June 9, 2010

This Time Was Different

Years ago when I visited Yankee Stadium for the first time, I quickly realized that there was something different about that crowd. We exited the train onto the street and there was a hum and excitement that you could actually feel. It brought to mind the tension in the air just before a massive thunderstorm rolls in. At the time I chalked it up to just being at Yankee Stadium but after Steven Strasburg's debut last night I know different.

As I was walking to Rosslyn to meet Dave last night I had complete strangers walk up to me and ask if I was going to the game. People were plainly envious that I was heading to the ballpark. Then we got to the stadium and I started to feel that hum again. It wasn't quite as strong as that Yankee Stadium feeling but it was there. Then the capacity crowd gave Strasburg a standing ovation when he walked in from the bullpen and the feeling exploded like thunder. That was when it dawned on me why this was different. This game mattered.

Last night wasn't about opening a new ballpark, it wasn't about a family taking in the national pastime, and it wasn't about the guys going out for the night. Last night was about baseball. The product on the field was what mattered.

Something happened right off the bat that made it feel like something special could happen. The crowd chuckled when "Jaared" the saxophone player was introduced to play the national anthem but once he started we all stood up a little straighter. Nobody expected the soulful instrumental that followed. He got two different spontaneous cheers during his solo and that's saying something.

Then it was time to get underway. McCutcheon's liner to short made us all hold our breath but then we settled in to witness greatness. 7 strong innings, 94 pitches and 14 strikeouts. The homerun Strasburg gave up to Delwyn Young stung a little bit but in hindsight it served as a reminder that after all he is just a rookie.

And it wasn't just Strasburg that dazzled last night, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham provided their own fireworks. This was Strasburg's night but it was a team win. It was a win on a night when, for at least one game, the team had something concrete to play for. It mattered to the 40,000 plus fans, it mattered to the people watching at home, and it mattered to the Nationals. This time it was different.


Brandi said...

it was an amazing event to witness in person- I believe! the only upset:
teddy should have won

Dave said...

Being there really did make it so special. Nice to have the baseball mean something!

Derek said...

I can picture Watson's eyes tearing up as he wrote this.

Anonymous said...

Awesome Man!!!! Your a good writer Bro! :)