Didn't Make the Paper, Vol. IV -- and, finally, a chat
A bit brisk at the old yard last night. This clearly is not helping crowds -- 16,017 last night (remember, that's tickets sold, not turnstiles moved) was the smallest since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. Old low: Last July 5, when announced crowd of 18,441 saw Mike O'Connor and the Nats fall to Florida, 18-9. (Think we'll see that type of score again this year? Yikes.)
But keep in mind: We knew even before the season started that new lows would be set. (I'm talking about attendance. Easy on the other stuff. It's only four games.) Stan Kasten has said that the team sold "15 and change" season tickets, which means somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000, but he wouldn't be more specific and, besides, such things are a little too difficult for some of us to understand anyway, so he doesn't like to get into the complexities of it all. In fact, I'm confusing myself typing this and am getting a headache and may have to stop soon so I can go watch "Barney."
Anyway, because attendance figures represent tickets sold and not people in the seats, you know the lowest crowd the Nationals could have would be, well, 15 and change. Last year, when there were something like 16,400 season ticket equivalents (partial plans and full), that was the low threshold. The first season, even when there were, say, 15,000 people in the stands, the crowds were always announced as 22,000 or more because that's what the season-ticket base was.
(Kasten points out that, even though attendance fell from roughly 2.7 million in '05 to 2.15 million last year, the Nationals are fine, because the median season ticket base in MLB is like 14,800 or so. Always shooting for the median, that Kasten.)
Anyway, it was cold last night. No sane person would have sat in the office and said, "You know, I'd love to go to a ballgame tonight" and walked out to purchase a ticket. Could end up with similar situations this weekend, though I would hope people would want to see Brandon Webb v. John Patterson tomorrow night and Livan Hernandez return again on Sunday. (Love Livo, by the way. Watch him pitch Sunday and tell me if you think he lost some weight.)
Which brings us to a tiny bit of DMTP: LHP Matt Chico is one of the dudes the Diamondbacks traded to the Nationals last August for Livo. He worked his way into the No. 3 spot in the rotation, too, despite not being on Arizona's radar for such a spot for the next couple of years.
So, a bit of irony that in a four-game weekend series, Chico is the only Washington starter who won't get a turn to face the DBacks? "It would've been nice," he said last night. And then he smiled a bit. "It'll happen some day."
Chico's turn falls on Monday's off day, and I thought there might be a chance he would get skipped in the rotation. But it's a pretty good indication of what this season is about -- evaluating young players, etc. -- that Manager Manny Acta is bumping back everyone in the rotation, giving everyone an extra day of rest, and throwing Chico in the first game of a three-game set in Atlanta.
Jason Bergmann: Fifty pitches in the first inning. 5-oh. "That [stinks]" he said.
And that is all. Except: FIRST CHAT OF THE SEASON IS AT 2 P.M. TODAY. JOIN US, ONE AND ALL.
Talk to you then.
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