03.31.08 10 years ago 33 Comments

I've never been a big fan of the single game on MLB's Opening Night — I much prefer the day-long orgy of aces on the true Opening Day.  But last night's Barves-Nationals game was surprisingly worthwhile.

First, the Nats unveiled the new Nationals Park (lots of photos here), which will be stadium's name for another two or three weeks until Ted Lerner gets a corporate sponsor to shell out the appropriate millions of dollars for naming rights.  Finally.  RFK may have once been a great place for football, but it is the single worst stadium for baseball that I've ever seen.  Plus the new park represents the first couple of acres on the Anacostia's banks in DC where it's actually unlikely you'll become the victim of violent crime.

Second, it was a hell of a ballgame.  The Nats scored two runs in the first to grab a lead that they held until Paul Lo Duca allowed a run-scoring passed ball in the top of the 9th.  With 24 straight Nats batters in a row retired by the Braves' staff, things looked headed to extra innings.  Instead, Ryan Zimmerman ended it with a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the inning.  Game over.  (Video here)

And finally: yes, the Commander-in-Chief made an appearance, throwing the ceremonial first pitch and visiting Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the booth, where he called the stadium's first home run (Chipper Jones) and was verbally fellated by both announcers.  Video of the first pitch is after the jump.  It's kind of a downer — I was expecting a hailstorm of boos, but the booing gets overpowered by the cheering.  Unless Bush got 30,000 tickets for his family, I'm guessing that was a sound effect added by ESPN.

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