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On big stage, no storybook ending

Jun 17, 2012, 12:12 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Tyler Moore was called out on a controversial play at the plate in the eighth.

For nearly five hours, Bryce Harper had flailed away at pitches out of the zone, taken borderline strikes and glared at plate umpire Tim Timmons and otherwise looked exactly like a 19-year-old overwhelmed to be in the big leagues.

Yet when the Nationals' rookie stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 14th inning late Saturday afternoon, every remaining soul among the once-sellout crowd of 41,287 couldn't help but dream about how Harper's otherwise awful game might end in dramatic fashion.

Even the players wearing the road uniforms admitted the thought crossed their minds.

"It's like one of those kind of storybook endings; you're hoping it wasn't going to be," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "That would've just been too good to be true, for Harper to hit a walk-off right there.Read more »

103 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    From ESPN:The Yankees exploited his [Harper's] weaknesses against breaking pitches, throwing him 19 sliders, the most seen by any player this season. Five of his seven outs made came in at-bats ending in a slider, including four strikeouts. He also missed on nine of his 10 swings against a slider, and chased six of 11 sliders thrown outside the strike zone. Bryce Harper vs Sliders This SeasonHarper BA vs. Sliders .148 League BA vs. Sliders .230Harper Miss pct 41.1 League Miss pct 30.6Harper K/PA 36.7League K/PA 27.1Harper chase pct 41.3League chase pct 33.5

  2. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    No Disney movie today. They are going to have to earn it,it will be brutal, there will be many more lows this season but some highs, too. If you want fairy tales I suggest you visit your local library.

  3. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Just had a case in the O's game where sliding feet-first made the out–pretty clear a hands-first slide would have made it safe. (This relates to a discussion in a previous thread.)

  4. Bote Man - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    And hopefully, if nothing else, we can learn from whatever we take from these two games and get better from it."One thing we've learned is that Brad Lidge is not the pitcher of choice in a high leverage situation. We don't have to wait until the end of the season to address that shortcoming. The Nats could get better from it with a roster move. I hear Livo is available :-)

  5. DCGuy7 - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    the play at the plate was a killer. it was pretty clear even from the stands that Moore got in under the tag. freakin Timmons.

  6. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    I would rather have Harper's future than Timmons'. Harper will be a start, Timmons will just be a lousy unpire.

  7. DCGuy7 - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    kind of a depressing game to see in person. i'll get over it.

  8. natscan reduxit - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    … terrible and frustrating loss today and many of you were there to witness it. Nonetheless, you WERE there to witness it. You live moral, righteous, upstanding lives. That, and the fact you in the area allows you to attend Nats games at Nats Park. Would that I were one of you. … but I'm not, so I can't comment from any first-hand knowledge about the following Atlantic Monthly story. But many of you might have your own responses. And just let me say it one more time. If you are a baseball fan, you're always okay in my book.http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/06/down-in-front-a-few-pointers-for-baseballs-worst-fans/258575/Go Nats Fans!!

  9. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Jason Hammel has a no-hitter going thru 6 innings

  10. rogieshan - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Three sure things in life: Death, taxes and the Yankees getting at least a few favorable calls per game. Even umps are intimidated by their aura. Good players create their own luck. Brad Lidge is no longer a good player.

  11. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    I was watching last night and today. I heard the Yankee fans but it didn't look or sound like the Nats fans were over run by them. Big, loud crowds. I have not read much in the way of in person accounts. How was it? Lines, travel,obnoxious fans ? Been pretty quiet. All talk has been about the baseball. As it should be, but there is usually some good info about what it was like at the game.

  12. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Hummel–wait–that's the braves-orioles game on fox? Turning it on now!

  13. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Hammel–smart phone, dumb fingers.

  14. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Hope he gets it. Would serve Fox right for blacking out the game everywhere in the country except here and the ATL. I wanna watch what I wanna watch. Just because this happens to be the game I wanna watch doesn't make it right.

  15. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    What's with all this no-hitting? Great pitching or bad hitting?

  16. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    And he lost it. Walk and a hit (Heyward) in the 7th after 2 out. And now they are crazy with the "chop".

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Braves and Mets losing. Looks like nobody will gain ground on us. No harm, no foul

  18. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Regarding interleague play – don't all of the teams in the NL East have to play all of the teams in the AL East? So we all have the same degree of difficulty?

