You CAN Go Home Again
Greetings from the Booth!
Well, the wait is over! NFL football began this week with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Arizona Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame game. It was really just the Cowboy scrubeenies versus the Cardinal jayvees, but it was good to see players in pro uniforms in game action…
The so-called “dog days” are upon us, as Major League Baseball heads into the long, hot August. Teams have made their trade-deadline moves as buyers have bolstered their rosters for the playoff run, and sellers have re-stocked their farm systems. You’ll also start hearing “if so-and-so plays .500 ball the rest of the way, then so-and-so has to finish 40-16.” For the teams with comfy division leads, the regular season can’t finish fast enough.
Such has to be the case with the Washington Nationals, who now have 10, count-em, 10 players on the Disabled List. In fact, you could field a pretty good team with the Nats’ DL: Jason Werth, Stephen Strasburg, Trey Turner, Adam Eaton, etc. Maybe we should just change the team name to the Washington DL’s.
Speaking of the Nationals, and on to the main topic of today’s post, I was reading a Washington Post article this morning about the almost daily drama of the team, and how we should enjoy that instead of constantly talking about World Series parades down Constitution Avenue. Whether it’s Anthony Rendon going 6-for-6 with 10 RBI’s in a game, or Max Scherzer taking himself out of the game after hitting a home run, or the Nats hitting 5 homers in one inning, there has been no shortage of drama this year. We should enjoy the journey of this 2017 season instead of focusing on the destination.
There was no bigger drama than Monday night’s emotional game against the Miami Marlins. The drama centered around Nationals’ pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who took the mound in his hometown Miami on what would have been the 25th birthday of his close friend Jose Fernandez. Fernandez was the Miami player who was tragically killed in a boating accident last September, so Gio was pitching with a heavy heart.
Earlier in the day, Gonzalez spent time with the Fernandez family, even holding Fernandez child in his arms. During warmups Monday night, Gio used a baseball on which Fernandez’ number 16 was written. So , it was with an incredible amount of emotional baggage, that Gonzalez took the hill against a potent Marlins lineup of Gioncarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, etc.
All Gio did was take a no-hitter into the ninth. If you were writing a Hollywood script, you would have Gonzalez striking out the side for the “no-no”, completing his emotional day. But life is not a Hollywood movie, and Gordon, the Marlins’ first batter of the inning, broke up the no-hitter with a solid single to left-center. Manager Dusty Baker then removed Gonzalez to a standing ovation from the opposing crowd. Even Stanton applauded Gio as he left the game. As a post-script, the Nationals did hold on for the 1-0 win. An emotional Gonzalez, who almost broke down in a post-game interview, admitted that it was a “special night.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
In closing, maybe the Washington Nationals season is a microcosm of life itself. Don’t worry so much about the destination, just enjoy the ride…
That’s it from The Booth. Until next time…GO HORNETS!