Sep 11, 2010, 2:55 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nationals look to break a three-game losing streak today against the Marlins.
Good morning from Nationals Park, where today the Nats and Marlins meet for the 17th time this season in what has turned into a lopsided matchup. Florida has won 11 of the first 16 games between these division rivals, continuing a trend of dominance over the Nats that stretches back over three years.
The other backdrop to today's game, of course, is the fact it's being played on September 11. Driving past the Pentagon on my way to the ballpark this morning, I immediately had flashbacks to that horrible day nine years ago. Once I walked into the park, though, I started thinking about the first ballgame I covered after 9/11.
It was one week later when Bud Selig decided it was appropriate to resume play. I covered the Orioles at the time, and since they were playing in Toronto, my editor at The Washington Times felt it made more sense to cover a game being played in an American city. So I drove up to Philadelphia for the Phillies and Braves at Veterans Stadium. I've been grateful ever since for the opportunity to do that.
Tensions were high that night. Nobody knew what might transpire. Security was high. No one knew what the appropriate response to baseball would be. But then they sang the national anthem and fans started waving American flags. And over the next three hours, something magical happened: They played a ballgame and everything seemed right with the world. Fans cheered when the Phillies scored. They booed when Chipper Jones homered. Spontaneous chants of "USA! USA!" rang out at various points of the night.
Over the next few weeks and months, life returned to a sense of normalcy for everyone, but I truly believe baseball was one of the most important first steps toward regaining that sense. I'm not sure any other sport or act of entertainment could have had the same impact and brought people together quite the same way baseball did.
Nine years later, baseball remains a unifier for both the people of this and other nations, for people of different backgrounds, races, religions and cultures. So on this anniversary of one of the worst days in American history, let's take time not only to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11 but also to celebrate this grand old game that helped so many recover and continues to bring us together for a common purpose.
Enjoy today's game. I'll have updates throughout…
MARLINS at NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Sunny, 76 degrees, Wind 4 mph in from RF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
NL EAST STANDINGS
x-Clinched division title
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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