  19. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Yes. Not unfair. Just difficult (or "brutal" as was said when we started this stretch.)

  20. JamesFan - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    This series is a cold splash of reality. It's going to be tough as we enter the second half, and its hard to get to the playoffs with kids and a very limited offense.

  21. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    JFan, yes. Fortunately, Davey knows all we have to do is play .500 ball. Don't have to win 100 games. 94 will do. Not every team will be the Yankees.

  22. DJB - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    NatsLady,Good stats on the sliders being served up to Harper. How he handles this weakness may define his career. The bright side is that he is getting them so young. No quarter being shown the young one. As an aside – I hate the Yanks and everything they stand for.

  23. NatsFanJim - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    NatsLady: You are so full of pure crapola. You are a joke.Natslady: "Davey gave up the game. And I say good." Yes, you are a complete and utter, silly joke.

  24. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    EJax will have to eat innings–again. Why do I feel like I am saying that every time his spot comes up? Stammen not available. Clip (29 pitches) probably not available. Lidge, really, not available.Fortunately, off-day Monday, but then not another one until July 2. That is thirteen straight days. Ten-game road trip that involves O's (OK, in terms of travel, that's really not a trip) but then travel to Col and Atlanta. Tampa Bay just tied the Fish, so we might not lose any ground at all in our division.

  25. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    Davey not blowing his resources yesterday gave us the best chance to win today–and possibly tomorrow. If the players didn't come through today, that's on them, not him. I stand by what I said.

  26. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:50 AM

    Davey always complains about his bullpen. Gonzalez hardly pitched, Gorzelanny is available, Clip threw 29 but didn't throw yesterday and will be off on Monday. It's cool.

  27. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    swami, I think we are OK. Burnett also didn't throw many pitches in his inning. Maybe it just seems like EJax always gets the call after heavy use of the BP.

  28. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    natscan–thanks for the link. That article is hysterical!! And so true.

  29. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    I think they used about the same amount of innings that we did, maybe one less but less actual pitches probably. Anyone hear about swisher's injury? Won't matter much to them with their expensive bench.

  30. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    OK, that was tough – did not expect to spend 5+ hours at the park but that is how it is.I have not read any of the game posts or other posts but here. Surprised natslady is still trying to defend a point that really can't be defended. We were down just one run in the 7th inning and if we had used the bullpen we used today we would probably had a better chance then we did with Lidge and Gonzalez.This has probably been covered but I am going to discuss it anyway. So many great defensive plays. Harper made two solid plays, Espinosa was terrific and Zimm had two very fine plays as well. Yes, we made two errors and one cost us dearly but both teams played a really good game and it was heartbreaking to watch but great baseball none the less.If Jackson can get us to the 8th, both Gorzo and Burnett will be fresh, I guess Clippard can also go and we have Monday off. I don't think we will see Lidge anytime soon and he had to be let go once Mattheus is ready. One last point and again, I did not go back to look at other postings, I wonder what the difference was in number of pitches for the total game. It seemed like the Yankees were always 3-2 and fouling off more, while we were hacking at the first or second pitch. The Yankees, in case no one knew, are a really really good team.Go Nats (new hat tomorrow is one of my least favorite – its the green St. Patricks Day hat used in spring training.)

  31. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    its not a pure every team plays 6 series against the AL East. I know the Mets only have 5 series. I also know that the Orioles just played the Pirates, so they can only play 5 series against the NL east. (not sure if the Mets and O's play_).

  32. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Oh, in 308 we were surrounded by Yankee fans but what a difference from Philly fan. They cheered but they also were respectful and positive about things that the Nationals did well. Got lots of positives about the park and of course about our great city as well. Man I wish we could have sent them home a loser but maybe tomorrow.go nats!!

  33. NatsNut - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Tough game, but that's ok, boys. Get 'em tomorrow!GYFNG!

  34. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    I know the game wasn't fun, but this is funny. Yanks outfielders confused by the double-switch–y'know, it's an NL thing.MLB Videohttp://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22334885&c_id=mlb&partnerId=aw-5256022091904088806-996

  35. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    I think we are playing more against the AL East because the Orioles are considered our "geographic rival" – and so we play them every year. Glad to hear from someone at the game – I usually hear complaints about traffic, long lines, other fans, but haven't heard much this time. I guess everyone is exhausted from the marathon game. Maybe tomorrow. And maybe those senior citizens in pinstripes will be tired tomorrow. I hope good guys in red don't stay up too late at the gala!

