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From Minute Maid

Sorry for my Manuel Zelaya-like disappearance from the NJ territory today. Thanks to Tracee for rising to power while I boarded a crack-of-dawn flight in Denver, waited on the tarmac, waited some more on the tarmac, spent two hours in the air, rented a car, spent an hour in Houston traffic, checked into my hotel, and navigated toward the air conditioned confines of Minute Maid Park.

As you know, we have some unusual circumstances today. At 7:05 ET, before the regularly scheduled game, the Nats and Astros will first conclude a May 5 game that was suspended, tied 10-10, in the 11th inning. The comedic scenarios here and just incredible; in fact, they're worth a story in itself, which I'll soon be writing. (And posting here.)

But in the meantime, let me go down to the clubhouse and check in with the Nats.

Here's their lineup for the regularly-scheduled game:

Morgan - 8
Johnson - 3
Zimmerman - 5
Dunn - 7
Willingham - 9
Guzman - 6
Bard - 2
Hernandez - 4
Lannan - 1

By Chico Harlan  |  July 9, 2009; 3:58 PM ET
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Next: Oh, The Possibilities


dunn in LF, not 1b - check

no kearns - check

all systems go.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | July 9, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Do the first 10K fans to tune into the game get a free t-shirt? Is St. Claire the pitching coach for the first game?

I need this win to maintain my better then average win-loss record this season.

Posted by: Batboy05 | July 9, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Viva, Tracee! Er, uh, hi, Chico. hehe. Sounds like you had quite a day. Thanks for the lineups.

Good one about the pitching coach, Batboy. I can hear it now - get St. Claire on the horn, daggone it!

Also, carrying forward this newsstand tip:

Interesting comments about sports writing by leetee up the thread. Speaking of which, the July issue of Washingtonian has a feature on sports blogs and the "smart analysis, frat humor, and nasty attacks" (their words, not mine) to be found on them. They even mention the Bog (no startling revelations this time).

There's also a piece about the Nats two Zimms.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 4:27 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Conclusion game: Morgan swipes 2nd and 3rd and scores on wild pitch. :

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Sounds good to me, cokedispatch. One good thing: none of the games in this series should have an issue with rain delays.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

So, for the truncated game, I submit a truncated battle cry:


Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

No unforseen roof damaging hurricanes are forecast for this weekend a1a.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course, it would be pretty impressive to forecast an unforeseen hurricane.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

ummmmm... if they were forecast, they wouldn't be unforeseen. Just sayin.
No unforeseen roof damaging hurricanes are forecast for this weekend a1a.
Posted by: cokedispatch | July 9, 2009 4:45 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

dang, scooter, you beat me

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

hehe, Scooter got in just under the wire.

I'll supply the front end of the truncated battle cry, if I may: G

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Houston traffic. Ouch.

Still, it's not a bad town for the eats. Smells terrible, though.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 9, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

If there's one thing this bunch can do well (a big "if"), it's immediately jumping on unfortunate punctuation or syntax.

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 9, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

On my way to the games. Looking forward to the huh factor from the crowd.

Posted by: EXTRA1E | July 9, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Chico going downtown with the Honduran reference. My Mom's from down there. We never get the press just beaten by the US 2-Nil...

Posted by: Berndaddy | July 9, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse


Glad to see your comments on "atonal" singing of GBA last Sunday. She should have gone with an Arnold Schoenberg sprechstimme approach instead.

I vote for "You Gotta Have Heart" as the 7th inning song. What could be more appropriate for a craptastic DC baseball team.

Don't want to talk about actual baseball--too depressing. Come on, All-Star break!

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 9, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Its pretty clear that Dunn isn't going to be at 1st base and I think that means they may end up negotiating an extension with Nick. Of course Chris Marrerro (and Detwiler) are now listed in the top 50 prospects list. Marerro at 1b next year? He may be a year or two away.

McGeary looks a heck uv a lot better in Vermont.

