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Zimmerman 3.0

Sitting in Union Station. Waiting for 9 a.m. Acela to Philly. Still reeling.

I am not a particularly pessimistic person (bite your tongue, Kasten). But when Chad Cordero wasn't healthy enough to pitch the ninth (we'll get to that), when Mark Teixeira missed a home run by maybe six feet, when the Braves moved a runner from second to third and then scored on a passed ball (should it have been a wild pitch, and thus an earned run against Rauch?), I didn't have an overwhelming feeling the Nationals would win.

Of course, they did. Of course, it happened in this fashion. Of course, it was Ryan Zimmerman.

Here's a paraphrased story Austin Kearns told me late last night in the Nationals' clubhouse (part of which is relayed in the above gamer). With Braves right-hander Peter Moylan on the hill, it figured the Nationals had little choice - lest left-handed hitting Nick Johnson could get to him. Kearns and Zimmerman have a joke about Moylan, that they'd just be happy to get a broken-bat single against him, because they feel as if they have no chance.

So I asked Kearns if anyone thought they'd get it done in the ninth. "Dmitri did," Kearns said. Young, apparently, told Kearns - due up fifth in the inning - that he wouldn't need to hit. Ahead of him were Cristian Guzman, Lastings Milledge, Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson.

"He said someone would do it," Kearns said. "I know he had Zimmy in there."

I'll expand on this later. But for now, do two things for me:

1. Rank your top five Nationals experiences. (I'd be interested where last night fit in.)
2. Give me some statistical guesses for Zimmerman on the year (using the traditional stats - batting average, homers and RBI).

And it might be worth getting the $.35/$.50-edition today, if just for the pictures alone. Dave Sheinin and Dan LeDuc captured the entire day on A1. Johnson had an emotional return. I can't tell you how much this guy missed playing baseball.

And, finally, Boz welcomed baseball back - again.

All kinds of Metro/Style/Food coverage as well. And that two-page spread of the first pitch was taken two seats over from mine in the press box, a very nice panorama.

Talk to you from Philly.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 31, 2008; 8:38 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pregame festivities under way
Next: Cordero: No DL -- yet



Any word yet on when the Post will have the Poster inserts available from last nights incredible home opener? Thanks!

Posted by: cmcclure27 | March 31, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

My Zimmerman Predictions:

Batting Average- .306
Home Runs- 36
RBI's- 118

Posted by: cmcclure27 | March 31, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The legend of Zim continues ...

Posted by: 307/418 | March 31, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I will check on the posters and get back to you. In 2005, I believe they ran on the following Sunday, but I'll make sure you all get word.

Posted by: Barry Svrluga | March 31, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman is Mr. Walkoff!

Posted by: WFY | March 31, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry! Since Cordero was statistically the best reliever and the least dependent on the RFK effect, his injury is ominous. Boz predicted that Rauch would have trouble, and didn't he though? Why take Ayala out? Zimm's homer covered this steaming mound of anxiety with the beautiful snow of grace, but there are nasty trends to watch. Last night has to be the best Nats experience, followed by Zimm's walkoff against the Yankees, followed by Dmitri's grand slam last July 4th. Followed by the 2005 game in Anaheim where the septugenarian Frank had to be held back from jumping on Mike Soscia, as did Crazy Jose Guzman, who responded with a walk-off and post-game interview in which he pronounced Soscia a piece of human garbage.

Posted by: flynnie | March 31, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Top 5 - not there last night, but saw all of these in-person:

Zimmerman's walk-off against the Yankees on Father's Day

Ramon Ortiz's no-hit bid into the 9th inning on Labor Day, including his only home run; Pujols' upper deck homer in the 9th

Zimmerman's upper, upper deck home against the Padres

Livan throwing his gloves and other accessories into the stands after being yanked by Frank

Nats come back against the Braves with 4 runs in the 8th

Posted by: Mike | March 31, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

1. a. Checking out of cardiac intensive care in time to go home and watch TV broadcast of RFK 2005 Home Opener -- and lustily booing Lance Cormier when he broke up Viny Castilla's attempt at "the cycle." I knew I was in the tank for these jokers;

b. Teddy dropping in from RFK's roof. I know it's not baseball, but the Big-Headed Presidents hadn't yet been run into the ground, and it was wildy fun and funny, and reminded me that baseball doesn't have to be about arbitration and subpoenas;

c. The end of Frank Robinson's retirement speech. (my *worst* Nats moment may have been minutes 5 through 18 of said speech);

d. watching Jim Bowden snag a Nick Johnson foul ball in the RFK press box, then watching him lean out and attempt -- successfully -- to toss it to the ten-year-old boy next to me, who called his mom on a cell phone to tell her he had a "Nick Johnson baseball, and he's the best player EVER!" And no, I didn't know the kid; I just gave him and his father some spare tickets; and finally

e. Christian Guzman's single to right in the bottom of the first on Opening Night 2008. Baseball was back, the wait was over, and we could really move into a new era of baseball.

Sorry; no Spanky moments in my top five, although I love the guy and his clutch game-enders.

2. .294 BA -- 26 homers -- 119 RBI.

Posted by: 241 Scott | March 31, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Top 5:

5. Zim beating the Yankees on Father's Day

4. Opening night at RFK 2005

3. Frank duking it out with Scoscia/Frank stealing home run back from Braves on Memorial Day.

2. Last night

1. Hail to the Chief--10 straight wins & first place in June 2005

Posted by: 307/418 | March 31, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Was last night a sell-out? The box score only has 39K and change and capacity is 41,888. Anyone know the story behind that?

