Like an expansion team, every first is historic

With one swing of the bat from the RedsRamon Hernandez, a little bit of history was made over here at BSW.  Hernandez’s mythical three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th gave MLB, as well as BSW, it’s first blown save, and it’s first vulture win of the 2011 season for us to recognize. The Brewers’ Guy Fawkes John Axford, who was extremely good in his rookie campaign, gets the dubious honor of being the first blown save on BSW’s boards for serving up the meatball, and the Reds’ Logan Ondrusek, for no other reason than being the last pitcher the Reds used, vultures up the win, thus making him that much more worth spending money on, if and when he ever becomes a free agent someday.

I had thought about glorifying this event more in-depth, but to be honest, blown saves and vulture wins are fairly commonplace events that happen on a normal basis.  It’s the blown save, wins that the real glorification is going to be saved for, but for the sake some blog history, a tip of the cap goes to our firsts onto the secondary boards.

At Least it wasn’t Demoralizing

The fat loudmouth in front of us couldn’t or wouldn’t shut up. Every Phillies hit was a reason for him to stand up and put on full display how obnoxious he could be. Earlier in the day the Nationals face of the franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, had gotten booed when accepting his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. On our way into the stadium we saw far more Phillies fans than Nationals fans, and weeks before that Nationals President Stan Kasten had gone on Phillies radio and invited Phillies fans down to the stadium. Plenty of good seats still available was the Nationals mantra and it didn’t matter who bought them.

 Those were a few scenes from Opening Day 2010. Today the weather was awful, the team still lost, but I just can’t help but feeling it is a step in the right direction. Or at least not a step further in the wrong direction. There was no trip to Atlanta to try and drum up extra ticket sales, and despite the terrible weather and a few no-shows the stadium was packed. Overall it was a good environment and a good day, and much better than Nats Opening Days or home openers I have been to in years past.

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This just in

Jason Heyward is currently on pace for 648 162 HR and 648 162 RBI and 162 BB.

A good start to the 2011 season for this half of BS,W.  Now I must patiently await the other five games, and keep vigilant to see which reliever(s) will claim the dubious honor(s) of respective first blown save, vulture win, and the glamorous blown save, win.

Reality Check

It’s over. The hot stove is shut down for seven months, and has been replaced by reality. Today is the first day when we stop guessing and start knowing. All the predictions, all the projections, all the claims and big talk are now meaningless. All that matters is what is. One can stare at PECOTA or Bill James projections or MARCEL forever, but it isn’t going to make one any truer than the other and known of them will tell you what really happens. They might all end up close, but it is a fair bet none of them will be exact.

Projections aren’t designed to be exact. I use them myself to get an idea of what might happen, but what might happen and what will happen are two very different things. If all the projections and prognostications were correct all the time then why even bother to play the season. No, defying odds is what makes baseball great. Watching the Padres play meaningful games until the final day of the season was fun. A World Series between the Rangers and Giants was fun. Some team this year is going to win that everyone expects to lose, and some team that everyone has picked to win won’t.

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A rational conclusion to one of current baseball’s big debates

I don’t really know what’s a scarier thought here – the fact that someone in the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area is now in posession of an illegally obtained AK-47, or that it actually belonged to Rays’ third baseman, Evan Longoria?  All I do know though, is that completely irrelevant to the subject at hand, I think I now know whom I’m picking in one of today’s greatest baseball debates, in the question of who baseball’s best third baseman is, between Longoria and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman.

Sure, they’re within a year apart in age and MLB experience.  Sure, both are both phenomenal hitters as well as defensive players, perennial threats for the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in both the American and National Leagues.  Both extremely integral cornerstones in the fortunes to their respective clubs.  Longoria’s current contract is without much debate, one the most economically team-friendly deals in the history of baseball, getting paid like it was 1997 instead of 2011.  Ryan Zimmerman is a tremendous talent, but clearly obscured, playing in the dull limelight of the cellar of the National League East.  But those with half a brain at examining players already realize that both are easily the best third basemen in their respective leagues, but between the two of them, which one is the superior?

