Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. July 4th is his day. You would think that he would be given a break. However, coming down the stretch of the famous President’s Race held between innings among Jefferson, George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and William Taft, Jefferson relinquished the lead in the stretch, and George Washington was victorious.
The crowd loves this silly race of 12 foot high paper mache-clad people that is held between innings of Nats’ games from time to time, and I admittedly do too. Oh yeah, what about the baseball game? The Cubs won 7-2.
Nationals Park is quite impressive.
I have attended a game at RFK stadium, where the Nationals played until 2008, but since I was only 6, I can’t say I remember very much. Nats Park is like many of the new parks which try hard to incorporate many of the bells and whistles in ballpark technology on their scoreboard.
Multiple signs about “Natitude” abound. It reportedly cost over $700 million to build the park which is a number which is hard to get your head around when you consider that that comes out to $16,900 per seat assuming the 41,418 seating capacity. While there is a lot to like about the Park, it doesn’t evoke the same charm as Camden Yards, or have any unique features like the monstrous baseball glove at AT&T Park. Again, no complaints, just nothing very unusual.
We had just settled into our seats in the bottom of the first inning when Jason Werth hit a very long bomb to left field to tie the game at one. After every home run, a navy submarine dive horn sounds, which is a nod to the park’s location in Navy Yard. That home run was one of the few mistakes that Jason Hammel, the Cubs’ pitcher, made. Little did everybody know, this was Hammel’s last game as a Cub as he was traded with fellow Cubs’ pitcher Jeff Symardjia to the Oakland A’s for three minor league prospects. This is the one thing as a diehard fan that is hard to swallow. I get that the Cubs are building for the future, but if you are a season ticket holder and paid good money to go to every one of Hammel’s and Symardjia’s games, you have to be pretty ticked off that management has essentially written the season off on the Fourth of July.
As for the rest of the game, despite one of the worst hitting line-ups that you see in the majors, the Cubs somehow scraped together 7 runs while Hammel and the bullpen shut down most of the big guns on the Nats with the exception of Werth. Both Bryce Harper and Adam Laroche went 0 for 4 and didn’t look good doing it.
Harper in particular looked out of sync as if he is still shaking off the rust after returning last week from injury. Hopefully, it is only a matter of time until he is back to his dominant self.
As for the Cubs, I’m not sure how you can win with a lineup whose batters #4 through #8 are Starlin Castro, Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz, John Baker and Darwin Barney. Castro is the one solid hitter in the group, but batting clean-up? He is a singles hitter. Valbuena is a journeyman who also has little to no power. And Scheirholtz, Baker, and Barney won’t be confused with Murderers’ Row. With all of that being said, while it will indeed be a painful couple of years for Cubs fans, I just read that the Cubs’ farm system was ranked number one in the majors. Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ general manager, did engineer two World Series titles for the Boston Red Sox, albeit with a lot of pieces already in place, so he clearly knows what he is doing. So hope springs eternal!
The best part about Nationals Park is its proximity to so many other attractions. We visited the National Air and Space Museum downtown as well as the Hirschhorn Art Museum. I hope to return again as the Nationals will surely be pennant contenders for years to come.