Adam Dunn capped off what might have been his career with the Nationals with four strike outs and a standing ovation.
And while part of me wanted to start the intro tonight with some sharply-toned word-blast, mindlessly cramming disses down the decrepit, melancholy throats of any surviving Nats fans; a bigger, more boring part of me kind of got stuck on the whole “player’s last game” scenario.
It took a fistful of years, an axe murderer beard, 300+ RBI, and a terrified child, but Jayson Werth could be our Adam Dunn at the end of the year, though a less stegosaurus-shaped one. And while at least we have a post season to watch him burn a hole in October, under the covers of tonight’s last call at Nationals Park, we got a taste of good bye, and a shockwave of possible replacement.
Phillies 7, Nationals 1
So there was an eight month screamfest at one point as Philadelphia was disemboweled by Ruben Amaro sending Cliff Lee to Seattle. People were yelling at Ruben, yelling at each other, yelling into oscillating fans because it’s funny, yelling at their neighbors, yelling at cats, yelling on the internet. There were those who thought they were ahead of the game by playing the “He’s gone, get over it,” card, there were those who were delusional with loss, playing the “He’ll come back, you’ll see, you’ll see,” card.
It was not our proudest moment in a city scuttling with pride.
But when the blood dried and the last tooth was pried out of the wall, everybody turned away from facing Seattle and looked back at what was left in our clubhouse. And there, waving sheepishly with .278 BA in his back pocket, stood Ben Francisco, surrounded by frustration and broken furniture inspired by those of us with less subtle temper tantrums.
Weirdly enough, Benny Fresh was the closest thing we had to Lee, seeing as how he came over with him from Cleveland as the last line in every article reporting the deal.
So he popped off the bench 37 times in ’09, smearing 27 hits and five HR on the National-er of leagues. But he was a fourth outfielder on a team which had seen it’s entire outfield make the All-Star team that year. Even our sole prized prospect after two gutting deals for Lee and Roy Halladay was an outfielder. Clearly his pinch hitting skills were the ones for which he would be tapped.
Meanwhile, J-Dub was in mid-rampage, embarrassing NL pitching and proving he was the supplemental righty our lineup was starving for. The only problem was, these ball players who prefer to rock also want to be paid ferociously. And the Phils just don’t have sacks with dollar signs on them to keep ‘ol crazy beard around.
Tonight, Ben Francisco zapped a shot to the visiting bullpen, and not too long after that, he did it again. He even tumbled himself a nice catch in left.
So, with Jayson gone, we’re going to need a psychopath. Benny’s got J-Dub’s vote. But more than likely we’ll see a Brown-Francisco cocktail out there for 2011, and Jayson will take up terrorizing another team’s enemies.
All we can do is hope that in Jayson’s final appearance, we won’t have to applaud 16 strikes in one game.