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Maxwell Hits Grand Slam Walk-Off

As a parting gift, the Washington Nationals delivered pleasure -- no complications. The final scene of the 81st and final home game of the season was unlike any moment that preceded it, perfect and delirious, the one-minute attempt to undo a forgettable year. The manager said, "There's no way I can explain how good a feeling that is." And guy who took the last swing said, "It's like everything I've ever dreamed of in the big leagues."

The Nationals, with Wednesday's 7-4 victory against the Mets, won't see Nationals Park again until April, and by then, both the team and its expectations will have a different feel. Until then, the Nationals can cherish the final flashing scenes of an otherwise dreary season. Justin Maxwell at the plate, two outs, bases loaded, closer on the mound. Nationals down one run. Everybody standing. Count full.

In the ninth pitch of the walk-off grand slam at bat, Francisco Rodriguez, the $37 million reliever, threw a 92 mph fastball to a 25-year-old rookie who'd entered only one inning earlier as a pinch runner. Maxwell's parents, watching from the suite level, shared a quick prayer. Maxwell just tried to put the bat on the ball.

He connected.

A liner sizzled to left toward the first row of the left field stands.

Outfielder Angel Pagan jumped, extended his mitt.

For a half-beat, nobody in the stadium knew if the ball was in Pagan's mitt or the front row.

"It sounded so good off the bat," said Austin Maxwell, Justin's father.

"I didn't know it was a homer until you saw everybody [in the bleachers] jumping up and down," mother Kathy said.

"I think a walk-off is like the best thing in sports, personally," Maxwell said. "One at bat. One memory. One win. So many emotions going through you. It was surreal, it was awesome."

As Maxwell rounded third base, he tore his helmet off and tossed it into the infield -- something of which he'd later have no recollection. His teammates had gathered at home plate, and Maxwell accelerated into a sprint. He jumped into the pile, and minutes later, the Nationals were still on the field, tossing T-shirts into the stands. Interim manager Jim Riggleman took a microphone and said to the crowd, "It's been a rough year in many ways, but the excitement out here night after night that we got from the fans, it's just been incredible."

By Chico Harlan  |  September 30, 2009; 9:07 PM ET
 
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Next: En Route to ATL

Comments

just got back from the game, amazing finish. I'm sure everyone expected Zimm to end the game and his strikeout slightly deflated the crowd. Then Dunn drew a walk and we were all on our feet for the end, Maxwell's homerun came out of nowhere and looked like a long fly out until it barely cleared the wall. What a great finish for a team that's had a terrible year. The fans went away happy.

Posted by: imlazar | September 30, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

>A liner sizzled to left toward the first row of the left field stands.

Yeah old Maxie is hot. When he's hitting. Don't you think, Cheeks?

Posted by: Brue | September 30, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

This is why we love baseball: No matter how bad it gets, you can have moments like this. I'm so glad for my fellow Terp!

Posted by: nats24 | September 30, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

They sure made it hard to give up the season tickets.

Posted by: ramgut | September 30, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

That shows how the baseball season can be similar to a round of golf; there's always one shot that makes you want to come back again.

Posted by: shygaard | September 30, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell, Morse and Desmond have been 3 real pleasant surprises. I love Pete Orr's hustle too. After JMax's 1st stint this season, I wasn't sure he could bring his game back around and again it is nice to see his successes!

There is going to be some real competition for backup roles on this team.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 30, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

That was awesome! I'm so glad I went to the game instead of working this afternoon. (shhh...)

On the fan side, loved the guys with the "take me out to the ballgame" signs, the donkey head guys, and the gold glove chants for Zimmerman. My contribution after Wright's error: "Gold Glove - NOT!". hehe.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Mike Morse as a pinch hitter has been money. This guy has to be on the roster next year.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 30, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

We also chanted 39 for Dunn. Unfortunately that one went foul.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game too, and that was, by far, the best half-inning EVER. Abso-freakin'-lutely my top defining moment.

You're all talking about how tense Maxwell's at-bat was, but the tension started with Dunn's. My gawd, that guy's patience at the plate awes me sometimes.

It was so perfect because it flipped all my expectations over. I expected Dunn to be the hero, picturing his 39th in a walk-off. But no, he walks.

