Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 357/365 - See You Next Season

For a good portion of the baseball season, this is my home away from home. This is my seat at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Tonight the Nats were facing the New York Mets in their final home game of the season. I stayed in my seat for the first few innings but then I got up and walked around the park, watching the game from different areas and angles.

I was trying to absorb as much as I could before the long, dark winter that is the offseason. Not to mention hitting up all my favorite concession stands one last time. Objectively speaking, the outcome of tonight's game was absolutely meaningless. Neither the Nats nor the Mets were fighting for a playoff spot. Both teams have had terrible seasons and the Nats had already wrapped up the worst record in all of baseball (and earned the accompanying first overall pick in the draft).

But for the Nats players and their fans, tonight's game meant a lot. A victory would seal the three-game sweep of the hated Mets and let everyone go home feeling good after a Hindenberg of a season. Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Nats were down 4-2 and were facing the Mets' multimillion dollar closer Francisco Rodriguez. Also known as "K-Rod" due to his propensity for striking out opposing batters, Rodriguez set the single season save record last year.

But the Nats' batters didn't give a damn about K-Rod's reputation. They loaded the bases and drove up Rodriguez's pitch count to nearly 40. Then, Adam Dunn drew a walk to force in a run. Down 4-3 with two outs and the bases loaded, Nats outfielder Justin Maxwell strode to the plate. He worked the count full, fouled off two pitches, and then with the crowd on its feet cheering him on, he hit a walk-off grand slam to seize the win.

It was AWESOME. Let's go Nationals! I'll see you next season.

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

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