  36. baseballswami - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Oh – and Tyler Moore was still SAFE!!!!!

  37. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Changed my mind, not worth aggravating Mark. Twenty years a teacher and I can't seem to teach the simplest thing. (sigh)

  40. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:49 AM

    Maybe the guy from The Atlantic will succeed in teaching fools to sit down at baseball games.

  41. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Swami, same with the Mets/Yanks. Also, for some reason, Phillies/Blue Jays and Rays/Marlins. So those teams have a "geographic rival" in the AL East. Not sure who the Braves have as their putative "rival."

  42. PChuck - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    We played 6 series against the AL East, all the teams and the Orioles twice.The Braves also play 6 series against the AL East, all the teams and the Yankees twice.The Marlins play 6 series against the AL East. They don't play the Orioles and Yankees but play the Rays and Red Sox twice.The Mets play 5 series against the AL East. They don't play the Red Sox and their replacement series is a 3rd series against the Reds.The Phillies play 4 series against the AL East. They don't play the Yankees and their replacement series are against the Twins and a 3rd series against the Rockies.

  43. PChuck - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    >>The Yankees exploited his [Harper's] weaknesses against breaking pitches…<<The problem isn't his weakness. The problem today was he was swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. With pitches like this, he usually takes them and goes for the walk. Today, he couldn't/wouldn't stop swinging.

  44. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Have to make one more comment about today's game. Probably the best "behaved" group we have experienced. No one coming into or out of our section during the action. Not sure it was the ushers, I just think Yankee fans understand the game. Also, NO WAVE!! Still a tough loss but I am thinking that Jackson shuts them down tomorrow and he has the arm to go at least 7 innings as well.Go Nats!!also happy we are stil 4 games up. can't believe I will be watching scoreboards for the next 100 games.

  45. PChuck - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    >>The problem isn't his weakness. The problem today was he was swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. With pitches like this, he usually takes them and goes for the walk. Today, he couldn't/wouldn't stop swinging.<<Adding to this, Bryce's walk rate is 11%. MLB walk rate is 8.6%. Today his problem was he wouldn't walk.

  46. md_schmidt - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Disappointed this article made no mention of Ryan Zimmerman or Danny Espinosa. They are a combined 2-20 this series. Yet it details Harper, the 19 yr old rookie's lousy day. Not only was Zimm pathetic at the plate today (-and yesterday), his throwing seems to be increasingly a liability. Why bash Lidge and an ump's bad call on a close play at the plate when two big names have been such liabilities to the offense which has scored a whopping 5 runs in 23 innings?

  47. Don - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    A question for those of you that know a lot more than me…Is there any reason for Espi to keep batting left handed? At this point it is becoming ridiculous. Can he swing any further out of his shoes? He is obviously not seeing the ball from the left side. Any righty/lefty matchup has to go out the window at this point.I'm curious, any thoughts?

  48. Schumatrix - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    Oh man, oh man that call at the plate was really, really bad. I can't solely blame the ump for that game, but you have to figure Clip finishes them off if the Nats get the call that I could see from my TV at home. That's really frustrating. I think we need to get replay on scoring plays. Even though it might hurt the Nats a few times in the future, I think it's better that we get the kind of plays that can affect the outcomes of games correct. And all this coming from someone who disliked the idea of replay from the beginning.

  49. Schumatrix - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    And Harper needs to learn to calm down in big situations. It seems in big spots he tends to over-swing and chase stuff out of the zone. The platinum sombrero is inexcusable.

  50. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    @Don, I think at this stage in Espi's career, and against this caliber pitching, going back to just being a right-handed pitcher (and facing all those sliders and breaking pitches away) would be too difficult to accomplish. I agree he looks lost left-handed and just swings at anything. Any pitcher who throws him a strike batting left-handed should have his head examined. He's proven he will swing at anything. But I think it's took late to go back.

  51. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:27 AM

    I meant going back to just being a right-handed hitter.

  52. AceSmith - Jun 17, 2012 at 7:19 AM

    Well its ok they will win on sunday against nova who has been terrible this year! i read an article about this here that i think nats fans shud check out http://baseballpitboss.com/2012/06/sunday-funday-in-the-nations-capital/

  53. Dryw Loves the Nats - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Was walking home from the game during the post-game interview with Davey. Did anyone ask him WHY LIDGE??? I know he's just going to give the standard answer about how "he's my guy" and his career stats and how he'll come around and all that, but I hope he was at least asked. I know the life went out of 313 once he came in….

