Congratulations to brand-new-Hall-of-Famers Darrell Green and Art Monk. I know several of my friends who believe that the Hall’s snub of Monk for so long is one of the great injustices of the world to date, and it’s nice to see it finally resolved. Of course, Kissing Suzy Kolber had the best version of Monk’s acceptance speech, which actually made me choke on my coffee with laughter.
Of course, what made the rest of the weekend so sweet was Jim Zorn’s first pre-season victory, a 30-16 effort over the Indianapolis Colts. Rookie Colt Brennan looked good in the second half with a pair of TDs behind center. Of course, it’s still the pre-season, but any win is a good win over the Colts, even if they were short 7 of their starters. But, of all the words in the press this weekend, Wise’s are wisest: “Until they win like [the 80s/90s Redskins] again, the compare-and-contrast game will never end.” So, here’s to the Skins, may they again rise in glory. But what of the Nationals?
Oh, the Nationals. How I wish you’d played all season like you’d played this weekend.
Friday, they sent Felipe Lopez, Paul LoDuca and Johnny Estrada someplace else. Specifically, they gave them their outright release, the cruelest “Fuck you” in all of the roster moves. But no one could argue it was anything but deserved. LoDuca and Estrada were supposed to take rotational duty behind home plate, but it was Wil Nieves and Jesus Flores doing most of the work. And don’t even get me started on Felipe Lopez, who was the bane of Section 319, who rewrote the lyrics of Take Me Out To The Ballgame just to jeer him.
It seems, though, now that they’re gone, the Nats have discovered where their bats are. After getting swept three straight series (Phillies, Giants & Dodgers) they awoke on Friday with a new sense of purpose. New Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez (shall we call him the AG? I mean, that might set some sort of behavioral pattern we might not like later on…) showed his bat over the weekend, going 4 for 10 with a pair of doubles and three runs. And, almost as if to spite Lopez on his way out, Emilio Bonifacio who took over at second showed incredible Ozzie Smith-like acrobatics in his defensive role. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was 5 for 13 with a double, a triple, and an RBI.
So, what got into the Nationals that they could command such a presence? Was it the new blood from the various trades and pickups? Was it a stern talking-to from Acta and Bowden? I’m not sure, but they seemed indomitable this weekend, playing from behind on Saturday night, and establishing good performances on Friday and Sunday and keeping the lead.
Will they keep it up? Who knows. We’ll find out. They’re on the road again after the short homestand, with four games in Denver against the Rockies, and then four games against the Brew Crew in Milwaukee.
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