Posted by: 315 | March 31, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I wonder whether they held back too many on the first day of single-ticket sales.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about a top five off the top of my head, but several of my fave in-person games have already been mentioned. Among my faves would be both of the wins against the Yanks (the comeback one day - proving once again that it ain't over till it's over - followed by Zimm's walkoff the next day), Meat Hook's grand salami, and Patterson's complete game against the Dodgers (along with Wilky's slice of salami). hmmm, that's already four, isn't it?

I'm not big on predictions so I'll leave that for others.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to add "shutout" for the Patterson game.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Carrying over 231's picture link from previous post... awesome pics. Hello new desktop background!


if this works, delete the space between photo and bucket.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 12:58 AM

Posted by: MKevin | March 31, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

What an amazing experience all the way around!! Ted, Stan, & Co should be congratulated by everyone for pulling it off.

Barry - Does the post ever sell electronic copies of it's pictures?? I'd love to get a really nice version of the first pitch framed for the basement. (My wife only wants the Zimmerman shot but that's a different story).

My top 5:

- Yesterday... it's hard to imagine but walking in and around for the first time (Thanks to Boz for the "best path to take it all in" advice), seeing Nick Johnson (my favorite player) back and get the first RBI, the walk off homer... seats within an arms reach of George Will and literally a much better parking/driving experience than I ever had at RFK. It was a near perfect night for me and my group.
- Opening Day 2005 - the mood was different than last night. Kind of like seeing your kid born versus sending them off to college.
- Zim's Father's Day homer - which btw, my most emotional moment last night came when I was on the back concourse and glanced up and saw the humongous picture of him crossing the plate on the back on the scoreboard. Really, really felt like the Nats were part of us and our city.
- Zim's homer against the Pads - I was so cold and wet and it all just went away for a bit.

Posted by: Still pinching myself | March 31, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

With a view of the Capitol Dome in the background, Zimm's Walk off is burned into my brain forever.

I don't care what it costs; but they need to replace the photo on the backside of the big screen with last night's equivalent. Make the picture moment match the venue. The new photo should stay up until they replace it with the World Series shot.

In magical moments that most missed. My favorite game till last night was in Sep 06 when the rain delayed game started near midnight. 600 drunken but sobering Philly fans (last call was 2 hours before 1st pitch) were outdone by the 100 loyal Nats fans that stayed. Played until 2 AM, the game had an intimate quality that will never be repeated and we knocked off the Phillies.

Posted by: Section 311 | March 31, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

BTW... Clark Construction left the stadium cam running last night so it was snapping pics the whole game. Some pretty cool shots there too.

Posted by: MKevin | March 31, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of video and pics, is anybody else having problems viewing the video highlights on the team site? I was also unable to view the free MLB TV preview on Saturday. Perahps there might be issues with the new Microsoft player being used on the MLB site?

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'll claim the first typo of the regular season. :-)



Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

So many good ones, but off the top of my head:

1. Driving home for the weekend to see my family in Reston, including an older sister who just moved out and a younger one who just left for college. Spending all weekend checking nats journal and every other word i could find on the web just to curb some of the excitement. Getting to the park hours early just to wander around and watch the nats take BP. Complaining about how all the fans were leaving early in the 7th when i could stay and i had a 4 hour drive back to blacksburg to catch my 8 am class. Zimmerman (nuff said). Making it back to blacksburg and staying awake through class completely on adrenaline. Welcome home!

2. Playing hookie on a monday with my dad and two of my sisters to go to philly for the first ever nationals game. The team lost but it was OUR team that lost.

3. Yankees game after fathers day with my 3 sisters. Watched rivera come in to blow a save in the 8th, i used to be so afraid of him but the nats seem to have his number.

4. Sitting in my dorm room 4 years ago and hearing the announcement live on ESPNews that the expos were officially moving to Washington DC.

5. Riding to a little league soccer game about 15 years ago and hearing on the radio that Washington DC might get a baseball team sometime soon. It was that moment that i ceased to be an o's fan and became a DC baseball fan. My life has never been the same.


I'd love to see Zim hit something like .293 with 31 homers and 111 rbis. More importantly (even though he's on my fantasy team) i'd love to see him snag a gold glove because i think that's what he wants most. A couple more at bats like his last wouldn't hurt none either.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | March 31, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

i was in line with my buddy for the $5 tickets line. (i already had a ticket, was there for moral support). my friend was number 401. sold out. there were at least another 400 in line, if not more after us.

fortunately, they allowed him to buy a lower level ticket at face value for $68 bucs. meanwhile, people in line hearing of the news went to a scalper across the street and paid $65 for $20 seats.

interesting that the ticket window allowed my friend to buy a ticket for another part of the stadium, but i can understand it. they did allow him to the window (someone was ushering the folks to the window when they came available)

but for a game that was 'sold out' they did manage to find around 5 single tickets throughout the stadium for those of us that made it to the window for the $5 tickets.

i think it was a successful way to go about doing it. i do have a complaint though - as one member of a family would go down around noon, and then the rest of their family would show up at like 2 or 3. i think thats wrong. they should give a ticket number based on when you get there. reserving spaces like that, although unavoidable, is a slap in the face to those that are behind that person in line.


Posted by: theraph | March 31, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

1. Last night (once we got through security, it was a dream come true)

2. Home opener 2005

3. Opening Day 2005, Philadelphia. I was at all 3 of the big openers, both home games with my father - who's been a DC baseball fan for nearly 60 years.

4 and 5 are in the works - saving them for future glory.

Posted by: Kev | March 31, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Top five:

1)Opening day 2005

2)Brian Schneider's extra-innings bomb at Wrigley Field in '05. The Chief had blown the save and the rest of the team was determined to bail him out.

