Watson helped prove me right, at least for that night.  I have been one of the few that thought, if we had to pick between Ryan Church and Watson, that Watson just provided a different set of skills to the team than Ryan.  Ryan will be called up soon enough, but for now, Watson just gives us a better chance to win at RFK, IMHO.  In this game, he went 2 for 5 and one of those outs was a hair away from a single.  More importantly, he easily stole 2nd his first time on-base and distracted Kris Benson enough for Vidro to hit on which eventually lead to 2 runs.  Additionally, concerns about his defense were quieted at least for a night as he made 1 good catch and 1 great catch.  IF he continues to play this way, the right choice was made.

Another thing I like with Watty as Zimmerman called him post-game.  In his last at-bat, he fouled off 6-7 pitches.  He never made it to base that time, but he gave the pitcher a work out and kept himself in it.

Zimmerman continues to be an offensive power while hurting us on defense.  Sure, he handle a charge on a semi-bunt beautifully, but booted two other balls that Vinny would have gotten.  Hopefully with the games meaning something starting today, he will be more focused. 

About the third inning the rows behind me were filled with about 30 kids, between the ages of 5 and 7.  They were loud but weren’t little shits getting into anything but the game.  Near the end, they started calling for beer everytime a beer man walked by.  It was worth the noise to see the change in expression of the vendor when he noticed that all those potential sales weren’t going to happen.