Maxwell comes up and i'm thinking, aw man, another deflating strikeout (no offense justin), because he'd only just come in the game and has been hitting okay, but nothing spectacular. And his count was *0-2*, but the man still worked it...

OMG, I'm STILL floating.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 30, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't thought about it, NatsNut, but you're right about the flipped expectations. That's just what I was thinking when Dunn came up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I came here to post only that "I'm still high."

I see NN is right up here with me. (Hiya, kid!)

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Yep, high on baseball.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

You too, 1a. Howdy!

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

it's a little crowded up here

Posted by: NatsNut | September 30, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

That game showed the beauty of baseball. I only hope that the next time the Nats play on South Capitol Street for the April exhibition game against Boston, their fans are not outnumbered by those of the New England Evil Empire. That embarrassing June series was one of the low points of the year.

Posted by: VPaterno | September 30, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Okay, NN, you'll appreciate this: I'm sure you noticed the Mets' catcher kept going out to talk to K-Rod during Dunn's at-bat. We speculated that maybe he was reminding him: "Hey, rookie on deck. It's okay if you have to walk Dunn."

OOPS!

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

(Maybe that was already covered in the comments, but I don't care. You'll read it again, and you'll like it.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

What a great way to forget about the rest of the season -- I'll be smiling about this one all winter. Sitting in left field I couldn't see the play, and only realized what had happened when the players came charging out of the dugout. It's great to see our boys fighting so hard.

Now if they could just stop making infield errors....

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | September 30, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Ow. I just bumped my head on the ceiling.

---

it's a little crowded up here

Posted by: NatsNut | September 30, 2009 10:18 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

That wasn't the ceiling, 1a.

I hope your head's okay, because now my knee is KILLING me.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Lucky for me, I was wearing my batting helmet.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

...also, major props to the guys with the signs during the stretch...and God Bless America played on that baseball bat electric violin.

Best. 7th-inning stretch. Ever.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | September 30, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

True, the song at the stretch was much much better than that hideous Star-Spangled Banner. Did he break his bat or something?

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

dargramps -- this is a little early, but I'm in a mood
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rszcDrVeu3Q&feature=related

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 30, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and Gentlemen: Let the bourbon and Maalox flow into the offseason. I've been as rough on JMax as anybody on this post. But that skinny little kid showed me something at 7:48 this evening: guts. He's the fourth outfielder for 2010, and can be Willingham's caddy in late innings. How he fought off those pitches to get one he could handle was money. Section 206 was going birdsh--! I was hugging my 80-year-old mother-in-law. Ushers were hugging me. Nobody left. We just stood and cheered while JMax was getting mobbed. The season is hereby declared a success, wins-and-losses be darned. I am ready for winter now.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | September 30, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

The guys with the 7th inning stretch signs and bouncing ball were hilarious. I kinda liked the bat violin, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

We were hugging in our section, too. Well, technically not in our section, as we'd moved down near the dugout to stage for the post-game gear toss at that point.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

awww, that's nice, sec3. I have a b'day coming up, too. ahem.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I told my spouse that I'm pretty sure I high-fived some people who do not, technically, exist.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Now, *that's* funny.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess I should try to, you know, get some sleep or something.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 30, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I wound up hugging everybody nearby, including one of the Red Porch bartenders who'd run out from behind the bar.

Wow. Hollywood would not have written that ending.

Winter will be a lot easier to take now, with that final moment of 2009 at Nats Park to remember.

Posted by: greggwiggins | September 30, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

For a season with a lot of lows, this is really going out on a high. I loved the game and being at the park tonight.

Posted by: Traveler8 | September 30, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

If you wanna just stay up, 1a, I'm here for ya.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

