Ol’ Robbo snuck out of work a bit early this afternoon to go see his beloved Nationals take on the Diamondbacks of Arizona in the fourth and last game of this week’s series.
Although the original plan was for the entire Port Swiller Family to meet at Nats Park to enjoy the game together, circumstances too complicated to go into here caused the party to be whittled down to the Middle Gel and Self (together with friends we had planned to meet there). Never mind, a good time was had by all, despite the fact that it rained periodically throughout the game.
Now permit me to offer up some statistics for your consideration:
The Nats won 1-0, thus sweeping the series. This is the third series in a row we’ve swept and we are on a 10-game winning streak. Without looking it up, I believe this ties a franchise record.
The win was a walk-off, making five walk-off wins in the last six games.¹ I read yesterday that the Nats were only one of three teams in the past 20 years to win 4 out of 5 by walk-offs. I’ve got to guess that this latest lifts us even higher in the realm of statistical achievements. (UPDATE: Apparently, it hasn’t happened since 1986.)
The Nats now have the best record in the National League and, if I count correctly, the fourth best record in MLB.
We are, as of this writing at least, 7 1/2 games up on Atlanta.
I say all this NOT to boast, brag, draw conclusions about the rest of the season, or in any other way to offend the Baseball Gods.² Rayther, I do so to make a simple point: For Nats fans, life is pretty durn good at the moment.³ (And anyway, those who stayed loyal to the team through those awful years of the mid-2000’s – among whom I think I am perfectly justified including the Family Robbo – have earned this, dammit.)
Anyhoo, this afternoon was Ian Desmond Bobblehead giveaway day at Nats Park. “Desi”, for those of you who don’t know, is the Nats’ shortstop, one of the best glove men in the league and a solid hitter to boot. As he has matured, he has become an anchor for the team and is one of the most beloved players on the roster.
So you can imagine that Desi’s bobble head would be a big draw, even for a Thursday afternoon game. And you would be correct – paid attendances was somewhere around 32,500. Ol’ Robbo was certainly keen to get his mitts on one.
Now. About these promotions, I was always under the impression that the rule was supposed to be one item per one person coming through the gate, period. Nonetheless, and perhaps it’s because Desi is such a big part of the team, I couldn’t help noticing that a great many fans seemed to be in possession of multiple bobble head boxes. Several times I saw people coming up the stairs with five, six or seven of them stuffed under their arms or in bags. Of course, there might be some perfectly innocent reason for this, but the general trend seemed to suggest that these folks were bagging duplicates for…..people who didn’t bother to show up for the game.
I’m not talking about the E-Bay sharks here, nor about the folks who sell or trade their gifts to the hawkers out on Half Street as they head up to the metro. That sort of thing is always going to happen. No, I’m talking about what are supposed to be upstanding, law-abiding Family Folk who seem to be storing the things up like chipmunks for future distribution to sisters, cousins and aunts and others.
This rankes ol’ Robbo. There’s a limited supply of these things each time, and it seems only fair that they should be rewarded first and foremost to those who make the effort to attend the game. As I say, there was a paid attendance of something north of 32k. There were only 25k bobble heads available. Simple math says that some folks who made it to the game did not get their treats.
That’s pretty hard cheese for some fans. And so far as I’m concerned, it isn’t right.
¹ I’m aware that, originally, the term “walk off” only applied to game-winning home runs, that it recently has come to mean any offensive play that wins the game for the home team in the bottom of the 9th, and that this has sparked controversy between purists and revisionists. I can’t say that I’ve formulated a position on this myself. The Nats won the last game we attended (last Saturday) on a “walk-off” ground rule double that scored a runner from 2nd. They won this evening on a “walk-off” errant throw from 3rd to 1st that scored a runner from 2nd. FWIW, the term “walk-off error” just doesn’t seem right to ol’ Robbo.
² Did I ever mention the time a couple years ago when the eldest gel was in parochial school and tried to get ol’ Robbo in trouble with Father Scalia (yes, those Scalias) by ratting me out for “believing” in Baseball Gods? Without missing a beat, Father S said to her, “Of COURSE there are Baseball Gods.” Bless you, Padre.
³ What else is there to say but