Dunn and Willigham belong in the Al not the NL that's for sure.

Posted by: periculum | July 9, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Morgan steals home. I'd like to see that.

Posted by: periculum | July 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner:

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Right-o re. jumping on punctuation and syntax infelicities, Scooter. We have to play to our strengths. ;-)

Yeah, but Tracee started it, Berndaddy.

I also enjoyed the "atonoal" singing comments, if not the actual rendition, which was quite pitchy, indeed. I'll also second your vote for "Heart," CapPeterson (but lots of people don't like it - ducks incoming brickbat).

Idle pondering: wonder whether Dunn can hit a moon shot like Pujols in the NLCS?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey, it's Enrico Palazzo!

I also liked Drebbin's umpiring stint. Classic.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

If Morgan were ever going to steal home, he should have done it in Colorado with Dunn up and the 3rd baseman playing 50 feet off the bag.

Posted by: slewis1 | July 9, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

So just to make it clear, the conclusion of the suspended game will have the visitors playing as the home team, right?

Crap, now my head hurts...

Posted by: Juan-John | July 9, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's correct, Juan-John.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

502/503, 506, CIL, when someone sailed into the blog this morning spewing insults at Tracee BlogMom, Debbi Taylor, the WaPo,and two posters to whom I am very grateful for a Buster Olney article, you said it was nunof1 aka An Briosca Mor. How did you know? In the words of LBJ to the assembled Texans at the opening of the Kennedy Space Center in Houston, "Lookee here what I got you!" This from a post at another site:

An Briosca Mor: "I got great seats at RFK, section 417,"

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Willingham at bat in Minute Maid Park - aka Cape Canaveral - the suspended game goes no further than one AB.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | July 9, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Nats signed a few international prospects check out NFA, the shortstop sounds like a young Miguel Tejada I know these prospects are extreamly hirt or miss but you can always hope. But the most important thing is we see the Rizzo and the front office making a effort.

Posted by: j-dog1 | July 9, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I say two at bats, with Bard singling home Morgan (who, of course, has stolen second).

That's assuming that Nats double switch Bard/MacDougal for Flores/Hanrahan.

Posted by: joebleux | July 9, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel Hanrahan can win this game right?

Posted by: thegraneys | July 9, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that could happen, thegraneys.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

CapPeterson: could you ever crack the code on Schoenberg? Some music takes many hearings e.g. Hindemith's Mathis Der Mahler, and then it just knocks you out. Others, like Mozart's Jupiter or Beethoven's 5th are love at first sight. Schoenberg just sounds like a traffic jam to me, and I bitterly resent his influencing perfectly good composers like Leonard Bernstein to write "Age of Anxiety" and other tuneless . . . what's the word . . . crap? . . . when he could have given us more Candides and West Side Stories. Any gate, we must break the curse twice tonight, and a nice boy like Lannan on the mound, a Sienna Saint, is just the one to put Sunday's Schoenbergian God Bless America behind us.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

PSA: MASN guide has completion of the suspended game starting at 7:05, then the half-hour pregame show before the first game of the series starts.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Win one for Wild Thing!

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not CapPeterson, but that's not my thing either, Flynnie. Mozart and Beethoven, yes; Berg, Schoenberg, and others, not so much. Just a thought, would playing GBA backwards work?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

And 1A, if you listen to Wozzek, Berg's first opera there is the most cathartic, heart-rending melody hidden in the middle of all that atonal noise. And when you think of Stravinsky's ravishing melodies in Firebird and Petroushka, late Stravinsky just seems such a waste.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

GBA backwards just might work, but we're trying the 4th of July fireworks as a pre-gqame for my grandson. I feel two wins coming on, although I don't envy Lannan pitching in that tiny, tricked-out ball park. Boswell said that one of the pitchers Lannan most resembled at this stage was Roy Oswalt, who got his share of wins at Minute Maid Park.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Lessee: One down, "bottom" of the 11th - Morgan pinch-runs for Dukes & replaces him in CF, Willingham up (LF), Bard on-deck (PH for the pitcher, replacing Flores at C), Belliard at 2B, then AGonz (PH for Flores, only guy left on the bench), back to the top of the order - Guzman (SS), NJohnson (1B), RZim (3B), Kearns (RF).

