A good, close, ballgame tonight unfortunately went the wrong way for the Cubs as backup catcher Wil Nieves hit his first career home run off Bob Howry - a walk-off, to boot . If the win itself wasn't unexpected (the Sun Times story on the bullpen this morning is certainly looking well-timed), getting it via power certainly was. Other than Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off to open the park the place has been virtually a homer free zone for the Nats before Felipe Lopez's hit the first grand slam in the stadium last night. This certainly should have been a winnable game (should have capitalized in the 8th), but those are the breaks.
It's late so I don't have profound analysis, but wanted to put up some photos and quick notes from the game tonight.
1) After opening night, tonight's game had the best crowd and atmosphere of any at Nationals Park. The weather was beautiful and the seats were largely full. As the park's not new to me, I'll leave it to others to describe their impressions, but a ballpark that really hasn't quite settled in yet really started to do so tonight.
2) I haven't seen the replay, but Reed Johnson's catch absolutely stunned me. I have no idea how he got to that ball.
3) This is the first time I've been able to see the Cubs in person all season, but Dome is absolutely as advertised. Two notes: First, I've posted a picture below of A-Ram batting with Dome in the on deck circle. I may have taken about 20-30 similar photos, and what I immediately noticed flipping through them is that Dome's head is up watching what is going on intently in every one of them. I don't recall ever seeing that before. Second, the last Cub off the field, well after the walk-off? Fukudome, who seemed to stride in very slowly taking it all in.
4) I don't absolve him, but after tonight I understand the Bartman thing a lot better. I sit in the front row next to the dugout. Nick Johnson caught Theriot's foulout in the 9th literally in my lap, over the rail. The funny thing is - I was watching the ball the whole way and had absolutely no idea Johnson was four inches in front of me. Of course, the difference is I didn't try to touch the ball, either. If I'd been thinking, I suppose I should have since it was in the stands.
Aramis bats, Fukudome watches.
Lastings Milledge breaks for second.
Aramis Ramirez beats Odalis Perez to the bag in the third.
Dome's single in the eighth.
Let's hope Carlos brings us 10,001 tomorrow.