In a season of walk-offs, improbable wins, home runs, and clinches, there couldn’t have been any better way to finish off the 2014 season. Jordan Zimmermann threw the Expos/Nationals’ franchise’s 5th No-Hitter on Sunday, backed by the most unbelievable catch ever by Steven Souza Jr.
The quickest games of 2014 were both pitched by the same man- Jordan Zimmermann. He took a 1-0 loss on June 13th, playing the Cardinals, in 2 hours and 3 minutes, and threw his no-hitter in a stunning 2 hours and 1 minute. The last Nationals/Expos no-hitter was thrown in 1991, before Bryce Harper was born, when the Expos finished with a 71-90 record, and were in 6th place in the NL East. The Brewers were in the AL, the Braves played in the West, Michael Jackson was alive, the popular show The Rugrats debuted, Britney Spears was on a show called Star Search, and Dr. Seuss died. Now, in 2014, the Nationals finished 96-66, and are in first place in the National League East and headed to the playoffs.
The catch was unbelievable. Souza ran like he was racing a cheetah, and out of nowhere he made an AMAZING catch. He stretched out his arm and almost mimicked Jim Edmonds. As the ball flew in the air, Jordan looked like he’d just lost his no-hitter, but once Souza made the play, the stadium erupted and Zimmermann raised his arms in victory. I was batting in my baseball game, but when my mom showed me the news, it was cause for a celebration. I couldn’t believe it actually happened. Jordan Zimmermann just made history by throwing the 5th no-hitter in franchise history.
THAT WAS AWESOME.
Last year when Gio almost threw his No-No, I asked my readers which Nat would be the first to throw a No Hitter. My readers are pretty baseball-smart – more than half of my readers thought JZ would be the first!
- Send me a picture of your baseball-loving kid (son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, friend, or grandkid). If you are a baseball-loving kid, send a picture of yourself.
- Tell me what your favorite Matt’s Bats post is. You can choose one from this year or go through the Archives to find another one (see the bar on the right side of the MattsBats.com homepage).
- If you don’t have a picture and don’t have a favorite Matt’s Bats post (if this is true what is wrong with you?), then send me a good reason why you should get the book. Maybe you know a charity or school library that could use a copy. I already donated one copy to my school library.
If you still really want a copy of Derek Jeter’s THE CONTRACT, but can’t wait to win one, buy one right now on Amazon.com.
The best way to send me your entries it to send them to me on Twitter at @MattsBats. If you don’t have a Twitter, you can also leave them as a comment on this post or send them in an email using the link at www.mattsbats.com/contact.
As the Captain finishes off his home career on Thursday against the Orioles, he has started a new career in writing a series based on his childhood, and I think they will be widely popular.
Tonight was an exciting night. The Nationals clinched the National League East Division with a 3-0 win over their rivals, the Atlanta Braves. This is the second time in three years that the Nats have won the Championship.
The Nationals had high expectations in 2013, but didn’t fulfill it. The Atlanta Braves were the winners that year. But last night, the Nats were the winners and extinguished (get it- Fireman Bryce, extinguish) the Braves from the playoffs.
This 2014 campaign ended with champagne, and it began a new chapter to the story. This is definitely an accomplishment for the Nats after a tough season, stuffed with injuries, setbacks and overturned challenges. I think the turning point was when the Nationals went on 10-game winning streak. At the same time, the Braves played great baseball but struggled to make up any ground. The Nats pulled away to a 14.5 game lead and closed the door on the Braves on their home field.
And as color commentator F.P. Santangelo said on the TV broadcast, D.C. stands for Division Champs.
The Nationals’ cross-town rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, also won their Division last night for the first time since 1997. My favorite tweet last night from the celebrations was this one:
Rename it Division Champions Drive pic.twitter.com/mUjAQJj0mp
— Matt Terl (@matt_terl) September 17, 2014
This turned out to be a very exciting day for me. Not only did my favorite team win their Division, but Yankees Captain Derek Jeter featured one of my posts on his Facebook page. He brought thousands and thousands and thousands of new readers to MattsBats.com yesterday.
Last week, MLB announced the 2014 postseason schedule, and it turns out that both Games 1 and 2 of the National League Division Series and both Games 2 of the American League Division Series fall on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The holiday begins at sundown on Friday, October 3, and ends at sundown on Saturday, October 4.
Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday. It is the day of repentance where Jewish people fast to ask for foregiveness for the wrongs they have caused.
There have been other times when the baseball post-season took place over Yom Kippur. Most baseball fans will instantly know that in the 1965 World Series, Dodgers star pitcher Sandy Koufax took that day off to observe that holiday. Also, in 1934, Tigers superstar Hank Greenberg refused to play on Yom Kippur even though the Tigers were in the middle of a pennant race. Neither Koufax or Greenberg were ever very religious, but Koufax explained why he didn’t pitch on Yom Kippur 1965: “There was never any decision to make … because there was never any possibility that I would pitch. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish religion. The club knows that I don’t work that day.”
