Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Quickie

As I've been traipsing about South Florida for the last few days I can't say much about the Nats.  I did see them in Miami, but it's not like I have any insights into their play from the upper deck.  So here are some general insights.
  • Strasburg may be the best pitcher in baseball and on the minds of people in DC, but for Nats fans in Miami he's clearly second (third? 5th?) fiddle.  I saw 0 Strasburg jerseys there and I saw an Ankiel and a Lombardozzi, for christ's sake.
  •  Who did the fans wear? Zimmerman some, but mostly Bryce Harper. Even as he slumps (he's hit .227 / .280 / .318 for the past month) Bryce Harper demands the most attention from the crowd.  And while there is some love/hate thing going on, more people seem positive (or at least neutral) to the kid, than openly dislike him, even at a "hostile" crowd. Whatever IT is, he has it.
  • The Miami crowd was pretty dead.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt because the game didn't do them any favors. The Marlins fell behind early, mounted no real challenges, the best on being erased on one pitch with the Austin Kearns DP before the crowd could even get excited.  It also felt long watching it, and the play was sloppy on both sides. 
  • That is a big field.  You don't really notice it at first with everything else to look at (including what's gotta be the busiest scoreboard in the majors) but you start looking down the lines and realize there is a lot of green out there. Zimmerman murdered that ball. 
  • The Marlins field crew haven't learned yet how to grow grass on this field.  Lots of patchy spots and some actual strips of sod in place
  • The aquarium might as well not be there.  A neat idea but doesn't execute well.
  • ZNN seemed in complete control.  It didn't feel like the Marlins were hitting much hard at all.  
  • I appreciate Marlins park for what it's trying to do. I really like the "neon" green of the OF walls and that silly HR thing didn't bother me at all. You strip all the identifying baseball items from the stadium and you still might be able to place it as being in Miami.  Not many stadiums can say that. 
  • I also hit up Tampa Bay (vs the Red Sox) and while the stadium was worse (though not as hideous as I imagined from what I've heard) the experience was better. More excitement from the crowd, better game, and you get to touch rays in a pool in the outfield. Also had free shuttles/trolleys you could take from a surprisingly decent downtown.  Wade Boggs was there signing autographs and charging for pics. 
  • Food was better at Marlins Park.  Beer was better at the Trop.
  • Also on the subject of beer - take those "craft beer available" with a grain of salt.  There's a big difference between several stations set up both on the upper deck and concourse, and one little out of the way place you have to trek to. Marlins Park was the latter (and had nothing local)
If you are wondering, this leaves me with 11 Stadiums to go to see a game at.  Rogers Centre, Kauffman, Target, Ballpark at Arlington, Angels, Oakland, Busch, Minute Maid, Dodgers, Chase (Arizona) and Citifield.   I've toured Dodger and seen All-Star events like the HR Derby in Minute Maid, but not games.  Next up is probably Citi - but I can hit that whenever.  Favorite so far remains PNC, least favorite is probably the Trop but like I said it isn't awful.  They do the best they can.  Turner is probably my least favorite "new park" experience.

7 comments:

Carl the Big Fool said...

Wow, you're right up there with me. I went to Target Field this week, and now I only have nine left. Miami and Tampa are both still on my list.

Harper said...

I've also hit Tiger, Shea, Old Yankee, RFK, and the Metrodome.

Minnesota and LA shouldn't be issues for me to hit in the next few years, and I almost talked my baseball travel buddies into KC/STL, so that'll happen. Can see convincing the wife to go to Toronto. Oakland I'll just wait to see what happens. The Texas teams and Arizona are going to be the hard ones. No reason to go, and no interest outside of baseball.

Carl the Big Fool said...

Arizona was pretty low on my list as well, but I met friends-of-friends who live in Phoenix, and learned they get the ballpark swimming pool once a year and invite people out. As gimmicky as that is to me as a baseball purist, that's as good a reason as any for me to go out there. So that may happen next year--the Mets and Dodgers are on my short list as well.

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts:
I just got back to DC after catching three games over the weekend in Miami and while agree the scoreboard is a mess I would contend with the comment about the Marlins crowd. Its possible that the closed roof amplified the noise level but I was impressed with the energy from what I perceive as a typically removed fanbase. On another note, Im not seeing any discussion about deadline moves. Are we really content with Lannan as a fifth starter when Stras reaches the limit?

Anonymous said...

Not all Nats fans in attendance Sunday shunned Strasburg jerseys. My family of DC transplants to Naples supported the Nats with both boys wearing Strasburg jerseys. They've outgrown their Schneider and Zimmerman jerseys...

Anonymous said...

Can anyone answer Anonymous' question about Lannan as the fifth starter? I know Rizzo has said he won't trade for a rental, but we have the money to sign any pitcher we acquire to an extension. Why are the Nats not being discussed as a potential landing spot for Ryan Dempster? Lannan may not be washed up, but he would significantly downgrade our rotation.

Harper said...

Pool Party! I like these gimmicks, keeps interest up for those going to the game that might not be really into baseball. The more things that keep the wave away the better.

Anon #1 - Hmm well I'm sure the Gio/Buerhle game was more energized but that first one was flat to me. Maybe it was amplified by the Rays / Red Sox difference.

Anon #2 - My looking around wasn't exhaustive but I did spend a couple food outings on Friday scouring the passing and sitting crowds. Strasburg may be represented but it's Bryce's town now.

Anon #1/#3 - On Lannan as the 5th - I think they are ok with it. I think Strasburg won't be shut down as early as people think. He'll probably go a couple more starts than ZNN so he'll only miss 5 or so. At that point it'll be a hot hand situation. Along with the tried and true Lannan, there's Maya, who's looked better this year in AAA but I still don't like, and prospect Daniel Rosenbaum who they may want to do a Peacock/Milone thing with. The gamble is that the Nats are safely in the playoffs come early September. If they are in a one-loss situation then this is foolish. I don't think they will be in trouble though.