3) Zim's Father's Day homer

4) Nick Johnson's double last night. With all that talk about upgrades to the team this year with the acquisitions of Milledge, Dukes, Lo Duca, etc., the first inning showed how important Johnson and Kearns (and Guzman) are to our team. (And No. 23 wouldn't have let that ball get past him.)

5) Ramon Ortiz' Labor Day bid for a no-hitter.

Posted by: Nats Gal | March 31, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I see Zim at .298/31 HR/119 RBI

Top 5 Nats moments

1. Opening Day 2005
2. Last night
3. Zimmerman's walk off on Father's Day
4. Austin Kearns' inside the park home run
5. the 12 (if I recall correctly) game win streak in may of 2005.

Posted by: VT Mikey | March 31, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

My favorite moments at games that I attended were Ramon Ortiz's near no-hitter, and especially, just for pure crazy, unexpected joy, his home run that day. The other was Frank Robinson's farewell speech. Although I wasn't there, Zimmerman's home run last night is definitely another memorable Nats moment, but for me, seeing Nick Johnson in the best game shape he's been in since we've been watching him in DC, and driving in the first run in the new park was just about as exciting.

One other thing. Were others as miffed as I was about how the ESPN announcers talked more about the Braves than the Nationals, and even incorrectly identified Jon Rauch as Chad Cordero? I was so glad that Zimmerman showed there are other players out there in teams that are not Atlanta, NY, etc. Go Nats!

Posted by: bullpen fan | March 31, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Zimmerman's line: .287/25/93. I think we should keep our expectations reasonable for the kid. If he goes over 30 HR and/or 100 RBI, I think he should be applauded as someone exceeding expectations. He's still only 23!

Best moments:
1. Opening Day 2005
2. Opening Day 2007
3. Zimmerman's Father's Day homer
4. 10 in a row, May 2005
5. Denying the Mets the playoffs in 2007

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | March 31, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Ooops meant opening day 2008, not 2007. 2007 was not so hot.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | March 31, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

5)Zim's Fathers Day Walkoff
4)Jose going ballistic with Scioscia
3)Goozie's rocket single last night.
2)Meat's Salami on July 4th
1)Maybe it'll change, but nothing even comes close to the feelings last night with the walk off job by Zim. It was utterly indescribable. I had a smile on my face for 2 hours. I actually got up in a great mood, even though it's a Monday.

Zim's line?: .295/28/105 Swap Slick and him in the order, and Zim could get 115-120 RBI's.

Posted by: Section 138 | March 31, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Some thoughts I had based on last night:

*Entering: no problem for me. I was about the twelfth person in the park just after 3:30, which is why it was so easy. As NatsNut can attest to, I was completely floored by the park (she came over to say hi and I must have glared at her for distracting me from my precious. I tried to rebound and be friendly, but I wanted to seeeeee! Sorry, NatsNut, you know I think you're great). Got my pic with Teddy, of course.

*Stadium: I love its openness. It almost feels like you've strolled in to a community ball field the way the green just kind of comes upon you. However, the noise of the crowd seemed a little muffled by all that open space, not echoing, like RFK.

*Pitchers: Nice to see Rauch giving a little homage to the Chief in his performance. From my vantage point, it looked like a passed ball, not a wild pitch. Whichever it was, Schneider would not have lost it. C'est la vie.

*Zimmerman: What doesn't this guy mean to this team? And that home run was clearly over, I got a great profile view. Definitely my most memorable Nats game.

*President: I get paid to oppose the President, but I gave him a golf clap. I thought booing was tacky, but, more importantly, I respect his office -- no, not THAT position, the position as thrower of the first pitch at my new stadium.

I am just beside myself with glee. I had such a good time and I have such hope for the future there. Put me back to 85 wins.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

5 Best Moments in Nat's History
1. Father's Day 2006 Walk-off by Zimm against Yankees
2. Opening Night 2005
3. Opening Night 2008
4. Labor Day 2006 Ramon Ortiz's near no-hitter and Home Run against Cards
5. Late 2005 Game where Nats win in 12th against the Phillies. hopes were still alive for a playoff birth.

Zimmerman's 2008 stats
.305 37HRs 122 RBIs

Posted by: BRothbart | March 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Giving that I was still in college during the 2005 season - my moments are from 2006 on.

5. 2006, Soriano's 2HR night vs Philly
4. 2007, Bergmann's near no-no vs Atlanta
3. 2007, Near comeback vs Detroit (so much energy in RFK that inning)
2. 2006, Zims walk-off vs the Yanks
1. 2008, Opening Night at Nationals Park

Zim's line: .305/25/115

Posted by: Corey | March 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

A little off topic, but has there ever been a Walk Off Homerun in a stadium opener? I was thinking about the Post's "What Does It Feel Like ..." segments and thought it would be cool to ask Zim what it felt like to hit a Walk Off in the stadium opener, which got me wondering if anyone alive has ever had that experience other than him. Does anyone know?

Posted by: Dsmac | March 31, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse


someone asked a while back who would get injured on opening day?? well you have your answer. hopefully both are minor injuries.

Posted by: theraph | March 31, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Rauch may have stumbled but the Chief's history against the Braves, especially Chipper, put a knot in my stomach. Really didn't want to see C. Jones spoil the opener. I wonder if his shoulder problem was brewing in spring training and was the cause of the loss of velociy.
On another note, I have a feeling that the Red Porch may be receiving a lot more "skimmers". Z-Man's walk-off would have been a double, at best, in RFK.

Posted by: NatMan | March 31, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Something of note from my scorecard (which is, unfortunately, at home right now). I counted last night five or six outs in the game attributable directly to Austin Kearns, some of which required quite a bit movement. I wish that we could credit him with an out for that amazing assist that nabbed McCann at second, too, which would definitely not have happened without him.

