Nats win. Mets lose. Marlins lose. Papelbon (and Perez and the defense) fails but Kelley comes through. Espy and Bryce have big hits. All in all a good night except for that Perez and defense thing.
On trades, some people are suggesting you are better off doing nothing. That trades can't be effectual enough (at least for a team in a good regular season spot like the Nats) to matter in the playoffs so why do them? And yet, the last 5 WS winners all made some sort of important trade and just last year the Royals made trades for Cueto AND Zobrist. I'm not suggesting TRADES = WS. A lot of other teams in the last 5 years made trades and didn't win. What I'm saying is that trading is not stupid just because of an overall value loss. Sometimes they work and it's always worth it to explore making your team better. Smart teams try when they have a chance.
And the Nats have tried! Last year they brought in Papelbon. That was a pretty clear gamble for several reasons and was probably not enough but it was something. And in 2013 they brought in Asdrubal Cabrera. It wasn't a game changing trade, but it wasn't a team that needed a game changing move.
Make an honest effort to get better in 2016. Don't just say "good enough" because of years you are assuming will be 2012s and 2014s that may end up be the next 2013s or 2015s. That's all I ask.
Figure I'd use a lazy Friday to go over my vacation. If you don't follow me on Twitter I took a few days to hit up Minute Maid Park and Globe Life. Houston to Austin to ... well Arlington as I've been to Dallas a couple times before, will likely be again, so didn't feel the particular need for a day there and it made more sense travel wise. Got some BBQ in Lockhart, hit up LBJ Presidntial Library because that's how I roll (disappointingly only #4 of the 13 official ones - but to be fair some of them aren't exactly on the beaten path. I'll get them all eventually)
Minute Maid is a nice downtown park. It follows in the tradition of the standard new park format where you have your brick and you have your quirks, but it sort of falls flat in those regards. The quirks aren't really sensible. The train thing I know speaks to the former use of the location of the park but to an outsider doesn't feel like "Houston" at all. The hill with the in play flagpole harkens back to the days when unavoidable quirks caused dangerous play conditions, which I didn't think we wanted to get back to. They don't really detract, I liked the train, a lot in fact, but they don't make the park special in the way I think they were aiming for. Plenty of decent food, enough decent beer, and the enclosure was certainly welcome on a 100 degree day. Plus the enclosure seems to let in more light or at least give more of a view than other parks I've been to with the same feature. It's a fine park.
Globe Life I really liked. It's biggest issue is that it is not downtown, instead located in a town between Dallas and Ft. Worth in an area with amusement parks and the like. So you go to the park, not the city. But you can take a trolley there that runs from the hotels. Otherwise I think it's pretty great. It takes advantage of the space to be huge. Expansive concourses. A Rangers Hall of Fame that goes on forever and is honestly way TOO big. Great team stores. Tons of food choices. Lots of crazy ones in fact. Great beer selection as with prices as reasonable as can be expected. The office background thingy is unique in a way that is special. I'd be kind of disappointed if they were to move to a new park. I understand the call to downtowns but I have been to enough ok parks located in city limits. Personally, I'd rather hit up a special one a little out of the city.
This makes #25 and #26. If you are curious. A quick review of my personal opinions others (some defunct) by division :
Camden Yards - Love it. You can see why everyone tried to copy it. Right size. Right touches. Feels like it was always there.
Fenway Park - Speaking of always there, a neat visit to a real neighborhood park. When I went it was also dirty, lacked amenities, and was uncomfortable to watch a game at. Like sitting on a barstool for a 3 hour performance at Carnegie Hall. But it's been like 15 years so things are probably better.
Old Yankee Stadium - All it had going for it was the field. Otherwise it was like all the other cookie cutter parks of the era. Cramped, concretey, closed concourses. If it wasn't "my" park I probably would have hated it.
New Yankee Stadium - A missed opportunity. I wanted it to be over the top and while it's big and impressive, has all you want and more, but it doesn't go ALL-IN. It's impressive but I wanted more. Greek statues of hall-of-famers. Gilded touches. Holograms. Yankee Stadium should be ostentatious. It should make you hate it if you don't root for the Yankees yet want to go back.
Tropicana - Bleh. I will say they do try their best to make it an experience. You can touch and feed rays! But there's only so much you can do with that.
Progressive - Good downtown park. I don't remember it being very unique but I remember liking the whole downtown Cleveland experience. I do like the toothbrush lights.
Old Tiger Stadium - I get why it had to be torn down, cramped concourses, obstructed views but it basically had the bones of the idea of all the things new parks go after.
Comerica - I like all the Tiger touches. Still think it should have been a version of the old stadium though.
US Cellular - Last of the old types of parks, in fairness it really kind of does all those ideas the best you can do. It's not great but given it's now unique status I kind of liked it more than some of the more boring attempts at the new park normal.
Metrodome - Terrible. But I did meet the organist!
Safeco - Nice. A bit removed from downtown but I remember liking it. Nintendo. Sushi.
RFK - I don't know. I found it kind of fun. There was an energy there that I liked. I'm sure that was all "new team" fun and it would have been just hated come 2010 if they didn't move out.
Nationals Park - what do you want me to say? A bigger missed opportunity to not work in iconic DC architecture, location, views. "You can kind of see the Capitol if you sit up here and look out that way!" It's fine as is but one of my least favorite of the new parks. .
Marlins Park - I appreciate the attempt at making something uniquely Miami. I like the art deco concretey of it. I'm glad they went with that crazy sculpture. It doesn't all work but it's interesting.
Shea - Kind of charmingly rundown when I went. It felt very Mets. Oh it needed to be replaced but I could get why there was a certain love for it.
Citizens Bank - It's good, probably the thing I remember most thought is that all Philly parks are now essentially located in a giant parking lot at the edge of the city. Needs more to stand alone.
TED - If you didn't like my Nats park review, take comfort in the fact that this is the worst of the new parks in my opinion. Seems devoid of any sort of feeling, like walking into an baseball themed amusement park. Best part about it is the parking lot where you can see the section of the wall Hank Aarons HR went over.
Wrigley - Like my review of Fenway but better. Not as uncomfortable.
PNC - Personal favorite. In general with the new parks you want to be special, have a good location, and preferably be walking distance to stuff. This hits all three. Love the size. Love the view. Would love to see a series here
Miller - Fine. Has a slide still which is honestly a must for these guys.
Rieverfront - Kind of like Minute Maid in the "what is this for" Designed to look like a riverboat when I don't think anyone outside of Cincy thinks about that when thinking about the city, maybe not even people in the city. But certainly full of Big Red Machine stuff which is good
PacBell - A close #2 to PNC. Again just a great view and location, etc. etc.
Coors - Honestly - pretty damn good. There is no real view but it's walking from downtown and feels right in some way to me. Pine trees. Mile High Seats. Rocky Mountain Oysters. Right quirks.
Petco - Another pretty good one. Close to downtown. Like the big grassy field out there. Also got a personal tour there (I was only one on official tour) so that probably biases me.