Washington Nationals – Waking Up The Echoes

On Monday night this week, the Washington Nationals played to the smallest home crowd since the franchise moved from Montreal to DC. The announced attendance was 10,999. Last night, the announced attendance was 11,893 representing an 8% increase from Monday night. I wish I had a credible turnstile count for that game because there were entire sections all over the park with nary a soul in sight. The Nats are on an upswing this season, they cannot possibly lose 100 games this year as they have in the past; yet, attendance is cratering.

The Nationals have 8 remaining home games (Houston twice then three each with Atlanta and Philly). The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed yesterday at 10,761.03. So, here is at least one reason to pay attention to the Nats for the remainder of this year’s games:

    Watch to see if the announced attendance at any home game falls below the closing Dow Jones Industrial Average on that day.

Trust me; if you had to watch this team on a regular basis, you would know there is no better reason to continue paying attention. However, since I am always looking for a way to make things better, allow me to suggest a promotion that the Nats might run sometime early next week to generate enthusiasm…

    The Nats need to hold Admiral James Stockdale Night.

    People in attendance can answer two questions “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”

    Then the Nats can flash the answers up on the scoreboard between innings. Considering that some of the answers will be in “poor taste”, they would probably get through all of the rest of the answers by the end of the game…

Since I mentioned Atlanta and Philly as upcoming Nats’ opponents in this final homestand of the year, the Braves led the Phillies by 7 games in late July. Today, the Phillies lead the Braves by 5 games. Roy Halladay won his 20th game last night against the Braves making him the first Phillies’ pitcher to win 20 in a year since Steve Carlton did in 1982. By the way, the last right-handed Phillies’ pitcher to win 20 games in a season was Robin Roberts in 1955. Just for perspective here, 1955 was the year Rosa Parks declined to give up her seat on a bus to a white person and it was also the year the Salk polio vaccine was deemed safe enough and effective enough to be widely distributed in the US.

Here is an update from Monday’s rant. The Mariners lost last night; that gives them 93 losses with 12 games to play; 100 losses remain a distinct possibility. In last night’s game against the Blue Jays, Ichiro went 4 for 4 bringing his hit total to 197 for the year. With 12 games left, he would seem to be a lead-pipe cinch to get his 200 hits for the season. By the way, Ichiro’s current total of 197 hits for the season leads all of MLB in that category.

Here is a baseball trivia question that came to me from a former colleague. Trying to describe his level of interest in baseball is difficult so let me just say the only bigger seamhead I can think of would be Herman Munster. I did not even come close to getting this one; I was in the wrong era of baseball with my thinking. [Answer below…]

    Who is the only person in MLB history to hit a home run off a father and his son? [Hint: You know the hitter. You may never have heard of the father/son pitching duo.]

Now that the furor over Reggie Bush returning the Heisman Trophy seems to have abated just a bit, allow me to offer this suggestion to the folks who oversee the Trophy and who determine which student-athlete (heh heh!) will receive the Trophy this year:

    If you consider giving the Trophy to AJ Green he might decide to sell it to an agent. Or, maybe on e-bay. If he did that, good luck in getting that Trophy back.

Trivia Answer:

    Ted Williams is the hitter. In 1939, he hit a homerun off Thornton Lee. In 1960, he hit a homerun off Don Lee.

    As I said, you may never have heard of the father/son pitching duo…

By the way, folks have gone back and calculated currently kept stats for Ted Williams during his career. People did not know from OPS in the 40s and 50s, but today we know that an OPS of 1.00 is pretty damned good. Ted Williams played all or part of 19 seasons in the major leagues from 1939 until 1960. Only one time – - in 1959 – - was his OPS under 1.00 and his career OPS was 1.116. If he were playing today and Scott Boras were his agent, it might take Warren Buffet buying a baseball team to afford his contract…

Over in the NFL, we can see an example of two truths that many folks refuse to consider as they gush over rookies coming into the league. Remember, I loved CJ Spiller coming out of Clemson as a running back who could threaten to make every handoff into a touchdown. The Buffalo Bills took him as a Top 10 pick in the draft and put him at the top of the depth chart ahead of two “thousand-yard backs” already on the roster who did not have anything near Spiller’s speed. What has happened in the first two games points to the two truths that cannot be ignored.

    Thusfar, from scrimmage, CJ Spiller has carried the ball 8 times and gained 9 yards. He has caught 8 passes and gained 31 yards.

    Truth #1: Running backs are dependent on their offensive line being equally competent to the opposing defensive line. That was true at Clemson; that is not true in Buffalo.

    Truth #2: Team speed in the NFL for defensive units is significantly greater than team speed for any college defensive unit.

Finally, here is an item from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald:

“FIFA officials were here this week to tour facilities as part of Miami’s bid to hold games in the 2018 or ’22 World Cup. And I was as excited as I could possibly be over something that might or might not happen in eight or 12 years.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…

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Comments

  • Kurt Weber  On September 22, 2010 at 10:24 am

    just a brief word — love the Stockdale reference!

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On September 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Kurt Weber:

    Welcome aboard.

    Thank you for your kind words. I am absolutely sure the Washington Nationals will NOT be holding an Admiral James Stockdale Night next week…

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