Add an RBI and Kearnsy had the biggest secret success of the night.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where I can find audio clip of Slowes call for the walkoff?

Posted by: AdMo Nats | March 31, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Slightly off topic but interesting: The link is to a survey of costs for games at the 30 MLB stadiums this year, based on average seat price and typical purchases for a gourp of 4 (beer, dogs, sodas, parking - what parking?, programs, and souvenirs). Nats park ranks 16th in cost for tix and 13th for typical fan cost.

Oh, went last night. Still smiling and horse. Victory!

Posted by: PTBNL | March 31, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse


1. definitely opening day 2005. there was an electricity all night that just couldn't be beat. as great as zimmerman's homer last night was, the whole game didn't have the same feeling as 05.
2. opening day last night. finally got my dad up for a game (lifelong senators fan, used to walk to griffith park for games), and zimmerman's HR really made the game.
3. soriano's 3 HR game against atlanta. my buddy and i hung out through the long rain delay (maybe partially because of the very hot trio of atlanta fans in our section) and were rewarded with a great game by sori.
4. opening day 06. beautiful afternoon game, perfect temperature, had great seats behind the nats dugout. played hooky from work.
5. astros game in 05 with oswalt pitching. was sitting 6th row, on the aisle, behind home plate. oswalt's fastball has unbelievable movement at 94-95. i still have a video taken w/my digicam of preston wilson's 9th inning HR off of lidge that night that i managed to capture.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Anyone read Zimmy's lips as he was running up the first base line? He clearly said: "Get the f--- out of here!"

Posted by: Bethesda | March 31, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"Does anyone know where I can find audio clip of Slowes call for the walkoff?"

If you goto the Nationals homepage, click on the score where the schedule is listed, this will bring up boxscore. Click on gameday audio and they will have the whole game. You will need to be a member though. It is only 14.95 for the full year and a great way to listen to the game at work if you can get it on your radio due to interference.

Posted by: brothbart | March 31, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

1. Turning on the first Spring training game and seeing the Curly W on the players caps in 2005.
2. Watching an away spring training game in 2005 and seeing WASHINGTON on the front of their uniforms.
3. Opening day 2005 at RFK with Castillo.
4. Zimmermans walk off against Yankees.
5. Everything last night at Nationals Park

Posted by: Doug B | March 31, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Glorious stadium, glorious opener, glorious walk-off--Zim is a treasure! Moments:

1. Opening Day 2005
2. Opening Day 2007
3. Father's Day walk off
4. Defying the dire predictions for 2007 (just ask the Mets who not only still hold that lousy record, but who got tanked by the team which was supposed to replace them)
5. Da Meat slam 2007, as symbolic of the Comeback Kid.

We had no troubles getting into/out of the stadium. We got there before six, and the security lines were not bad at all. The openness and views (on field, mainly, but off too) are great. Only one minor snag--our half smokes from the Nats dogs stand behind sec 409 were cold. I'm sure they will work that out in short order so we won't have to experience that bit of RFK nostalgia again. Back onto other positives, the people who were running the consession stands, directing ped traffic, welcoming us to the stadium, etc, were really terrific. Polite, upbeat and simply pleasant in all dealings. Guess that Disney training took. I look forward to many more great Nats moments. Welcome home indeed!

Posted by: NatsFly | March 31, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to answer Barry's other question:

At first, I was thinking wild pitch, but the replays clearly showed LoDuca was at fault. Passed ball, all the way.

Posted by: Section 138 | March 31, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

both kearns and francoer were very busy last night. lot of balls to right field from both teams. hudson was *really* impressive after the first. he had 31 pitches in the first, 78 over 7 innings. so 6 innings, 48 pitches.

oh, and my zimmerman numbers: 295/28/110. and 40 2Bs.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Oops--make that "opening day 2008" not 2007.

Posted by: NatsFly | March 31, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Somewhere in my top five: the game in September 2005 when Guzman's late season hot streak finally pushed his average up over the Mendoza line.

About Lo Duca: I'm willing to give him a pass (so to speak) on the passed ball last night on the basis that he hasn't had much time to familiarize himself with the staff, and that he's generally rusty from recovering from the injury.

However, his throwing scares the caca out of me. If he can't do any better than those lollipops he threw down to second in the Zero's game on Saturday, we're going to get stolen blind. It wouldn't surprise me if he develops a mysterious nagging "injury" that forces the Nats to start Flores.

Posted by: joebleux | March 31, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

5) Announcement that a team is coming to DC
4) RFK Opener 05
3) July 4, 2007
2) Zimm vs. mighty Yankees
1) Last night (recency effect)

zimm - .292 36 HR 103 RBI

Nats park concessions/apparel revenues opening day? 2 million?

Zimm's homerun: Priceless

Posted by: GoNats | March 31, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Top 5 memories:

1) Home Opener 2005. I doubt I will ever attend another sporting event that feels as special as that day did.
2) Father's Day against the Yankees. Totally unexpected, and awesome.
3) Opening Day 2008. This might not have rated a top-5, but for Zimm's walkoff job.
4) Exhibition Game 2008. I spent all Saturday walking around that park grinning like an idiot. Concession lines were more manageable, it wasn't as cold, and we got to watch the sun set. Shame on ESPN for forcing an 8:15 PM start on OD.
5) Season Opener 2005, Philly. Seeing a WASHINGTON baseball franchise take the field in a regular season game almost made me cry.

Posted by: Deep Fried Screech | March 31, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

GoNats, we talked about that a lot at our seats last night. probably few tshirts sold, but record sweatshirt/jacket/blanket/knit hat sales last night. my buddy went all over the park in search of a touque (sp?) as we explored and only found one at one stand (and not in the main store).