This was an ending that only a true believer could have foreseen. It was cold and it was dark and I kept vacillating whether to leave when the Mets brought K-Rod in. But it was the last home game and I just kept looking around at how PUMPED the crowd was - like the people in the stands willed the outcome. I hadn't had that feeling since the last game at RFK. And you know something....the bottom of the ninth with the home team rallying against an elite closer is what baseball is all about. It's about hope and it's about believing and it's about coming back the next day with that same hope and belief when things don't work out the game before. The chill in the air is the harbinger of the end of the regular season, but there's always the next game or the next season to look forward to.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 30, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Glad I was able to punch out around 4 and hustle my butt over to the stadium. Was amazed at how many of the folks in the crowd had been dressed just like me, lots of shirts and ties, now that says alot for dedication. Sorry all of the nay-sayers continue to trash this teams heart, if the last two innings didn't do it for you I have no idea what will. Bozwell does another "Learners are Cheap" diatribe for Thurs print edition. If 1.8M folks could suffer thru this season imagine what will happen when they compete, however I'm not looking forward to the bandwagon folks, all I would like to see is the media in this town give the Nats their fair due. OBTW this is really how lame COMCAST SPORTSNET is, one of the talking heads said, "the Nats go out in style, as Jason Maxwell hits a grandslam in the bottom of the 9th to take a game from the Mets on the final game of the season". What?Unbelievable!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | September 30, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I was sitting in the right field stands...the section with donkey head guys. THat was awesome. The "take me out to the ballgame" banners. Heck, even the presidents race is still entertaining to me!

All in all the best Nats game I've been to thus far.

Posted by: nathan_green76 | September 30, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

don't know why, but after j-max's ball eased over the wall the first person i thought about was flynnie and that made me smile.

Posted by: surly_w | September 30, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

OMG! The Nats game is the LEAD STORY on the redesigned Post home page. Guess they got tired of Snydermen fans wanting to turf the coach.

Posted by: leetee1955 | September 30, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I was in my car down here in SC just going crazy when JMax hit that dinger, other people must have thought I was crazy and maybe I am that : < ))

Posted by: cokedispatch | September 30, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, can y'all describe what these donkey head guys were like? And these banners? Sounds like maybe they were above me. I just checked my tape of the tv, and they didn't show the stretch, which is when it sounds like these things happened.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Well -- I just got back from the Nationals - DC United doubleheader. Definitely one of my all-time sports highlights, and ranking very near the top in my decade plus here in DC. I realy fell for J-Max last year, and he's done it to me again. I really hope this guy can find a way to play and hit consistently in the bigs, because he has got star-power written all over him. Really -- he's magic. I made a last minute decision earlier in the year to go to a United game instead of the Nats and J-Max made the catch of the year that day. So glad I could do both games today.

Only real downer is coming home and reading the comment from In the Cheap Seats. I spent the 7th-inning stretch in the Mens Room, trying to clean up the sleeve on my Nats fleece, after a bird pooped on me.....

Posted by: fischy | September 30, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Was at the DC United game, and at half-time checked my iPhone for the final score, assuming the Nats had lost. Silly me (especially since I'd gone to the last two games). I saw the final score and nearly freaked out ar RFK. Is there a link to Charlie Slowes' call of Maxwell's homer? Watching it and listening to Bob Carpenter just didn't do
it enough justice. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | September 30, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I might add that Chico's absolutely right -- a lot of us in the park weren't sure it was a homer, as it looked like the ball headed into Pagan's mitt. So, it was a delayed explosion of joy, following a moment of expectation and a instant of perceived disappointment.

Posted by: fischy | September 30, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Coming out of lurkdome to thank all of you regulars for your entertaining, informative and inspiring posts this tough season. Tonight was wonderful! Altho' I'd love to see the Nats beat the Braves, I'm a happy fan right now. I just hope there will be a huge photo on the WP's front page tomorrow morning, above the fold, (ok I'll settle for front page, above the fold, Sports section) showing something from tonight's game.

Posted by: Z914 | September 30, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@fischy: was that you in the white Nats home jersey I spoke with after the DCU game?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 30, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

J-J: I think you need to subscribe to the Gameday Audio thing for this to work, but I was just going to check the radio call. Here's the link that appears to show on my media player: http://mlb.mlb.com/flash/mediaplayer/v4/R20/MP4.jsp?calendar_event_id=14-246561-2009-09-30&content_id=6893415&media_id=&view_key=&media_type=audio&source=MLB&sponsor=MLB&clickOrigin=Media%20Grid&affiliateId=Media%20Grid&team=mlb&

Of course, if you have the Gameday Audio thing, you probably already know you can find the link to the game here: http://mlb.mlb.com/mediacenter/

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 30, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Okay, apparently I'm in a mood too.

