Sep 28, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT
US Presswire file photo
Sun Life Stadium hosts its final baseball game this afternoon.
And so the end has arrived. The 2011 season closes today for the Nationals, who also get the honor of closing down Sun Life Stadium (and not a moment too soon). The Marlins expect a large crowd today, and there will be plenty of familiar faces in attendance for their fans, including former Florida World Series heroes Livan Hernandez and Ivan Rodriguez.
Pudge, in fact, will be in the lineup for what is likely his final game with the Nationals. Whatever the future holds for him, I'd just like to say what an absolute pleasure it was covering him these last two seasons. I've dealt with big-name players near the end of their careers who grumbled about playing time and clearly were interested more in their own personal situation than their team. That was never the case with Pudge, who was a consummate professional and a fantastic teammate through it all. If this is it for him in D.C., he will be missed.
It's perhaps filling that Rodriguez will be behind the plate on last time with Stephen Strasburg on the mound. The two have paired up plenty of times over the last two years, even in the minors, and Pudge has been a great mentor for the young right-hander.
Two noticeable voids in the Nats' lineup today: Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse. Zimmerman is dealing with a minor hamstring strain, and Davey Johnson felt it just wasn't worth risking anything worse happening. Morse has dealt with nagging stuff himself, but I have a feeling this is Davey just wanting to ensure Michael ends the season with a .303 batting average (not to mention 31 homers and 95 RBI).
As you know, I'm not in Florida for this one. But stick around here after the game, because we're actually going to have a live episode of Beltway Baseball, talking about today's finale, handing out season awards, looking ahead to the offseason and, of course, taking your questions. You can find the live stream of the show on the homepage shortly after today's game ends…
NATIONALS at MARLINS
Where: Sun Life Stadium
Gametime: 4:10 p.m.
Radio: WFED (1500 AM), WHFS (1580 AM), XM 189
Weather: Partly cloudy, 85 degrees, Wind 9 mph in from RF
SS Ian Desmond
LF Roger Bernadina
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chris Marrero
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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