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Zims homerun was priceless last night. Boring game baseball wise but I was on the end of my seat and turned to my wife and said...this pitch, homerun. And there it went. Had me up out of my seat and definitely a way to christen the stadium. Except for OD 2005 first pitch, this is the 2nd best moment for Nats baseball.

Posted by: svxcountry | March 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Great improvement on this team from last yea; Acta has a bench to go to this year. No more Fick and a prayer.

Biggest potential problem that has been under reported; Lo Duca (as I mentioned twice after Sat Night's game) is a very poor defensive catcher. He does not block anything. I have only seen him twice behind the plate but boy he is slow and either lazy never learned how to move and block balls. That was a BP......Brian S would have had no trouble with it and now I can see why the Mets wanted a new catcher so bad.......

Posted by: JayB | March 31, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

i agree that the topic has been under reported. but what do you want them to do? admit they made a mistake hiring a catcher, the one position where defense should trump offense, and say he sucks in the field? everyone knows it. but hes a "gamer"

there have been plenty of people here, including me, harping on that all along. and the response was "well hes better offensively so it will make up for the loss of defense" or "defense is underrated" or "give him a chance" etc...

he seems to get along with the guys and does hustle. but he defense is terrible. especially the noodle arm.

care to wager on the number of runs he gives up defensively? ill keep track.

Posted by: theraph | March 31, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Fantastic night. Metro worked extremely well. Some have complained about long delays getting into the park -- that's why they told us to get there before 6:30 folks! There were no lines at 6:00.

Concessions were slow at times and I agree with those that have said that the bulk of the problem seems to be with the service provider folks needing to get up to speed (pun intended). Hopefully this will improve with time. My half smokes were hot (both nights).

Loved the CF beer garden, great place to meet friends for a drink, whether before or during the game.

And I called Zim's walkoff too -- I even stood up and started clapping before it happened. Of course a good part of that was just wishful thinking -- it was cold!

The pic on the back of the scoreboard is great -- and how fitting that the same scene unfolded on the field on opening night in the new park! It was almost surreal.

Zim in 2008: .292-27-99. With two more walkoffs, at least one on a holiday.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | March 31, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

1. Last Night
2. Zims 4th of July Walk Off
3. Ramon Ortiz near no-no
4. Zims Late night walk off grand slam
5. Nook Logan "where was he going!?!" (not the finest nats hour, but look back and tell me you dont laugh now)

Posted by: love | March 31, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

i mentally called zimmerman's homer, too. as evidenced by the fact i had my camera up to my eye watching through the zoom lens as i snapped those photos. ;)

i hesitate to mention this here, but since it won't stay secret for long, i'll let my fellow NJers in on the secret first. we got to the game pretty early yesterday, around 4. i wanted to drive by on my way to RFK to catch the shuttle. as i was going down south capitol, i saw "parking-$20." there's a $20 pay lot at florida gravel yard right next to the south cap bridge. at 4, we were about the 10th car in there. immediately after the game, it was still mostly empty. but it's probably the closest lot not in the garage, with really easy access to the home plate entrance.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

5. Meat-Hook's grand slam last July 4, after Zimmerman had already hit his own homer and gone 2-for-2 and BEEN WALKED immediately before.

4-1. ALL of Zimm's walk-off game winning hits, whether they be homers or base hits. Particularly when listening to Charlie Slowes' call. Last night, even though I wasn't there, was infinitesimally sweet (because I stayed up late here in San Diego to watch the replay of the game on ESPN just to see the homer), although the July 4, 2006 homer against the Marlins as well as that late-night (2am?) homer last year (I forget who it was against) were utterly wonderful, too.

This is why my jersey -- the first baseball jersey I've ever owned -- spells Z-I-M-M-E-R-M-A-N on the back! :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | March 31, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Glad someone else noticed Kearns's game last night.
I was sitting at the end of the upper deck in RF, so I didn't any of those plays live.
Beforehand I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to see the scoreboard from our seats, but that worry happily proved unfounded.

Posted by: Chime 121 | March 31, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Add "see"

Posted by: Chime 121 | March 31, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Your on.....I say it is over 6 runs on BPs and over 20 PB in 120 games.

Posted by: JayB | March 31, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey, has anyone noticed that the NATS have the best record in Major league baseball this year?

Posted by: Doug B | March 31, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Top 5:

1 -- Zim's walk-off against the Yankees (2006)
2 -- Last night
3 -- 12-game winning homestand (2005)
4 -- Ortiz's near no-no (complete with HR)(2006)
5 -- Bergmann's near no-no (2007)

2008 Zim Prediction: .295/37/125. Last night proved that all those RFK doubles will be HRs at the new park.

Posted by: Ashburn | March 31, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if and when Zimmerman and Johnson will switch places in the batting order. What would each of them need to do for Manny to make this move, or is it more an issue of what does spot 5-7 need to look like for that move to make sense?

Zim's 2008 line - .307/.402/.582/33HR/117RBI and a top 5 finish for MVP

Posted by: estuartj | March 31, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse


I doubt they will ever switch them in the order unless someone else steps up to provide worthy protection for Zimm.

Posted by: GoNats | March 31, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

5) Frank Robinson going nose to nose with Mike Sciosia in California

4) Mayor Williams announcing that baseball was back in Washington (tears still come to my eyes)

3) Zimmerman vs. Yankees

2) 1st Home Game in 2005

1) Last night walking the red carpet into the Center Field entrance... (the rest of the night included) I won't forget that one any time soon

Zimmerman = .285, 28, 105

Posted by: Nats Fan | March 31, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Top 5 Nats moments
1a) Livan throwing a first pitch strike to start the first game back in DC.
1b) The Nats winning the first game back in DC.
2) Zimmerman's walk-off vs the Braves last night.
3) Zimmerman's walk-off vs the Yankees.
4) All of June, 2005.
5) (tie) Bergmann, Ortiz and Astacio's near no-hit gems.