9/30/09 Mets at Nats
Radio broadcast
3:15:46 into the archived thingie

SLOWES: Nationals down a run, two out, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th inning. 3 and 2 the count on Maxwell. Rodriguez sets runners go the pitch ... swingandaLONG ONE, DEEP LEFT FIELD, WAY BACK ... warning track, wall ... the leap ... and the ball ... is ... [pause] ... gone!, goodbye!, a GRAND SLAM WINS IT for JUSTIN MAXWELLLLLL. AND THE NATIONALLLS ... THEY WALK OFF!, IN THEIR HOME CLOSER AT NATIONALS PARK! Bang Zoom go the fireworks! It is bedlam at Nationals Park in front of home plate! As Justin Maxwell has hit a walk-off ... GRAND SLAM ... off of Francisco Rodriguez!, and a curly W is in the books! in the final home game of the year!

Maxwell ... who hit his first home run in the big leagues as a pinch-hit grand slam in Miami, has hit a pinch-hit [sic] walk-off grand slam to close the home season! and the Nationals sweep the series! from the New York Mets! and win it with a grand slam! Final score here at Nationals Park: Washington seven and New York four!

Posted by: Scooter_ | October 1, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Those radio boys, they do get excited.

Posted by: Scooter_ | October 1, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

@J-J -- Probably was me -- (haven't shaved in a few days and wearing) white Nats jersey opened up over my long-sleeve black DC United jersey...and very, very happy.

Posted by: fischy | October 1, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

The team may not have won the most games this year, but I have had more fun at the park this year since back in 2005. The place brimmed with character tonight. GBA was actually tolerable. The guys in the outfield during TMOTTBG were great. And WHAT A FINISH! First walkoff Grand Slam I've ever seen personally.

One question though. How can George have 22 wins, Tom 21 and Abe 40? That's 83 races.

Posted by: dand187 | October 1, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, they had an exhibition game back in April, so that makes 82 games. Not sure when the other would be. There wasn't a rainout that got as far as the race and then had to be replayed, was there? I don't know when they do the race, but isn't it in like the 4th?

Posted by: Scooter_ | October 1, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

I think the Prezzies had an extra race during an extra-inning game earlier this year, hence the 83-race number.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 1, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

chico phoning it in the last month, boz's doom and gloom, the 100 post employees at the just-as-bad skins' game...its pretty clear the posties dont really care much for baseball any longer. good riddance, NFA, Pride et al provide better info anyway, peace out post

Posted by: formerlylove1 | October 1, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

For or a couple of smart guys, we can be such chumps, eh?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa

See you in the new post, chumps. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1
=========================================================
Heh. At least I got to watch replay after replay in 48" high-def.

Okay - who (besides me) was silently pleading with Dukes to not try to pull an outside pitch? And who, besides me, was amazed and delighted when he was able to work a walk?

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Scooter, for transcribing Charlie's grand slam call. I was at the game and of course missed it. I was too busy hugging my mother-in-law and people I don't even know. Great call by Charlie. I'll have to tune-in the radio pre-game show tonight to hear it. But until then, you gave me the essence. I can just hear Charlie: "It is bedlam at Nationals Park." I just wrote on the margin of my scorecard: "Un-be-lieve-able!!!"

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

"One question though. How can George have 22 wins, Tom 21 and Abe 40? That's 83 races."

If there's ever a game that goes deep into extra innings, they do a second presidents race in I think the 13th inning. Plus, there was the exhibition game with Baltimore. But the real reason? It's all rigged. Surprised you haven't figured that out by now.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I was with you, gilbertbp. Dukes has shown a better eye this last month, laying off that down-and-away slider. But how about JMax and that nine-pitch at-bat? Fouling off balls until he could get one he could handle. Fantastic stuff.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 1, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

But how about JMax and that nine-pitch at-bat? Fouling off balls until he could get one he could handle. Fantastic stuff.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me
====================================================
When Rodriguez punched out Zim, I figured there was no hope for Maxwell.

I'm also a Yankees fan (hey, I grew up in NY, so I'm allowed), and this is the kind of finish you see a lot of when you watch the Yanks. But somehow, it was more enjoyable this time.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

There is going to be some real competition for backup roles on this team.

