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Ok, it’s overdone, and there are certainly more accomplished writers than me who write journals. But I’m sick of writing previews and I figured the best way to communicate what I felt about the game was to keep a journal, inning-by-inning as to my thoughts during the game, in chronological order….

  • Pregame
    • I’ve cracked a beer (Red Hook ESB) and I’m set up on the couch ready to go. Opening day is the best day. I should have takenOpening Day Monday off so I could watch day baseball, too.
    • The new stadium looks great, that scoreboard is HUGE. Also, I’m pretty sure HD was invented with baseball fields in mind.
    • I think the President’s embroidered name is a nice touch on his jacket – George W Bush, the W is the Nat’s cap logo.
    • That brick wall backstop could lead to some silly bounces. Maybe even right back at the catcher
    • Every year the Preseident should throw out the first pitch of the season, in DC, and the Nats should play the first game. It’s America’s pastime, it makes sense and it would be a great tradition.
  • Top of the 1st Inning
    • Odalis Perez got the first K at the stadium. It’s history! Go crazy! WRITE IT DOWN!
    • So far so good, 3 up and 3 down, I like it.
  • Bottom of the 1st
    • GUZMANIA! First hit in the new stadium goes to Christian Guzman. Think about that. Only Jim Bowden would have predicted that one. WRITE IT DOWN!
    • Hudson threw away a pickoff and Guzman got all the way to third. How often does that actually happen? I have a feeling that Nats are gonna get lucky with the bounces tonight.
    • Nick Johnson‘s hits a ball well, but what was great was seeing him run the bases without exploding. Also, first RBI. WRITE IT DOWN! [1-0 Nats]
    • Austin Kearns shocks me by hitting Johnson home. I’m not shocked that Kearns got a hit, I’m shocked about a 2 run 2 out rally. Is this really the Nats? [2-0 Nats]
    • Wow, thanks to ESPN for showing Dmitri Young in a suit… with a crooked tie… inexplicably carrying a metal briefcase. That was the funniest thing I’ve seen today.
  • Top of the 2nd
    • McCann hits the ball well and tries to stretch it into a double, and he gets gunned down by Kearns. He played it perfectly, although not on purpose, I think.
  • Bottom of the 2nd
    • Dukes hits a deep fly to center, but it’s still not close. FYI, before opening day he had 10 HRs in 184 career ABs. That is enticing.
  • Top of the 3rd
    • Odalis Perez just picked someone off? Everything seems to be going right tonight. First one at the new park! WRITE IT DOWN!
  • Bottom of the 3rd
    • Yuniel Escobar just made the first nice defensive play in the new stadium! Heyo! WRITE IT DOWN!
  • Top of the 4th
    • Chipper just laced a HR over the LCF fence. It is allegedly pretty windy here, so liners may be the best shot for HRs right now, although once it gets all hot and humid outside, I think the ball will carry.
    • First time the ball hits the 3rd base bag and stays fair! WRITE IT DOWN!
  • Bottom of the 4th
    • I like seeing Nick Johnson then Austin Kearns batting. Two batters in a row that can really wear down pitchers, that could be the difference between a pitcher going an extra inning or not.
  • Top of the 5th
    • Acta’s interview with John Miller and Joe Morgan was interesting. It’s just weird to hear a manager use the term “On Base Percentage” when praising a guy. Made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
    • Chevy Chase ACura. That unnecessary accent drives me crazy. Also, I live right there, it’s Bethesda, not Chevy Chase.
  • Bottom of the 5th
    • Mackowiak pinch hits, which makes me happy because I claimed that he’d be one of the first off the bench. And he was! WRITE IT DOWN!
    • So Perez is out, which is understandable. Remember, he didn’t have a complete spring training so might as well be a little careful. 5 IP, 2 K, 1ER – I’ll take that every time.
  • Top of the 6th
    • I don’t mind the little Chipper tribute. People don’t realize just how good he is. And for fantasy baseball, even if he only plays 120 games a year, he’s putting up MVP type numbers when he’s in. Anyway, look at his stats, he’s actually healthy most of the time.
  • Bottom of the 6th
