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Game 142: Marlins at Nats

Sep 11, 2010, 2:55 PM EST

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…

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

Read more »

  1. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 3:13 PM

  2. Souldrummer - Sep 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Thanks for that story, Mark. Wasn't as big a baseball fan back then with no team local but baseball did mean a lot. Of course, my heart goes out to you that you once had to cover the Orioles.

  3. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Liking the flag at the centerfield gate….

  4. Knoxville Nat - Sep 11, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Anon 11:13,Thanks for the link to you tube. Most appropriate speech and reminder to us all on this anniversary of one of the saddest days in our nation's history.

  5. BQ - Sep 11, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Couple of questions to Mark Z: How long did you cover the O's and did you enjoying writing about them? What's your take on Espinosa so far? You think he can be our 2B starting next season?Marquis faced 4 battters, struck out two, allowed on base runner on Dunn's 9th error. Pretty good inning.

  6. Mark Zuckerman - Sep 11, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    BQ: I was on the Orioles beat in 2001 and 2002. Definitely enjoyed it. Best part was getting to cover Cal Ripken's final season. But it also was frustrating covering a Baltimore team for a Washington newspaper. Been much more enjoyable covering our hometown team the last six years.Espinosa: So far, so good. You don't want to draw any real conclusions after only 10 days, but so far I feel the same way I felt about Ian Desmond last September: Stats may look good or bad, but more important is that he looks like he's ready to be a big-leaguer.

  7. Doc - Sep 11, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Well stated intro Mark! Baseball is a unifying aspect of many nations.

  8. BQ - Sep 11, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Thanks Mark.So I am guessing the FO is also waiting to play out the rest of the season to pass a verdict on the kid. 4 no hit innings by Marquis are matched by 3 perfect innings by Anibal Sanchez. This is second double no-hitter I seen so far. First one was Garza vs Scherzer.

  9. Doc - Sep 11, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    For members of the Michael Morse Fan Club, note who broke up Sanchez's no hitter. Also, Wiggleman please note that it was against a RHP!

  10. Andrew - Sep 11, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Zim to Dunn to Desmond. @OWOWTOP PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Anybody else think Marquis actually deserves a little support?

  12. BQ - Sep 11, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    I guess that's it for Marquis. 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8 K. Awesome outing. Another quality start by our starter. Offense seems to have no clue against Sanchez though.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 11, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Stuck here in Florida,watching the Gators struggle against USF and following on MLB Game Day SINCE WE ARE NOT TELEVISED IN FRIGGIN FLORIDA!We can make any Marlins pitcher look like Josh Johnson.

  14. BQ - Sep 11, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Is Ramos not having a good game behind the plate?

  15. CBinDC - Sep 11, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    I am the only one who feels that the TV broadcast is one huge snow job right now …….Yeah the positive points made are ok in context but the record says losing season …so what has changed really from the last 6 years…..losing again and another Sept that does not matter …and more talk about what value is a player and will that person sign or not the picks we get do not get……and hey is not this one or that doing great but do not look at the score really …..somebody please fire up the hot stove and burn this season to warm our souls that have run cold

  16. Sec3MySofa - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Giants @ Padres on Fox. So there's that.

  17. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Why did Batista start the 9th? When is the last time Dunn came up in a game situation and did something other than strike out or hit into a DP? Why does Morgan have to start?

  18. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    JayB,You win; I can't stand Riggleman any more. Last night failure to stop Morgan from stealing and the moronic defense of same plus today's one out too late moves (bring in Balester after Stammen gives up a run and bring in Clippard after Batista gives up a run) were the last straws for me. Let's get Valentine in here before he signs with Seattle.

  19. Richard - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    I'm glad baseball is back in DC and try to keep it in mind these days. I've adopted beautiful Nationals Park as my second home (and hope the IRS never objects to my deducting a share of the mortgage interest). Hats off to those fans who are trying to stay positive.

  20. JayB - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    I agree of course…..Riggleman is better than Acta and anyone is better than those two.

  21. Ariasln26 - Sep 11, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    This team is really depressing. Except for that guy who beat out an infield grounder for a single in the eight and then made the pitcher nervous and moved to second on an errant pick-off and then scored on a double because the pitcher was still worried about him. Who was that guy? Oh yeah, Nyjer.

  22. Anonymous - Sep 11, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    "Hats off to those fans who are trying to stay positive." Absolutely! I'm guessing they are the quiet, reasonable majority that realizes it will take some time to undo what MLB did to this franchise.

  23. JayB - Sep 11, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    Oh god enough withe "it will take some time to undo what MLB did to this franchise"…..we are averaging 100 loses over the past 3 years and six years after Lerner ownership…..STOP MAKING EXCUSES THAT JUST ALLOW LERNERS TO SUCK PROFITS OUT OF THE TEAM WHILE LAUGHING ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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