Saturday, June 19, 2010

Not a typical night at the ballpark

Photo by Traci Zuckerman / SPECIAL TO NATS INSIDER
President Obama, noted White Sox fan, made an unannounced visit to Nationals Park.
When my parents, brother and sister decided to come visit this weekend, they figured they'd catch a ballgame at Nationals Park with my wife and in-laws. And when it became clear Stephen Strasburg would be starting last night's series opener against the White Sox, I figured that would be the logical game to attend.

Little did any of us realize the highlight of the evening would have nothing to do with Strasburg, but rather the guy in the White Sox cap sitting in a suite one section and a few rows back to their right.

From their seats in Section 207, my family had a nice view of the field. They had an even better view of President Obama, who made an unannounced visit to Nationals Park to see his Sox take on Strasburg in what turned into a taut pitchers' duel with Gavin Floyd.

The President stuck around longer than Strasburg did, but he had already left the park by the time the game was decided in the 11th on a nearly brilliant play by Ryan Zimmerman, who made a spectacular stop of Alex Rios' smash down the third-base line but threw just a smidge too high to first for Adam Dunn to haul it in.

"It was weird," said Drew Storen, who was on the mound at the time. "Right off the bat, I'm going, 'Alright, that's by him.' And then it was, 'Whoa! OK, nice play!' And then you just kind of go, 'Awwww.' I was just on edge the whole time. But that was a heck of a play."

A heck of a play, yes. But still the deciding play in a 2-1 loss. The Nationals have now lost four in a row. They've scored a total of 11 runs in those games, striking out 40 times while drawing only five walks (two of them intentional).

"It's tough, but it's a professional group in there," Jim Riggleman said. "Those guys are pros. They've been through a little bit of everything. They're staying positive. They look in the mirror and realize: 'Every one of us, we all went up to the plate to hit and just couldn't get it done tonight against Floyd."

Losing streak aside, some players were able to appreciate this game for what it was: a well-played, well-pitched, tense game in front of a raucous crowd that included the leader of the free world. Even if he was rooting for the visiting team.

"He's still the President," Storen said. "I can't say I've ever had the President come to one of my games before. It's pretty nice to have that."

The members of the Zuckerman and Friend families seated in Section 207 concurred.

All photos by Rachel and Traci Zuckerman for Nats Insider.


Doc said...

Great video Rach and Traci! Sometimes you just have to step aside from wins and losses and appreciate the game for everything that its is. Your photos allowed us to do that.

Anonymous said...

Watching our offense, Obama must have thought of his response to the oil spill.

Watching the futility of the efforts of our pitching staff, he must have thought of his failed bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago.

Watching his team steal this game, he must have thought of his sweetheart real estate gift from Tony Rezko.

JayB said...

The only thing that matters is wins. I do not care about any of this other stuff. Others might and that is fine, but it is about the baseball for me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:05 -- really stupid and inappropriate. Take yourself and that political commentary to some right wing moronic site where it would be appreciated. This is a baseball blog. Let's keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

There's not much you can do about Charles Krauthammer @anon12:31. Or Rush Limbaugh for that matter.

Andrew said...

In the photo of Obama clapping, you have my photo in the black shirt in the upper right blocking everyone to the left of Obama. That was when he and Mrs. Lerner were clapping their hands after the President sung TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME which he did sing!

Anonymous said...

Seeing Zimm's terrible throw, he thought of the gigantic egg he laid this week, in the worst Oval Office speech in history.

Seeing the Saudi Ambassador at the game, he thought of finding ways to go and bow before him.

Seeing 40,000 Americans happily enjoying a baseball game, he thought of possibly touring the world, apologizing for our history, culture, and wealth. Oh, sorry. He already did this. Twice.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Folks, take the political debate somewhere else. This is a baseball site. I don't care if you're a fan of Obama or not, whether you voted for him or not. That has nothing to do with this post or this website. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mark. Well put, and a textbook way for a site owner to moderate a chat veering off the rails. Thanks for all your superb work with this site.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how you can say with a straight face on a baseball blog that the 'highlight of the evening' was that South Side Barry was watching the game in the ballpark. He's not Jesus or a king, or even accomplished in any way. Calling this the 'highlight of the evening' IS injecting politics into a baseball site.

The most talented pitcher in a generation was pitching a gem of a game for the home team. Idiot hack politicians of either party are a dime a dozen.

Anonymous said...

JayB, that was a great baseball game last night. Well played on both sides. A classic pitchers duel. If you can't appreciate that, you really are a moron.

Wombat-socho said...

This kind of political BS is why we can't have nice things on the internet. :(

JayB said...

I was there for each point like Mark's I hope is that that was the story...NOT who was watching the game with me in the owners box.

Anonymous said...

Having Obama at the park was the LOWlight of the evening. What a joke. JTinSC

Kevin Rusch, Section 406 said...

I'm with you most of the way. I'm all about the wins too, because watching the team lose sucks. BUT, they're a credible team, and there's not much they can do (that they're not doing now) to get better. I mean, they could have signed Andruw Jones who's hitting about .100, to play RF, or Keith Osik, who'd dead, to back up Pudge.

Anyway, the team's better, and improving. And they played a good game last night. Live it up. Are you just going to suffer and whine until they win the series?

JayB said...

I think they could go much more this year and they should have done more this past off season...that said my tipping point for being happy with this year is .500 baseball. They were there and I was happy but when Pudge went down their failure to have a backup for him caused the return to learning to lose and try to find other things than wins to cheer for. I really hate that.

Steve M. said...

Mark made other posts about the game. This is that great story of how the Zuckerman group ended up in front of the side-story of Obama the White Sox fan.

It was a side-note on ESPN and FOX and others that the President was there.

Also that Andrew was in the thick of the action
as it looks like he was in the Suite with Obama or the Suite next to him. How did that happen?

Steve M. said...


Anonymous said...

I predict that all it will take is a few wins to restore civility to this unruly crew.

And Mark - very nicely done -- again.

Andrew said...

Steve - Obama was in Suite 11 and I own Suite 10. I wanted to be neighborly and offer him some Grey Poupon and instead offered him a Heineken.

Anonymous said...

Chicago trotted out probably MLB's worst possible 3-4-5. Kotsay, Jones and Quentin: .209-.207-.210, respectively. And the Nats still lost. Damn you, 2006 Jake Peavy coming back to form for once.

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