Friday, October 12, 2012

Baseball's Back

Yes, the euphoria brought on by baseball could quickly dissipate if tonight's deciding game in the division series against St. Louis goes the wrong way. And in D.C., that's bad because the sleazeballs who run baseball already don't like Washington--having abandoned the nation's capital for years. But for the moment, it's a wonderful time. Even the always-pompous Thomas Boswell, self-described as America's preeminent baseball scribe, suggested today that last night's Nats walk-off win that evened the series was the first real baseball occasion here.  And in a way, he got it right.

This team can drive you crazy--as can most teams for which I end up cheering. They lose big--12-4 and 8-0, the latter when I went to the first post-season game in 79 years played here. And being Washington, everything is open to argument. After all, the Homestead Grays, who played half their home games here in old Griffith Stadium, played in Negro National League championship in 1948, and still playing stars like Buck Leonard then--Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and Larry Doby having departed the NNL for the white majors, with Satch and Doby playing that fall for Cleveland in the World Series--I suspect they could have beaten more than half the major league teams then.

But then someone who got a big contract and a lot of abuse when he didn't produce--Jayson Werth, goes and hits the walk-off homer after a textbook at-bat where he waited and fouled off for the right pitch. I even remember Werth when he was being touted as an Oriole of the future playing for the Bowie BaySox ten-plus years ago.  And as tall as he is, he was then a catcher, not an outfielder. All catchers aren't squat--remember Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek.

It's wonderful to see how this turns the town on. Even last night's VP debate--usually Washington is the number-one audience for anything political--took second place, although the Nats had just won but the long-time local favorite, the Orioles, were just getting going up at Yankee Stadium. The O's also managed to pull out a Game 4 get-even special, with teenage phenom Manny Machado setting up a ninth-inning score. 

A new game every day, including today, when I get to go yet again. Two days ago, disaster for both Nats and O's; yesterday, resplendent triumph. Now, of course, I so want to see the locals take out the Cards--always, like the Reds, the ever-dangerous "other team" so we can go up against my childhood favorites, the San Francisco, nee New York, Giants.

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