My prediction for Zimmerman:
.288/.353/.512, 29 HR, 117 RBI

Posted by: hoagie | March 31, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

estuartj - The other reason to bat Johnson 4th is to stick the only true lefty bat a couple spots from your switch hitting leadoff hitter. Avoids the LOOGY going more than one batter. Part of the reason thought I'd like to see 1-2-3-4 Milledge-Johnson-Zimmerman-Kearns. But I would not go to that until I see if Guz/Lopez can get .340 OBP out of leadoff.

Posted by: PTBNL | March 31, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If Milledge becomes the hitter we all hope he will then it might make sense to bat Johnson 2nd, Milledge 3rd and Zimm 4th, but I like Zimm in the 3rd whole. I think it is better to put someone behind him who also has pop like Pena. It would be great to bat Johnson 2nd if we could.

Posted by: BRothbart | March 31, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I like Zimm in the 3rd whole, too, on the hole. He gets more at bats every game and there's always someone for him to knock in. Don't forget that most of his walk-off (I know some here hate that term) RBI have been singles or doubles. He's not a classic clean-up hitter, he's a classic number 3, getting that double to put him in scoring position and hopefully knocking a few in at the same time.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Any idea if Zim's homer would have been over the fence at RFK?

Posted by: CurlyW | March 31, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Empty seats at the new Park due to their dark blue/gray color do not stand out in the night as much as the yellow, orange, pink seats of RFK did. That being said, all of the seats in NATS Park appeared to be filled at first pitch by Perez.

Posted by: Soon to Be Section 204 | March 31, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

it would not have been a homer at RFK. would have been on the warning track, maybe just short of that.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

In fact, it would not have been a home run if not for that little jut that the red porch seats cause. Ten feet to the left and it would have been a double. Of course, five feet to the left would have given Chipper a double as well.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

CurlyW, wouldn't have been the warning track at RFK...

As for where Zim and Nick hit I think we'll eventually see Zimmerman in the cleanup role as his power continues to develop. Nick is more a prototypical 3-hitter (normally your best hitter), but they don't want to put too much pressure on Zim at this point - especially if he isn't going to be getting proper protection from Kearns/Pena/Lo Duca/Dukes in the 5-7 slots.

Posted by: estuartj | March 31, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

BA: 275
HR: 28
RBI: 98

Posted by: hoo | March 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No way that was a wild pitch. LoDuca tried to backhand it and did not move his body at all, which was particuliarly distrubing since he was set-up on the outside corner. Yes, Schneider gets that ball (so too does Flores - probably).

Posted by: lowcountry | March 31, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Lo Duca's PB was probably the correct official scoring, but I wouldn't leave Rauch off the hook. Lo Duca set up on the outside corner and the ball dove way inside and low. Lo Duca either got crossed up with the sign or else the ball slipped out of Rauch's hand.

Posted by: Brant Alyea | March 31, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if anyone else has ever hit a walk off HR in a stadium opener? Is Zim the only one alive to do so?

Posted by: Dsmac | March 31, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that was all on Lo Duca from my angle. Well, not totally, the pitch was low, but his position is nicknamed "backstop" for a reason.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Top 5:
1) May 15th, 2005 against the Cubs - I flew back from school and went straight to the ballpark for my first ever Nats game. I moved down (sorry to those who don't like that) and was part of the fans who bounced the stands during our comeback. We lost in the end though.
2) June 2005 - I went to 20 games in 2005, usually walking up and getting a 5 dollar ticket. We went 16-4 in my attendance, and 10 of those games were in June.
3) Rick Short's 1st career MLB hit and RBI.
2) Father's Day Walk Off
1) Last Night. I wasn't there, but I watched the entire game, called Zim's shot, woke up the neighbors with my yell, and now I get to rub in that the Braves lost to my students (I'm in ATL). Amazing.

Zim: .295, 28 HR, 113 RBIs 10 SB

Posted by: NattyDelite! | March 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I've been hoarse since I booed harder than I've ever booed before at Bush last night. Of all the times I've made a spectacle of myself at sporting events, this was my proudest moment.
I won't try to come up with a list, but Ryan's homer last night is my #1. It was just such a perfect moment. But I was disappointed in the fans. Really disappointed. I was shocked by how many people left early. By the end of the game, the seats behind homeplate were practically deserted. Moreover, where was the spirit? I know the new place doesn't hold in the sound as well as RFK did, but how can all these people quietly sit through the opener in a new park? Everyone there last night must have gone through some kind of trouble to get there, and you just quietly sit there, inning after inning? I know the Nats didn't get a hit for 7 straight innings, but maybe they would if people would give them some more encouragement.
Finally, everyone can thank me for the game-winner: when Zimm, came up, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, home run wins it, I stood up and started waving my arms for everyone in my section to get up, too, get up and cheer on the face of our franchise. No one else did, including my buddy sitting next to me. Despite being alone and sounding like I'd been gargling glass all night, I screamed my head off and stood for the whole at bat. It only after the game that I started to feel kind of crummy about the behavior of my fellow fans. I think if you treat going to the ballgame like going to the movies, you shouldn't go.

Okay, I'm done.

Almost: Zimm's line - .285 30HR 120RBI

Posted by: Southwester | March 31, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

O.k. yall....I need some desperate help. I dealt with it during Spring Training but after last night I don't think it'll be bearable. Any IT wizards out there please share the wealth.