Juan-John, and you think your head hurts!

Posted by: BinM | July 9, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Do they sing GBA on Sundays in Toronto?

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Been calling for a DFA of Keanrs but now I have to agree with Boz that there's nothing much to gain at this point. Yeah, he's a major disappointment but who do you bring in as a 4th or 5th outfielder? Brining up a minor leaguer to sit on the bench or pinch hit won't help him or the club. The best scenario would be for Dukes to straighten himself out and be the starter in RF. Fell sorry for him really, a decent guy and good teammate so why make him the scapegoat for this season of woes.
At this point there is only upside potential for him. If there is a bum here it's probably Dukes for not taking advantage of a gift wrapped opportunity.

Posted by: SackMan | July 9, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Not sure, 506. If they do, I hope that it's at least on key.

Come on, Nats! You have home field advantage. Too bad they didn't fly some of us out there to cheer them on. The Lerners are soooo cheeap!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Here is a tickets question.

Can you actually select the section, row, and seat number when you buy tickets at the box office? I wanted to try sect. 139-143 row X. The last row. I've got two young girls who can sit thru 4-5 innings in a row, but then need to walk around a bit. I keep trying to select the tickets on but it keeps giving me best available, like row f or j. I tried stub hub but nobody has seats that far back. Row P or S is the farthest seats I found. Any advice?


Also, how kid friendly is the P-Nats game, my 5 year old is in love with fireworks now after the 4th.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 9, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for Kearns, too, SackMan. It was just painful to watch him trudging back to the dugout after that pickoff.

Speaking of pain, well, sorrow, really, that was a great interview that Carpenter did with Willingham the other day, about his brother's having been an organ donor. That must have been a difficult interview. Also, I'd been wondering about the dog tag he's been wearing and hadn't realized that it was a tribute to his brother.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

506, in Toronto they sing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, just for the Nats.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

honestly, I felt bad for him when the sniper got him the other night. The poor guy has been spending the last couple of year watching his whole career go up in flames, and he can't even have the small satisfaction of one lousy single before getting picked off and faceplanting in front of thousands of fans, plus whoever was in the park.
I've had bad days myself. I've had bad years. I wish him well elsewhere, but I gotta say I can't work up much besides sympathy anymore.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

If you can get to the box office, you can look at a map and tell them just which seats you want, wrw. You may be able to do that over the phone as well. I've not tried it. I don't have kids, but from what I've observed I'd say that the P-Nats games are very kid-friendly. I think that they have fireworks every Saturday (would have to check the schedule to verify that). They have a very good display.

And there's a new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 9, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

flynnie: what, not Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 9, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie - "Aciremas Sleb Dog"? That's just... not exactly wrong.

Posted by: BinM | July 9, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

wrw0601, I encountered difficulties picking seat and row on line. I know you can do it at the park, and I presume on the phone. The back rows get a lot of noise piped in, and we got a set of noise protectors from the hardware store for my grandson. Also, if you don't mind shelling out $55 a ticket, the third base club lets you get out of the noise and still watch the game in air conditioned comfort. The kids can run around and it works well, except for the extreme expense.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Ah, that makes sense, so close to the big lake they call Gitche Gumee.

And we don't sing "O Canada!" (the only national anthem with a banger) when they come, like the Caps do. What gives?

Posted by: Section506 | July 9, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I see a new post! We should've sung O Canada! for the Jays.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 9, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"O Canada" most certainly was sung in the Jays series. I attended two of those games. It was sung by a singer from the Canadian navy.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | July 9, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

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