Final Score: Nationals 3, Marlins 0
Belle of the Ball: Gio Gonzalez. Gio clearly knows that nothing dispels allegations of steroid use like a sharp uptick in home run rate.
Smell of the Ball: Ian Desmond. How could anyone other than Desmond receive my first ever Smell of the Ball award? And with an 0-4-with-an-error performance in the game, his pungency was particularly putrid.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, we’re back. Back at Nationals Park, the site of such much joy and pain on a cold October night just under half a year ago. The dull ache of Game 5 was acutely resurrected as I passed through the center field gates, but this time it was accompanied with the promise of another wildly successful season (minus the crushing disappointment at its conclusion, ideally).
Some things at Nationals Park were different, but many more were just the same as I left them. Here’s one thing that was the same: it was still really fucking cold. Honestly, Washington DC, you had six months to come up with some kind of weather that isn’t extremely unpleasant to watch a baseball game in, and you totally failed.
One thing that made this night-after-the-end-of-Passover different from all other nights was that on this night, hot dogs cost $1. I decided to take advantage of the theoretically appealing opportunity at the start of the third inning. Unfortunately, $1 hot dogs must have some kind of universal appeal, because the entirety of Nationals Park decided to avoid all other concession options and flock to the usually-deserted Nats Dogs stand. I waited in that line for three entire innings of fortunately uneventful baseball.
Alas, my Soviet Union-esque wait for food did prevent me from watching the Presidents Race with my own eyes.
On the bright side, I still managed to capture this landmark moment in the history of Hot President On President Action:
Imagine my disappointment when my interminable quest yielded just two meat-sticks that turned out to be no better than lukewarm dogs by the time I returned to my seat. But my fury at the entire institution of $1 Hot Dog Night didn’t last too long.
Because there’s no better cure for a lackluster sausage than Gio Gonzalez.
You heard me.
Eventually, Gio’s home runs and shutout innings gave way to the Nationals bullpen, who I hadn’t seen in action since–Oh god. Not him. I’m not ready to trust him again. HE HURT ME TOO DEEPLY. NOT DREW “THE PTSD-INDUCER” STOREN
Thankfully, there was no ghost of Nationals bullpen collapses present. Storen took the first step toward worming his way back into my still-broken heart, and Soriano continued his efforts to lull Nats fans into a false sense of security by converting the easiest of possible save opportunities. The game was won.
The 2013 Nationals remained unsullied, ignorant and innocent as a newborn who has never been touched by the evil in the world or opponents scoring runs. As much as I would like to believe this Garden of Shutout Eden will last forever, I know it cannot. Before too long, Davey Johnson will hear the whisper of a serpent in his ear – none other than Satan himself – tempting him to bring Henry Rodriguez into a close game.
And so will this Nationals team fall from grace.