Well, as of today, I’m giving the nod to Evan Longoria.  Such a decision has nothing to do with the fact that Evan Longoria is now the scariest guy in MLB, surpassing serial killer-lookalikes, Ross Gload and Michael Cuddyer.  Nothing to do with the fact that if he ever cared of what a bunch of blogging mom’s basement dwellers had to say about him, and decided to go all jihad, and rip into his online detractors with his personal Kalashnikov.  Nothing to do with the fact that it’s only a matter of time before he loses his mind playing for peanuts for a financially handcuffed team in a shitty ballpark, and decides to go all Contra on the rest of the world.  No, the AK-47 thing has nothing to do with any of it.

An Old Friend I Never Visited

This link from the Washington Post Going out Guide details some of the new food options being imported from New York, and the departure of one local favorite.

I still prefer Hecht’s and Woody’s to Macy’s but on this I am torn. I love Five Guys. According to my well traveled taste buds Five Guys burgers are the best in the land. I have traveled far and wide and tried every burger I can get my hands on and have yet to find one I like more than Five Guys. So, it is with a kind of sadness that I welcome Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, Box Frites, and El Verano Taqueria to Nats Park. It is only with a bit of sadness and not outright anger because I never ate at the Five Guys at Nats Park, and there is one located only a couple blocks from the stadium that sells burgers for far cheaper than anything found in a stadium.

I never ate at the Five Guys at Nats Park because I have a strong aversion to waiting in line, and Five Guys always had a line. It didn’t matter if I got there as soon as the gates opened on a rainy school night the line for Five Guys was already too long for my taste. I am looking forward to all the new food options in the scoreboard walk, but I do question if I will take one look at the line and then turn right around, head back down the escalator, and right up to the short wait at Hard Times for some giant nachos. I do really want to try Shake Shack and it is easier for me to try one at a place I am going to be 20 – 30 times a year than the new location going in at Dupont Circle.

The entire opening by June thing reminds me of an amusement park. During the previous year they keep the construction hidden behind a high fence with a sign that says, “Coming Spring 2011,” and then they open in 2011 and the new attractions aren’t yet open, but will be by June. It doesn’t really bother me as much as it is a minor annoyance, but I am the type of person that won’t eat what I want because there is a line, and that tells you all you need to know about my patience.

Celebrating second-best

Today, I’ve learned that the Atlanta Braves will be commemorating their 2010 playoff appearance by hanging up a banner on the Turner Field 755 Club wall.  The one caveat to this gesture is the fact that the Braves made the playoffs via the Wild Card.  Meaning the Braves will be joining the ranks of one of those teams, who celebrates, being second-best.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much pleased that the Braves made the playoffs in the first place, and am very much aware that making the playoffs in MLB is a far cry from the 36% of NFL teams and 50% of NBA teams to reach their respective sports’ playoffs.  But there’s something inherently wrong about the fact that an organization as aged and proud as the Braves organization is now relegated to celebrating Wild Card campaigns. 

It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion, but quite frankly, I’m rather against the idea of the Braves slapping up a second-place finish on the same wall with banners commemorating 14-straight division titles, five pennants, and a World Series victory.  Celebrating Wild Cards is something that the Mets do, or the Brewers, Astros, Cubs, and Rockies.  Organizations that are widely known for mediocrity, controversy, and/or playoff appearances once every blue moon, or were expansion teams brought in after the integration of the Wild Card.

But not the Braves, please.  An organization that likes to boast integrity, class, and success, and believes that it’s an organization genuinely dedicated to winning.  One that isn’t mired in economic scandals, or filled with players who feud with the media, or fighting with the parents of the mothers of their illegitimate children.  That isn’t seen as Bud Selig’s pet-project team that’s often suspected of having a little bit of an edge playing for Selig’s city.  Or one that relies on slogans and taglines (There’s only one Rocktoooober!). 

But unfortunately, the Braves have decided to celebrate second place.  And as much as I am looking forward to the impending start of the 2011 season, I really wish I didn’t find out about this news.  It’s not going to deter my fandom in the least bit, but I’m not going to lie, it is, going to be somewhat of an eyesore to me, unfortunately, forever now.