  54. 164abb6e-9075-11e1-aba1-000bcdcb471e - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Harper had a rough but understandable day. The much bigger concern is not getting production from the 3-4 spots in the order. With Morse, it looks like a timing issue; when he hits the ball, he is hitting it reasonably hard.Zimmerman, on the other hand, seems to have no pop in his bat and his swing appears labored. This, not a rough loss to the Yankees or an overanxious teenager, is going to pose a major question for Johnson. At what point do you drop Zimmerman in the order, or, if you believe he is hiding an injury, sit him entirely? I don't know the answer, but I think we may find out over the next few weeks unless Zim starts to show some pop. I like and respect RZ — this is not personal — it's just a really hard baseball question that has to be resolved if this team is going to continue to contend in a really tough division.

  55. natscan reduxit - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    … just catching up on this most glorious of spring mornings, up here in the Canadian far east, after an evening of twitching and a night of bad dreams. (Did I have to witness the "cold splash of reality" hit Bryce squarely in the face – and on Canadian national TV no less?)… at any rate, all I want to do is echo Swami's head-scratching query: What's with all the No-No's this year. Yesterday Ervin Santana went perfecto for seven; what's next? However, on the obverse, how long can it be before the Straz goes unblemished or Gio tosses one of his own?Go Nats!! ( and put those Yankee brooms away.)

  56. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Some very good points from late last night and this morning. I was begging for Danny to drag a bunt down the first base line in the 14th! Texiera was playing way back and guarding the line and while that is not the easiest of plays, the way he has been swinging the bat lefthanded, it seemed like a decent move.Before the 14th, when Lidge was warming up the entire section was moaning and one couple actually left the game when he was announced. (not sure it was because of Lidge but who leaves after staying for 13 innings!). Davey really only had 3 options at that point. He had Gonzalez, Gorzo and Lidge and there was a right handed batter up (Nix). As soon as Nix reached 1st, I would have had Gonzalez in the game but again, hindsight is so easy in baseball.Looking for Jackson to settle us down, pitch deep and give us a spark. Only problem is, Nova knows how to win games and his last 4 starts have been very very good.Go Nats!!

  57. natscan reduxit - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    "… his throwing seems to be increasingly a liability …"… can't say I agree with you there. Of course, I have only seen a smattering of games but in every one I have been amazed at how accurate RZimm continues to be when he submarines those tosses to first. I haven't seen LaRoche (or Moore) even have to stretch for one, let alone be forced to come off the bag…. and on the ump's bad call, this is always my default position: it's a false argument to moan about such a thing when the truth is you didn't score enough runs to make the call insignificant. That doesn't change the fact that it was a bad call, but it wasn't the reason the game was lost…. and lastly (for now), I hate to admit it, but Brad Lidge is done He was a force to be reckoned with at one time, but that time is over. Go Nats!!

  58. natscan reduxit - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    … okay, one more thing. I doubt it'll happen in my lifetime, so you guys will have to put up with me for a while yet. But baseball in Montreal is not dead – it never really died anyway – and here's a story which might shed some light on the history and the future of baseball in Montreal.http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Former+Montreal+Expos+player+leads+charge+bring+baseball/6794582/story.html… course, if Crow is successful and gets Montreal back in MLB, I'll be forced to leave you all behind. (Unless Bud Light is more cruel than ever and he sticks the 'new Expos' in the accursed AL, DH and all. If that happens, I might have to stick with DC.)… maybe some die-hard Washington fans could offer some advice to Montrealers about how to keep the spark alive.Go Nats!! – all the way to October!!

  59. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    being at the game, watching Petite, I was impressed. Bryce needs to take yesterday's schooling by a master ace and turn it into a positive. Petite scouted Bryce and schooled him. Bryce needs to learn how to better prepare against sinking pitches. He will. In the case of Zimmerman, his approach and swing is terrible and I think he is letting his team down as a number 3 hitter. As I said, if he is hurt, sit him down. If not, then what we see is what we get and then the Nats have a weakness with him in the line up. Morse needs to get better and I think he will. Desi's errors are getting old and FP looks like an idiot now with his comments that Desi is better than Jeter. However, Desi gets it back at the plate and I like his attitude.