Posted by: dmacman88
========================================================
I posted this question on an earlier thread, then got new-posted.

Assuming Desmond has a decent ST, why not commit to him at short next year and unload Guzman? That way, the only significant problem we have in the infield is second, while the rest of the infield is set up for at least the next five years (Dunn will be the "old man" at 34 five years from now).

Is Guzman untradeable because of his contract? I have to confess I'm really not up on that kind of stuff.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 1, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

You got me there, gilbert. I have a clunky old tv. ;-)

Re. the call, I'm guessing that we'll also be able to hear it on WTOP when they do the sports recap at 15 before and 15 after the hour.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

gilbert: Right now, there are about $8,000,000 reasons why Guzman is the immovable object. The off-season & Spring Training will hopefully bring clarity to the MI situation.

Posted by: BinM | October 1, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Page D7. Home season finale, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, 2 outs, 3-2 count, walk-off grand slam. And that's page D7 news? YGTBSM.

Posted by: Intrudr | October 1, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

That was a great way to end the season. I was watching from near the NY dugout and the NY fan-boys got some nice comeuppance. Good end of the season and things are looking better next year, lets hope the team does a good manager search, though Rigge' to me deservers a honest shot to come back.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 1, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Intrudr asks: "And that's page D7 news?" Yeah, dangit. WaPo has made it clear that we haven't proven yet that we can be a baseball town. But wouldn't you think somebody on the desk would put it on D1 if only because JMax is a local hero?

Now to decide whether to expand my good luck to the Nats next year by resuming a half-season plan: this year they were 12-8 in the games we attended on a 20 tix plan.

Posted by: JamesWebster | October 1, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"Now to decide whether to expand my good luck to the Nats next year by resuming a half-season plan: this year they were 12-8 in the games we attended on a 20 tix plan."

Don't push your luck. I have a 20-gamer and typically end up going to around 30 games every year. Last year despite the 59-102 finish my personal record was 16-14. This year, no such luck. 11-18, although Maxwell's walk-off yesterday sure removed a lot of the season's bad taste from my mouth.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play."

When the Nats put men at second and third after Harris's bunt, and Zimmerman struck out, I thought the poem had indeed come to life.

But then, after Maxwell's amazing at bat, I found Grantland Rice's 1906 "Casey's Revenge:"

"Oh! somewhere in this favored land dark clouds may hide the sun;
And somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun;
And somewhere over blighted loves there hangs a heavy pall;
But Mudville hearts are happy now--for Casey hit the ball."

It's been a long season for us here in Mudville, but one spectacular moment yesterday will last all winter.

Posted by: Meridian1 | October 1, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

J-MAX Krushes K-Rod and the Mets...where was that headline!? Anyway great way to end the home season, but let's get real for a minute, when will the Nats publish the through the turnstyle attendance versus paid attendance for the year? Our paid attendance average was good but actual attendance that is how you define the real fan base! Chico do some digging for us please as it seems Boz got nowhere with Stan, as far as finances go.

Posted by: markfd | October 1, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@Scooter,

Earlier in the game there were some people in the stands under the scoreboard who had unrolled a long spool of brown kraft paper, like a big banner, with "FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL" on it - then during "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" they sequentially showed several of these banners with all the words to the song, with someone running behind the banner and holding a big round circle cutout over top of the words for a sing-along.

I expect that someone can give you a link to a photo of the guys with the donkey heads. I know that on Tuesday night they had been sitting behind the home dugout.

Posted by: Traveler8 | October 1, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Amazing night last night.

Best game at the new stadium, better than Zims walk-off at the season opener.

Havent had that feeling since RFK. I've only attended 3 better game:
1. Opening day 2005
2. Come from behind win, walkoff HR by Zim against Yankees in 2006
3. 10th win in row, and first place, RFK June 2005.

Posted by: alm1000 | October 1, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow the mets are a disaster. The nats are in much better shape moving forward than the mets. Look at all the money they have tied up in these underperforming players. I am confident the nats are going to take small steps forward in the upcoming year.

