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The Plunking of Vinny

Amid the euphoria of baseball's return to Washington we must remember the importance of the emotion known as hate. You can't build a great baseball franchise on good feelings alone. You must hate other teams. You really need a rival, a team whose failures are more delicious than those of any other ballclub, and whose successes are more intolerable. So perhaps last night we had our first glimmer of this happy, hateful future: In the eighth inning, our own Vinny Castilla had a chance to hit for the cycle. For those of you who don't know what hitting for the cycle is -- well, there's no hope for you. Go back to watching the Westminster Dog Show or whatever it is you find amusing. Anyway, Castilla has already accomplished the double, homer and the all-important triple (triples are rarer than homers), so he just needs a single, a flare, an unplayable dribbler down the line, a seeing-eye grounder, a bloop, a dink, a bingle, a little fungo over the shortstop's head, anything, and his name will be in the history books. For the Diamondbacks, someone named Cormier is on the mound. First pitch, Cormier drills the ball into Castilla's shoulder. Plunked him. Obviously intentional. So much for the cycle. Castilla takes first base on the HBP. Unbeleeble. Total punk move. I was thrilled to hear, via my TV set (as a Total Loser I watched at home, eating a hot dog in honor of the big night), a hurricane of boos. This will give us something to stew about for months. There must be payback. This will not stand. We won the game and are thrilled to have baseball in our town again, and best of all we now have an enemy. FEEL THE HATE.

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 15, 2005; 9:15 AM ET
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