  60. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    BTW: Yankees are the real deal and the best team in baseball, so perhaps there is no shame in losing the first two games. Yesterday, Nats should have won. Regardless of how pathetic and egotistical that HP umpire was, Nats had every chance to win and their bats were pathetic!

  61. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    the so called best and veteran players need to start playing like the best players

  62. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Even more detailed stats on Harper's at-bats yesterday, with a funny take. However, note this, *Before today, Bryce Harper had batted .364 and slugged .636 against sliders in June.Sliders for Salehttp://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17384

  63. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    We face each of the various divisions on a rotating basis. Every three years, either at our park or at theirs. We've also played the O's every year (except the first) as a "geographic rival." It is my understanding that these geographic rivalries won't be a factor starting next season, due to the Astros moving, and that there will be interleague play going on somewhere all season, as opposed to for a few weeks of the season as has been the case. That's because each league will have the same number of teams.baseballswami said… I think we are playing more against the AL East because the Orioles are considered our "geographic rival" – and so we play them every year. Glad to hear from someone at the game – I usually hear complaints about traffic, long lines, other fans, but haven't heard much this time. I guess everyone is exhausted from the marathon game. Maybe tomorrow. And maybe those senior citizens in pinstripes will be tired tomorrow. I hope good guys in red don't stay up too late at the gala! June 16, 2012 10:36 PM

  64. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    And to NatsFanJim and others, fwiw, it's possible to debate a topic on the merits without the ad hominem attacks.

  65. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Natsfan1: I have both driven and done metro to the games. I will do Metro every time from now on. Also, it is better to buy concessions at your seats, the concession stands are still run by morons and it takes too long. If you only want beer (that would be me) and a dog and pretzel and ice cream , your better off waiting for the vendor to come to your section than it is to wait in line and be served with people with an IQ of 10 and a zero work ethic. Other than that, great experience every time.

  66. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Lidge is calling could be the new face on a box of Lucky Charms, other than that he has no value, lol.

  67. Utec - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I have to believe Zim is hurt. Watching him hit is like watching Pudge last year, who couldn't get around on the fastball anymore. Either a grounder to short or with luck punch a hit to the opposite field. And his throwing is inconsistent again, one error yesterday and one error-saving stretch by LaRoche. Still the right shoulder?Ugh. XM baseball talk show just replayed John Sterling's radio calls of Texeira's hit and the "Yankeeeeeees Winnnnnnnnn" game ender. Utec

  68. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    "always after me lucky charms, purple moons, pink stars" lol

  69. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I agree with sjm, Yankee fans have some class, philly fans are simply dirty. New Yorkers in general are funny as sh–, and I always enjoy their comments.

  70. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    I missed you 1A…Sunshine, so glad to meet you as well the other day! Thank god I had a picutre of Mark and Baby Z! Too funny that your wife went to the computer and was reading this! Now you do realize you have to go to 1 soccer game with your wife, right? Payback.

  71. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    MicheleS…. I have the worse torture on the planet that would shut down guantanamo bay, B SWIM MEETS, lol ask sjm if I'm right, hee hee

  72. MicheleS - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    My funny comments on Yankee fans: 4 yankee fans from Charlottesville (WHAT!) were behind me. Thick NY accents and all. Got a little obnoxious at times and was getting a little worried they would start something. Well they did. We don't normally get fouls balls in our area unless they are screaming line drives that could seriously hurt someone. Sure enough, one came back. Luckily it hit a seat first, but bounced off a kid in Nats gear and a Yankee fan next to him got the ball and DID NOT give the ball to the kid. (The kid was okay). The 4 Yankee fans taunted the guy with the ball for 2 solid innings until he gave it to the kid. Let's say they were very creative with their taunts.

  73. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Mick, I married a New Yorker and moved there and lived there twenty years (until he passed) and I love NY humor. Fast, self-depracating, astute and adult. Also an incredible sports town–all sports.

  74. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Thanks, MicheleS. On the game experience, we also do Metro. We go early and hit the concessions before the game starts. We also usually bring some snacks of our own. I've not had a negative experience with the staff at Nationals Park, and have found team employees generally to be quite friendly and helpful, whether at the concessions or in the team stores. But that's just me. Will be in 408 at today's game, on the side farthest from the press box (along with hundreds of our closest friends, I suppose).Re. Yankees fans, there's a piece in the Post today about a lifelong NY fan (grew up there) and his "flirtation" with the Nats. Loved the extra-inning anecdote in that story. Atta way, section-mates!