I don't get radio reception in my office - I get like 3 channels (funny I get WTOP but now the Nats are on 3WT); also, I can't access MLB gameday audio because it's blocked (access denied) due to an IT-imposed feature via a 3rd party.

So what do I do? Anybody know any loopholes through these blocks or how to jerry-rig a little AM/FM transistor radio antenna extension?

Posted by: Corey | March 31, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

See if you can get 3WT on the web. I think they also broadcase the station from their site.

Posted by: brothbart | March 31, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

your proudest moment at a sporting event was that you booed yourself hoarse at president bush? i mean, i really don't like the guy at all, never have, but i find that kind of sad.

i was a little disappointed in the noise as well. but i also think that we didn't have as many signature moments in the game to really get up for. let's face it, 2nd through 8th innings, we were no-hit. hudson retired 19 straight, i think. there was noise in the 1st and the 9th.

plus clapping your hands with gloves on doesn't make that much noise... ;)

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

i have to agree that the 3WT stations give really crappy overall coverage in the VA area. i get static on 107.7 in falls church and really bad 1500. by the time i'm in old town, it's just the opposite. but never do i get a good strong signal from either.

Posted by: 231 | March 31, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

5) The June 2005 winning streak.
4) Zimmerman's walkoff against the Yanks.
3) 4/17/05- My first time in RFK watching a MLB game since the Senators days of 1971.
2) Being at RFK for the last game in 2007.
1) Far and away, last night's experience was the best. The stadium is absolutely gorgeous, the RFK shuttle worked like a charm, the staff at the stadium was tremendous and the game was out of a Hollywood script.

As for Zim, .305, 34 HRs, 113 RBI.

Posted by: TJh | March 31, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse


are you near a window? radio shack has all kinds of high-powered antennas that you can hookup to an existing radio. the catch is that it might only work if you are near a location that could actually pick up a signal. if you are "landlocked" you can try, but to a far lesser extent.

many times its not your specific building, but the buildings next to you that disrupt the signal. i can help, but i need more info.

Posted by: theraph | March 31, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about the noise. Do you think the open park sucks a lot of it out? Or the cold air quieted the cheers? I know the cold air quieted the spectators.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Zim's line for the year:

.295, .360, .550, 30 HR, 112 RBI

Also 20+ game winning RBIs and at least one more walkoff HR. I agree with the earlier poster that the RBIs would climb if he and NJ switched. I think Manny ought to REALLY think about that, as Z'man is still a little free-swinging and NJs onbase is so VERY good.

Posted by: Gusto | March 31, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I owe everyone a great big...


...about Nick Johnson.

And I am delighted.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 31, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

On XM's post game show last night, Charlie Steiner kept referring to our pitcher as "Raunch." Somehow I think it fits.

Zim - .288, 33 HR, 111 RBI.

Posted by: Geezer | March 31, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't decide what kind of career Ryan is going to have. He's certainly not a pure slugger, but he is a RBI machine. Will he hit for high average?

The one thing that impresses me most about Zimmerman is his ability to adjust and correct weaknesses that pitchers find. Remember all those off-speed outside pitches that he struck out on in 2006? I was afraid that he was going to be a .220 hitter. But he adjusted and began stroking that pitch to right field for a single.

But I digress ...

I'm going to add some other stats to the 'big three' that Barry requested because what Zimmerman does for the Nationals goes beyond just average, homers and RBI's:

Ave:.310 - 2B:45 - 3B:5 - HR:30 - RBI:115 - BB:90 - K:100

If he never gets any better offensively than where he is right now, and continues to be a defensive wizard, he'll end up being one of the best 3rd baseman ever.

But ... he IS going to get a lot better.

And that, fellow fans, is very scary.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | March 31, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Cold weather and dignataries in the seats will quiet the crowd.

I don't think you can call Rauch's pitch a passed ball if it went 58 feet. A decent receiver probably could have blocked it, though. Honestly, when the top of the 8th came around, a 1 run game, I wondered about a defensive substitution as long as Flores is up (over managing). What we really need Catcher50 to settle the wild pitch / passed ball dispute. But he'll never blame a catcher.

Posted by: PTBNL | March 31, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

1) Zimmerman beats the Yankees
2) Zimmerman beats the Braves
3) Zimmerman wins it on Mother's Day
4) Zimmerman wins it on Father's Day
5) Zimmerman gets drafted

Posted by: NatBisquit | March 31, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

5. Presser anouncing baseball's return to DC. Waited my whole life for that.

4. Ramon's near no no. I called like 5 people and they were all watching it happen.

3. Zim's 2am walk off. A treat very few people got to enjoy, even on tv. Also, the yanks one was pretty good too.

2. Livo throwing a gem in the first game at rfk. That was my favorite game I have ever watched on tv.

1. Zim's park opening walk off. That one will be retold countless times for generations.

Zim's line this year: .285/29/105. The Brett to Wright's Mike Schmidt (from neyer, but classic).

Posted by: .390 | March 31, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"I've been hoarse since I booed harder than I've ever booed before at Bush last night. Of all the times I've made a spectacle of myself at sporting events, this was my proudest moment."

Typical no class Leftist Pinko. Get a Life and some respect for the Office.

5) Frank and Scioscia going at it with Guillen hitting a HR in that game.

4) Zimm's walk off against the Yankee's on Father's Day.

3) Saturday's game against the O's. The feeling I had and the way my son and daughter's faces let up several times that day.

2) Last night's game, being there with my Dad.

1) Opening Day 2005, being there with my Dad, son and wife.

Zim: .287, 28 HR and 117 RBI

Posted by: Section 505/203 | March 31, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

in no particular order:

- the second home game in 2005. At the first game I sat in the very highest row on the third-base side. At the second game I could actually see the players and I knew because I was there on back-to-back nights that I would be a regular.