Posted by: Tom8 | October 1, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@alm1000: I was at all five games you refer to and agree 100%

Posted by: Meridian1 | October 1, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I was all set to go to the game last night, then ended up having to take my daughter to an engagement that we couldn't get out of. Thought about going to the park after the engagement, but decided not to deal with the traffic (and at the point it was already in the bottom of the 6th). Was really ticked to go home and watch the fantastic ending when I really wanted to be at the stadium.

Regardless, it was still great to see JMax come through like that. And props to all that did attend. The park looked about half full, but sounded like a sold-out crowd during the bottom of the 9th. Kudos to all the true Nats fans here in NJ! I am proud to be amongst the best.

Posted by: erocks33 | October 1, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Anyway great way to end the home season, but let's get real for a minute, when will the Nats publish the through the turnstyle attendance versus paid attendance for the year?"

Never. No major league team does this. Only paid attendance is ever listed anywhere.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"Never. No major league team does this. Only paid attendance is ever listed anywhere."

Yep, because the owners only care about paid attendance.

I was so sad that I had to work late and cancel my plans to go. but when I saw Dunn work it to 3-2 on Gameday, I took over the office TV and it proved well worth it.

Posted by: Section506 | October 1, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"I expect that someone can give you a link to a photo of the guys with the donkey heads. I know that on Tuesday night they had been sitting behind the home dugout."

I saw these guys as I was getting on the RFK bus after the game yesterday, and wondered WTF was up with them. Weird.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Wow the mets are a disaster. The nats are in much better shape moving forward than the mets. Look at all the money they have tied up in these underperforming players."

Not only that, but their owner Wilpon mortgaged his personal financial future with Bernie Madoff so as not to have to take any money out of the team forevermore. For that, I expect to read the Boswell seal of approval in tomorrow's paper, page A1.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could have been there last night. However, I was listening to Charlie and Dave, and that was still an experience! I started feeling the buildup of tension and excitement (alone in an office building, as I was working late) as Gonzalez singles to put the tying run on base. Then Harris successfully bunted the runners over. After Dukes' walk to bring Zim up I knew this was going to end well. Even after Zim's K I still had that feeling I was hearing something special. But the best part of the radio call was the hit itself. "Pagan is going back. He's at the warning track, looking AT THE WALL..." And then nothing. For what felt like an hour, I waited for Charlie to finish the play. But he didn't have too. That stadium erupted, and I don't even remember what Charlie said- I knew it was gone. That was one of the best nights I've had at the office!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | October 1, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"The park looked about half full"

It wasn't, not even close. For it to be half full, there would have to be a body pretty much in every other seat. But entire rows, even entire sections were practically empty. By the sixth inning, my friend and I had moved from the seats behind the Nats bullpen (where we had no problem brazenly installing ourselves in the front row) to seats in a row about 25 rows back of the Nats dugout, which had only a couple of other people in it. The 400 level where my actual tickets lie looked to be a ghost town for the whole game. I'd estimate the number of fannies in seats last night at 7-10,000 tops.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | October 1, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I was just telling my husband the same thing. My fave game ever at Nats Park, and edging some of my fave RFK games (but oh, that series vs. the Yankees).

---

Best game at the new stadium, better than Zims walk-off at the season opener.

Havent had that feeling since RFK. I've only attended 3 better game:
1. Opening day 2005
2. Come from behind win, walkoff HR by Zim against Yankees in 2006
3. 10th win in row, and first place, RFK June 2005.

Posted by: alm1000 | October 1, 2009 9:35 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | October 1, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Never. No major league team does this. Only paid attendance is ever listed anywhere."

Didn't say MLB was going to give Chico the attendance numbers, they do a turnstyle count every game so security should be able to give you the numbers...

City of Tampa tracks their acual attendance

http://blogs.tampabay.com/ballpark/2008/12/actual-attendan.html

Posted by: markfd | October 1, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I had to leave the game in the middle of the 9th to catch the last flight of the night to Atlanta. I got the text about JMax's walk off from both my dad and sister as I got off the metro at the airport. What irony. I wonder if I'd have missed my flight if i waited to see the end of the game... It's a day later; I'm over being livid, still a little bitter, but the superstitious baseball fan inside of me says I did the right thing by not tempting fate. Gratefully I get to catch the end of the season here. A new ballpark under my belt means it was a good summer, even though it's October and I can smell the cold empty days ahead.

Posted by: ablaskey | October 2, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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