As the 2014 season winds down, some Jewish major league ballplayers will have to think about whether they are going to play on Yom Kippur. Some playoff-contending teams have Jewish players who may want to take a day off to observe the holiday. Some notable Jewish players on likely playoff-bound teams are Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers, 1.5 back in the NL Wild Card), Ike Davis (Pittsburgh Pirates, 2nd NL Wild Card Spot), Sam Fuld and Nate Freiman (Oakland A’s, 1st AL Wild Card Spot ), Ian Kinsler (Detroit Tigers, 1st in AL Central), Joc Pederson (Los Angeles Dodgers, 1st in NL West), and Danny Valencia and Kevin Pillar (Toronto Blue Jays, 4 games back in the AL Wild Card). Also, Brad Ausmus, the manager of the Tigers, and MLB commissioner Bud Selig are probably also going to observe the holiday. Teams owners, Ted Lerner and family, owners of the first-place Nationals, and Lewis Wolff, owner of the A’s, are Jewish too.
MLB probably didn’t make the post-season schedule conflict with the holiday on purpose. They need to get the games in, and that’s just the way the calendar happened. However, given the importance of the holiday for the people who observe the religion, many Jewish fans may choose not to go to the games and many Jewish players or coaches may not play in the games. The players and coaches face a hard decision, because it could also be some of the most important games of their career. Just like Sandy Koufax in 1965, it is possible that Ryan Braun or Ian Kinsler may be remembered for the next 50 years by putting their religious beliefs first and not playing. We will see what happens.
On Thursday, MLB played only eleven games, as opposed to the usual 15. Still, there was a unusually high number of batters hit by a pitch. In fact, there were only 2 games were a player wasn’t hit: Game 1 of the double header between Minnesota and Cleveland, and Oakland at Chicago.
Here’s the list of the players who were hit, which includes some of the biggest stars of the game:
MIN @ CLE (Game 2)- Brian Dozier (by TJ House in the Top of the 6th)
STL @ CIN- Jon Jay (by Johnny Cueto in the Top of the 1st)
ARI @ SF- Cliff Pennington (by Javier Lopez in the Top of the 8th)
PIT @ PHI- Starling Marte (by AJ Burnett in the Top of the 2nd)
TB @ NYY- Derek Jeter (by Brad Boxberger in the Bottom of the 8th), Chase Headley (by Jake McGee in the Bottom of the 9th)
WSH @ NYM- Ian Desmond (by Bartolo Colon in the Top of the 2nd), Jayson Werth (by Bartolo Colon in the Top of the 4th), Daniel Murphy (by Matt Thornton in the Bottom of the 8th)
LAA @ TEX- Mike Trout (by Nick Martinez in the Top of the 3rd), Mike Trout (by Nick Martinez in the Top of the 5th), Tomas Telias (by Joe Smith in the Bottom of the 9th)
BOS @ KC- Yoenis Cespedes (by Liam Hendriks in the Top of the 3rd), Josh Willingham (by Clay Buchholz in the Bottom of the 6th)
MIA @ MIL- Giancarlo Stanton (by Mike Fiers in the Top of the 5th), Reed Johnson (by Mike Fiers in the Top of the 5th), Carlos Gomez (by Anthony DeSclafani in the Bottom of the 6th)
Even though Mike Fiers hit Stanton, and then hit the pinch hitter who replaced him, I don’t think it was intentional. Fiers went on Twitter to apologize.
However, it seems like Bartolo Colon’s pitches that hit the Nationals may have been intentional. They each came after a Nationals player hit a home run. In the second inning, Colon hit Ian Desmond after Adam LaRoche’s monster home run. In the fourth, he hit Jayson Werth after Anthony Rendon hit a 2-run reviewed home run. Colon was thrown out of the game, and so was manager Terry Collins. As I said last year, intentionally hitting batters is completely unacceptable. The severe injuries that Stanton suffered, which will end his season, show just how dangerous it can be to intentionally hit a batter with a fastball. If Colon beaned Werth and Desmond on purpose, t was very bad sportsmanship, especially in the game that was part of the patriotic series to commemorate 9/11.
Yesterday, Major League Baseball celebrated the career of Derek Jeter. Everybody knows the New York Yankees’ star short stop as one of the best players to ever play the game. He is a 14-time All-Star, World Series MVP, winner of the the American League Rookie of the Year award in his first season, and, with over 3,400 hits and counting, he is number 6 on the all-time hits list. Jeter is a guaranteed member of the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
The public learned two more things about Jeter earlier this year. First, was that the 2014 season would be his last, because he one that he was going to retire at the end of the season. And second, that he is moving on to his next occupation as an author.
On September 23, a few weeks before his retirement from baseball becomes official, Jeter will release his first book for kids, called “The Contract.” It is a middle-grade fiction book inspired by Jeter’s childhood. Teaming up with Simon & Schuster, the Jeter Publishing line of books will include nonfiction books for adults, children’s picture books, and more fiction books for kids like The Contract. Later this year, Jeter Publishing will release a chronicle of his last season with the Yankees, told mostly through the photographs of Chris Anderson. He is also working on an adult non-fiction book. Jeter has already written two books for adults, The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams and Game Day: My Life On and Off the Field.
I’m giving away two tickets to the Nats-Braves game on Monday, September 8! It’s an important match-up for the NL East title, as the Nationals try to build on their lead and bring down their magic number.
Do you want the tickets? Here is what you have to do to win:
Tweet me at @MattsBats with a picture of you with any one of the Nationals’ starting pitchers. I’ll try to retweet them all. The best picture I get will win two tickets to the game. I’ll send you a tweet back, and you’ll have to come back to MattsBats.com/contact and fill out the email form so I can email you the tickets.
For example, here I am with Gio!
And here I am with Fister…
Show me your pics! GO NATS!