  75. mick - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Nats lady God Bless you!

  76. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Link to WaPo story on fatherhood and fandom. (Sorry for the offsite link, Mark. Obligatory Insider reference: given his wardrobe choices, looks like little Brian may root for the home nine. :-))

  77. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Metro to the game when I have time, and usually bus it home because I can't deal with the crowds. The bus (Circulator) requires transferring at Union Station, but it's still better than the crowds. Drive when I don't have time to Metro (like going to a game after work–I work odd hours, including most Sunday mornings.)Have not had bad experiences with the vendors, in fact, once when they ran out of pizza they told me to come back later and gave me two slices for free because of the inconvenience. It used to be they couldn't handle 30K+ so hopefully that's improved. However, I usually arrive early and eat before the game so I don't have to get up during the game. In my section they never bring hot dogs, never. No ice cream, no lemonade. The beer guy comes around a couple of times, and once a game the peanut/water/crackerjack guy. That's it. But I know where to hunt around to find the shortest lines.

  78. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Oops, forgot to wish a happy Father's Day to Mark and all of the fathers who read here, be they posters or lurkers. Hope that the Nats top it off with a win over the Yanks, as they did back in 2006!

  79. Faraz Shaikh - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    the only good thing about Yesterday was we have not lost much ground, still up four games against the second team in our division.

  80. Teddy Phinolah - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Yesterday was a learning experience. Plus, we lost very little ground and nobody was injured. I'm more worried about our inability to beat Miami.

  81. Wendell - Jun 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    One travel option is to drive to the Anacostia stop (don't worry), park in the large garage – free on weekends – and go one stop north, against the game traffic, to Navy Yard. Empty cars both ways.

  82. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Wendell, that is a great idea. May try that (not today).

  83. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    From the betting types. Nats slight favorites.Nova has been the benefactor of strong offensive backing but I see him being in trouble here as Washington doesn’t allow many big innings and they are disciplined at the plate and Jackson helps them avoid the sweep here.Mitch’s Pick: Washington -110

  84. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    1A, thanks for the support, but seems like it's not possible. Heaven forbid you go against the party line which is all out for every win, and Davey blew it, etc. etc.My approach is if I don't understand Davey's move, try to understand his thinking–not assume he's an idiot and that I know better. I want to learn more about baseball, and I can't think of a better guy to learn from. Not saying he's perfect, but he's a professional and I'm an amateur. He's got a staff, a zillion years of experience, assistant coaches, and I have, what–observation and statistics?I'm not a stupid person (genius IQ, y'know, FWIW) and often I can figure out after the fact what Davey figures out in real-time. Shame on me for sharing, apparently. It might be that I find another place. You don't have to agree with me, I'm always willing to hear intelligent counter-arguments, but I'm really tired of the insults, really. It's not fun.

  85. Utec - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    The Yanks hitters schooled the Nats the last 2 games. Pitches per plate appearance by my dirtball calculations:Friday Yanks 4.17, Nats 3.44 (181 vs 144 pitches)Saturday Yanks 4.64, Nats 4.0 (250 vs 193 pitches)18% more pitches per batter over the 2 games. Davey says the Nats will do better. I hope they can. Hard to win when your pitchers have to work harder than the other guy's pitchers to get batters out.

  86. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Let me give you an idea of what I consider rational discourse. At the top I posted some stats from ESPN, relating to Harper and sliders. Seemed reasonable to me. Then PChuck posted some other thoughts, causing me to rethink. Then I found the article from baseballprospectus which suggested that it's not as simple as "Bryce can't hit sliders."So maybe because Bryce has a crush on the Yanks (he clearly does) that caused him to act out of character–and who hasn't done that when they were nineteen and the love of their life was in the room?

  87. NatsLady - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  88. natsfan1a - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    NatsLady, I hear you. That gets very old, and it says more about the person slinging insults than the target. I admire your restraint in the face of it. I also hope that you'll stick around, as you contribute a lot to the discussion, imho. Off to the ballpark now, and will be offline for the duration of the game. Go, NATS!!