- the first half of 2005 was a "moment" that exceeds anything I've ever experienced. Everybody knew that the Nats were playing far above their level, but it seemed like it had to happen.

- going to the game on a whim, talking to nats fans on the orange line, and getting a free ticket, sitting with them, and watching Wilkerson hit the Nats first grand slam

- zimm's walk-off against the yanks

- zimm's walk-off to christen Nationals Park

That's five. There are lots more happy memories ,but those are the brightest stars in the dark void of my memory.

As for Zimm: I don't think a .300 and 30 HR season is out of the question at all. Especially in the new park with less foul territory and closer walls.

Posted by: i hate walks | March 31, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

CE: I'll own up. I'll take my Odalis Perez crow medium-rare.

506 & Chime: I was all about Kearns too. Right before Zimm came to bat I predicted Kearns would get player of the day. But then he was trumped just a little.

506: no worries on your greeting. I practically pounced on you guys.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 31, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

1) RFK Opener '05
2) Nationals Park Opener
3) Fathers Day Game vs. Yankees
4) First win in '05
5) Opening Day in Philly '05

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | March 31, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Generally, if it hits the ground before it gets past home plate, it gets scored WP.
There is an element of scorers' discretion, but "ordinary effort" is the standard:

10.13 Wild Pitches And Passed Balls
A wild pitch is defined in Rule 2.00 (Wild Pitch). A passed ball is a statistic charged against a catcher whose action has caused a runner or runners to advance, as set forth in this Rule 10.13.
(a) The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball is so high, so wide or so low that the catcher does not stop and control the ball by ordinary effort, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. The official scorer shall charge a pitcher with a wild pitch when a legally delivered ball touches the ground or home plate before reaching the catcher and is not handled by the catcher, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. When the third strike is a wild pitch, permitting the batter to reach first base, the official scorer shall score a strikeout and a wild pitch.
(b) The official scorer shall charge a catcher with a passed ball when the catcher fails to hold or to control a legally pitched ball that should have been held or controlled with ordinary effort, thereby permitting a runner or runners to advance. When the third strike is a passed ball, permitting the batter to reach first base, the official scorer shall score a strikeout and a passed ball.
Rule 10.13 Comment: The official scorer shall not charge a wild pitch or passed ball if the defensive team makes an out before any runners advance. For example, if a pitch touches the ground and eludes the catcher with a runner on first base, but the catcher recovers the ball and throws to second base in time to retire the runner, the official scorer shall not charge the pitcher with a wild pitch. The official scorer shall credit the advancement of any other runner on the play as a fielder's choice. If a catcher drops a pitch, for example, with a runner on first base, but the catcher recovers the ball and throws to second base in time to retire the runner, the official scorer shall not charge the catcher with a passed ball. The official scorer shall credit the advancement of any other runner on the play as a fielder's choice. See Rules 10.07(a), 10.12(e) and 10.12(f) for additional scoring rules relating to wild pitches and passed balls.

Posted by: CE who catches too | March 31, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

That said, WP or PB, there's NO WAY you don't get in front of that in that situation.

Posted by: CEvans | March 31, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Loved the game last night. I doubt I will ever forget it. The sound level was good last night. The concession speed was better but still needs practice. Helpful staff at Ben's Chili redirecting people to Nats Dog stands for Chili Dogs. Half Smoke with Chili was good. Steak of the Union was not good (tasteless and cold). Beer selection on the lower levels is good. Not so much on the upper levels. Orange Line to Green Line and back again was smooth and painless. If you are under the scoreboard you cannot see any information on lineups, pitch speed, etc... White lettering on red background of ribbon boards is beautiful but very hard to read when the bright stadium lights are shinning in your face. I had to keep the bill of my visor down for comfort.

Did not like the shouting of 'O' during the anthem, but liked the booing of the 'O' even less. Did not like the booing of the president, but like the president even less. Did not like the booing of Lo Duca and found it odd that he got a significantly worse reaction than Dukes. (I cheered them both).

Couple next to me: Lady says of Lo Duca "he looks small" (of stature). Man replies "well they shrink up after they quit using, but its hard to tell from here". ba-dum-bum...

Kearns gets great jumps. Milledge (who I like very much) got a couple of Nook jumps before correcting.

Posted by: NatBisquit | March 31, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

My Top five:
5. Hearing "Hail to the Chief" on the radio for the 9th. I'll never get tired of it. We make up new lyrics every time.
4. Vinny running down foul popups, full speed, on a knee and a half. One tough dude.
3. Charlie's call on Nook at 3rd base.
2. 50-31, and the I-cannot-believe-this look on Frank's face.
1. Wilkie's cycle at CBP -- I was at that one.

Posted by: CEvans | March 31, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I know this is not really on topic, but the only thing that dampened my night was the concession stands. I stood on line longer to get food than I did to go through security, which is ridiculous. Of course, I guess that should not have been a surprise since the concessions had huge lines on Saturday even though the stadium was only about half full.

Posted by: Sec 408 | March 31, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

5. Wilkerson's cycle and Nats first W in Philly. First game I attended.
4. Angels game - Frank and Guillen go nuts with Nats in first
3. Last night
2. Home opener '05
1. Braves game in June '05. Weeknight, rain delay allowed me to show up at 11 for the last five innings after a long workday. Nats went down 3 or 4 in the late innings, but scrambled back to win in front of about 500 with no concessions to hang on to first. Section 443 at the left field pole in 2005 will never be forgotten (thanks Danny) and that's the night I really went in the tank for this team.

Posted by: Schoenfeld's Donut | March 31, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

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