    • Hudson’s keeping the ball down, lots of groundball outs. Not fun for us. But man, this stadium looks good.
  • Top of the 7th
    • Cool view of the batting cages from those premier suites seats. Anyone want to take me to a game sitting there?
    • When the ball is hit to RF, I have full confidence that Kearns is going to make a good play on it.
  • Bottom of the 7th
    • Hey, Joe Morgan, can you remind me again how well Tim Hudson is pitching? Oh, really well? Ok, thanks.
    • Paul Lo Duca hits the ballhard, but I wasn’t fooled into thinking it might carry over the LF fence. Not because I saw anything special, but because it’s Paul Lo Duca.
    • Racheal Ray is trying to sell me hot breakfast from Dunkin’ Donuts, which makes me want to eat it less.
  • Top of the 8th
    • Speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts… Ladies and Gentleman, Ray King! First LOOGY of the new stadium! WRITE IT DOWN!
    • When King pitches to righties, I get nervous. I’m cool with him walking the righty.
    • A flyball out to Lastings Milledge is what I think his is first play of the season. There is talk that he reads the ball very poorly off the bat, but he seemed to get a good jump on that one.
    • It’s a shame to see Gilbert still in a suit on March 30. But what a nasty pass by Blatche… Sorry, I flipped channels during the commercial.
    • Zimmerman just made a great play on what turned out to be a foul ball. I love that play. I hear he’s good at fielding.
    • So there’s an MLB 2K8 video game commercial on with Dennis Leary as the voiceover. Does he always sound this angry? He’s like Bobby Knight, he could sing you happy birthday and sound pissed off.
  • Bottom of the 8th
    • The Braves pitchers last name is Ohman? Oh, man? That could be good or bad I guess. It’s better than, I don’t know, being a goalie name Lettin’ In.
    • Joe Morgan’s talking about an Ernie Banks statue outside of Wrigley, which is a cool idea. I’d love it if the Nats have a player someday that is so synonymous with the team, and so great of a player, that it makes sense to make a statue for him.
    • I can barely hear it, but they’re playing Sweet Caroline during a break. This must be stopped.
    • Felipe Lopez comes in as a PH to show why he should be starting. He strikes out on 3 straight pitches. Well, he’ll have other chances.
  • Top of the 9th
    • Jon Rauch is coming in instead of Chad Cordero. I wonder if it’s cause Cordero isn’t ready to play yet? They say his fastball’s off, a 1 run game in the 9th maybe shouldn’t be where he comes in if that’s the case. I’m ok with playing Chief in the middle innings until he’s healthy. Meanwhile, I think Rauch gets really lucky as Chipper hits the ball hard but right at him
    • Mark Teixeira hits a double about a foot south of clearing the fence. Again, Rauch got lucky and isn’t looking good.
    • 2 outs and McCann is up, I don’t have a problem if they walk him right now with a man on 3rd an 2 outs.
    • It doesn’t matter as Lo Duca muffs it and, I can’t believe it, a run scores on a passed ball. First passed ball in the new stadium! WRITE IT DOWN!
    • Everyone got all antsy with McCann’s popup to LF. Can I give some advice here? If you go to a game, and see a fly ball to the OF, just wait 2 seconds before you decide to loudly gasp, and check out what the outfielder is actually doing to field the ball.
  • Bottom of the 9th
    • Wouldn’t this be the perfect vindication for Guzman? If he hit a HR here, Rob Neyer and Bill James would probably have that feeling that Obi Wan had when they blew up the planet. But, too bad, no such luck.
    • Wow, what a way to end the game. Ryan Zimmerman with a game ending HR! A game winning RBI! And then, the first curtain call in the new stadium! WRITE IT ALL DOWN! [3-2 Nats, final]

Well, what a way to ring in the new stadium. I enjoyed the replOpening Day Winay of Zimmerman’s homer, where they show him jogging to first and clearly mouthing the words “Get the F— outta here!” as he’s watching the ball sail. I am thrilled with the way they played today, and Zimmerman’s home run will be remembered, but Odalis Perez pitched a great game and deserves some credit. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come with him. In the meantime, I will be looking forward to going to my first Nats game next week.

By Charlie