  89. LoveDaNats - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    If you are going to the game today, have fun! It will be a beautiful day. I was at the game Friday and it was super crowded but the abundance of Yanks fans were, for the most part, respectful and polite.Yesterday's game was a heartbreaker, but a good contest just the same. I had so much optimism every time we came up to bat that this would be the end with a walk off. The bubble burst when Lidge entered the game. I knew we were done. No offense….Lidge was great for many years but is not now. Davey, re-think that one. I know you were running out of relievers yesterday but he's not gonna help you win games.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Happy Fathers Day to our host Mark Z and all the Dads out there.

  91. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    @MicheleS: Now you do realize you have to go to 1 soccer game with your wife, right? Payback. There's many things in this life that I just don't get, soccer chief among them. I think I've talked her down from like DC United to the local high school team. Still…You and I HAVE to go to a game together to talk, exchange notes, BS and other pertinent topics. I usually work nights … but sometimes I have Mondays and Tuesdays off. Let's pick out a day or night that works well. Going to July 4th (11 am) with 83-year-old mother-in-law. Now, she KNOWS baseball. Let's talk: jdschulz50@aol.

  92. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Mattheus in 'pen today; Lidge not.Has Lidge been DFA'd?

  93. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Seconding the Happy Fathers Day wishes to all the fathers who are dads, all the moms who are also dads, and all the dads-to-be.

  94. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    It might be that I find another place. You don't have to agree with me, I'm always willing to hear intelligent counter-arguments, but I'm really tired of the insults, really. It's not fun. Srsly. I still disagree with you on that, but the vitriol was surprising and uncalled for. I was a little surprised by some of the sources. It's disappointing.

  95. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    A question for those of you that know a lot more than me… Is there any reason for Espi to keep batting left-handed?Adding to what Sunshine Bobby said above, think of it this way: It's not that he can't hit left-handed, he has switch-hit all his life, successfully. He can't hit right-handed major league pitchers. Doesn't matter where he stands, he can't hit that.

  96. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Lidge: OK, so maybe that wasn't the best million dollars Rizzo spent this season, after all. I thought it was worth a shot.

  97. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Must be a press conference, no new post yet.

  98. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Natslady, I have loved all of your posts whether I agree or disagree so don't stop. You make us all think and provide great links as well. OneA is right, it says more about another person then you. I think a year or two ago you called me out when I was upset about someone not knowing the Dodger patch was for Duke Snider & you were right. I just needed to point out the error and not go all crazy. I tried to do that with your comment as well and hope you were ok with my response. OK, enough of that.Mick – you brought back a huge nightmare (B swim meets) had to be worse for the parents then the coach. I mean at least we were involved in every race, you guys got to stay around for 3 hours and watch your kid maybe swim for a total of 2 min. if he/she was in multiple events. At least at the Country Club level there was alcohol.On games I have two options. I can drive a little further & park at Greenbelt and go straight thru with no train change. Or I can drive down to Capital Hill, park at my sons and we bike the 2.2 miles to the park which is great fun. I will never drive to the game and park at the stadium, its just too much of a hassle. As for concessions, there is only one concession for me and that is the beer. We usually go to Justin's or the Fairgrounds before the game and I have a secret stand that is never crowded that sells Newcastle during the game even if $9 a beer is a little steep.Spent 6 hours with one son at the ball game yesterday, will have both over today to watch our Nationals win the last game! Happy Fathers Day to all!

  99. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    NatsLady, I just have to say that in the couple of years that I have been "hanging around" here you have been one of my favoriites, not to mention one of the articulate and better informed posters. I have been called an idiot, baseball ignorant, etc. and I agree that it's no fun. It was also suggestedn by a regular poster that I should be banned from posting a little before Jim Riggleman resigned because I suggested a couple of times that Davey Johnson would be the next Nats manager. Oh, and I was a moron because I thought Riggleman's double switching Morse out of the line up was questionable, and was told that Michael couldn't hit righthanders and would never be an everyday player. I don't let it get me down though. Most of us on this board are very friendly, live and breathe the Nats, and are a helluva lot classier then many other team's blogs. Though they're in the minority, there are a few folks here that just love to try to pick fights. There are also a couple of misogynists that will never change, but as you know, society has always had them. Stick around, seperate the wheat from the chaff, and let's talk baseball. GYFNG!!! BEAT THE YANKEES!

  100. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Oops, I meant to say "separate."

  101. Joe Seamhead - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    It's official, Lidge DFA.

  102. sjm308 - Jun 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Well said Seamhead!!Go Nats!!

  103. Wendell - Jun 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Ditto, Seamhead!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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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