As I speculated yesterday, the Nationals left their stars back in Viera except for Stephen Strasburg – the Stradivarius of their staff – who started and was roughed up by the Phils. No Werth, no Harper, no Zimmerman, no matter. The stands were full of Nats fans, resulting in our first sellout of the Spring. There should be an ordinance against Nat fans invading our stadium! (I’m kidding of course, unlike the Nats who embarked on a Take Back Our Stadium campaign last year.) Halladay pitched well in the 6-3 victory, creating a little buzz by throwing behind a Nationals hitter after Strasburg plunked Chase Utley. and Tommy Joseph looked great behind the plate, catching the entire game and picking up 3 hits including two solid singles off Strasburg. Tommy is turning some heads, and turning out to be everything we expected him to be when we acquired the kid for Hunter Pence last year.
In fact, after all the attention paid so far to Cody Asche, it was time for our other two position players from the Arizona Fall League to get more exposure. All the guys who have no shot at coming back North to Philly are assigned high numbers, Asche wearing 72, Joseph 73, and Collier 80. Here is Tommy Joseph’s form at the plate. He’s got that relaxed-bat-on-the-shoulder look, just before he goes into his swing.
And here’s a little montage of outfielder Zach Collier, first as he came out to pinch hit in the 6th inning readying himself in the on-deck circle:
And a couple of shots of Zach-in-the-Box:
Now here’s another baseball tidbit for you. The indoctrination of ignorning a hitter on his way back to the dugout unless he does something positive begins early. It was evident after Zach struck out, and got the cold shoulder from Charlie on his way back to the dugout.
After the game Miriam was able to get autographs from our two AFL alums, Joseph & Collier.
Good thing I had my hat handy!
One last note on the game, a no-no you’ll only see in Spring Training. Hooters serves two functions at the ballpark, one being hospitality in the Hooters Diamond Dugout, as we enjoyed with our optometric colleagues two years ago.
The other function is the two Hooters ball girls, handling foul balls down the third base line and first base line, stationed in left and right field foul areas respectively. As was the case today, when the wind chill is cool the girls aren’t dressed scantily, which renders their sole function to make sure that balls down the line don’t interfere with subsequent play. Ballgirls during the season are employees of the team and get the hang of the rules pretty quickly. But Bright House Hooters Ballgirls only have one day gigs, and I’m not sure that being bright is one of the qualifications (though with all due respect, I don’t know all of the qualifications for the job). Well our girl down the 3rd base line toward LF today committed the consummate error. When one of the Nats smacked a liner just inside the third base bag, she instinctively went after the ball and was flagged for interference as the Nat was awarded 2B. I’m sure she wanted to dig a hole and climb in, and if it were a fan she might have been ejected for interfering with a ball in play. Management settled for counseling by an usher. Only in Spring Training ….