June 24, 2005


Washington wins 11th straight at home (AP, 6/24/05)

Tired of being victimized by poor run support, Esteban Loaiza took matters into his own hands.

Loaiza hit a two-run double and pitched six shutout innings, to lead the Washington Nationals, with President Bush in attendance, to a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, their 11th straight win at home.

Loaiza (3-5) allowed six hits, walked one and struck out five, combining with three relievers on the Nationals' fourth shutout of the season. He was pitching for the first time since being scratched from a scheduled start against Texas on Sunday because of a sore neck.

"I'm glad we had his bat in the lineup tonight," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. [...]

Bush took in the Nationals' first game at RFK Stadium after a nine-game road trip. He was joined by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, brother Marvin Bush and the president's nominee as U.S. ambassador to France, Craig Stapleton -- a Bush cousin by marriage. They sat in the front row of an open, mezzanine-level box along the third-base line.

"I didn't even know he was there until (catcher Brian) Schneider told me in the fourth inning. ... I looked up and he was up there. It's really exciting," Loaiza said.

It was the president's second visit to RFK Stadium for a baseball game this year. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team's home opener April 14 and watched several innings of Washington's win over Arizona.

Bush had to be impressed with Loaiza, who staked himself to a 2-0 lead in the second, recording his first RBI since June 2, 1998 for Pittsburgh in an interleague game against Detroit.

Gotta break her football fetish if she's going to be president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 24, 2005 11:01 PM

Her love of a hugely popular American sport is a hindrance? Come again?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 12:35 AM

Is this going to be a repeat of the Quebec Nordiques saga where they moved to Colorado and won the Stanley cup the very next year?

Oh, my - quel domage! But if it irritates Quebecers again, this is a good thing.

Posted by: obc at June 25, 2005 12:40 AM

Having a "football fetish" didn't hurt the Gipper very much.

Although it was somewhat of a negative for Senator Kerry, of course...

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at June 25, 2005 2:17 AM

The best part of the Nationals' success is watching its impact on that Castro-loving, slimeball trial lawyer, Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles.

Posted by: bart at June 25, 2005 6:34 AM


Reagan had played football, but was a baseball announcer. Broadcast an inning of an All-Star game even and threw out a first pitch with Hosni Mubarak. Never went bto an NFL game that I recall.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 7:43 AM


No football fan has ever won the presidency.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 7:47 AM

Eisenhower and Nixon were fans and college players. JFK was famous for touch football on the White House lawn.

Posted by: bart at June 25, 2005 9:09 AM

Football didn't even exist in the 50s.

Nixon famously demonstrated his knowledge of baseball by picking an all-time all-star team--a desparate attempt to seem a regular guy. That list was pretty good. His football play a disaster.

We shot Kennedy.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 9:48 AM


The National Football League has existed since 1920.

College football has been played since RU beat Princeton in 1869, probably my alma mater's last winning season.

Nixon also drew up plays for George Allen's Washington Redskins.

Posted by: bart at June 25, 2005 10:02 AM

It began with the advent of nationally televised games in the late 50s early 60s and didn't matter until the advent of the Super Bowl.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 10:44 AM

The Giants and Bears played before 72,000 fans in the Polo Grounds in 1925.

College football has been huge since before WWI. It is only in the Northeast, once the Ivies gave up competitive athletics, that it ceased mattering.

Posted by: bart at June 25, 2005 10:49 AM

Football is akin to NASCAR. Baseball is practically an acquired taste anymore.

It might be different in Nashua, although isn't there a big track up there?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 25, 2005 10:56 AM

The Ex-Expos are the only NL team to beat up the Mariners this year. And all of them had winning records at the start of their encounters, while the Seattle team is fighting it out with the A's for last place. Not sure what that means.

I'd forgotten about the Nordiques parallel. Serves 'em right.

And let's not forget the most reacent Prez associated with feetball: Jerry "No Helmet" Ford."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 25, 2005 11:53 AM

The moral of the story: you take anyone out of Canada and they will excel (the Nordiques, Jim Carrey, the Expos, etc...).

Posted by: pchuck at June 25, 2005 12:06 PM


Football is Formula One. Baseball is NASCAR.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 12:09 PM


Ford? He liked football and once played for Michigan.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 12:45 PM

Whoops, sorry, he wasn't elected. But Kennedy's violent death doesn't remove the example.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 12:47 PM

and Ford was promptly voted out of offense precisely because of his association with football.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 1:18 PM



Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 1:26 PM


I'm curious how you rank the sports. I'm sure baseball is far and away #1, and soccer takes last, but what about everything else? Is Australian Rules Football in there anywhere?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 2:57 PM

Here's mine...

1. College football
2. MLB
3. College basketball
4. NFL
5. College baseball

#5 moves much higher up the list when the CWS is on -- it would have a permanent higher spot if only TV showed more college baseball -- and #2 and #3 are sometimes interchangeable depending on the time of year.

Soccer never gets anywhere near the top five unless my old high school is in the state playoffs, like they were a few months ago, or unless an American team is doing well, which is never.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 3:09 PM


Mine are as follows:

1. Rugby
2. NFL
3. College Football
4. MLB
5. Boxing

Special mention: Pro Wrestling, particularly ECW style. It's one of my guilty pleasures like White Castles and the NY Post.

Posted by: bart at June 25, 2005 3:29 PM


Wow, rugby number one?

I realized after posting that local high school sports probably deserve a mention but I didn't bring it up because most people don't include such things on lists like these. I guess my top five isn't as firmed up as I thought it was.

A story: When my mom was young, my maternal grandmother, who was normally a very sweet and demure woman who wouldn't hurt a fly, used to get together with some female friends and attend weekly wrestling events at Omaha's Civic Auditorium. She and her gang would sit in the front row and spend the whole time pounding the side of the ring and screaming at wrestlers to kill the other guy, etc. The local TV cameras always faced my grandmother's side of the aisle and hence they were always visible to the viewing audience.

You should've seen the look on my dad's face when my mom was telling this story a few years ago and he realized my grandma had been one of those crazy women at the wrestling matches every week.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 25, 2005 4:59 PM

1. NFL
2. minor-league baseball (specifically, Akron Aeros)
3. hockey (College; NHL, when they're playing; Olympic)
4. MLB, ranked low because of the last strike. They still need to win me back.
5. My 9-year old's soccer team (familial obligation)

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 25, 2005 6:09 PM

Only one is listenable: baseball

And three playable: flashbowling, bocce, horseshoes

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2005 8:34 PM

Mike Morley:

Not many people rank the minor leagues ahead of MLB, but it does seem to better encompass the true spirit of the game, no?

You're not the only person I've met who still hasn't gotten over The Strike. Some baseball fans I've known simply chucked the game entirely after that happened. Taking away our baseball, and especially the World Series, was nearly unforgivable.

You like Olympic hockey, I see. I wasn't around yet, so I like to ask people: Where were you and what were you doing on February 22, 1980?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 26, 2005 4:29 AM


Played some club rugby in college and I have the bumpy nose to prove it.

Once I went to the ECW Arena in South Philly. The building, the Viking Arena, must have been around at the time of the Continental Congress. It was a real slum. The temperature was about 120 degrees inside the place. It was tight quarters. The ring was small and the noise was deafening. The only thing I can compare it to was the ring scene in Escape from New York where Kurt Russell fought Ox Baker. I was looking around the place for Isaac Hayes and a Lincoln with candelabras on the hood.

Posted by: bart at June 26, 2005 10:10 AM

Matt: On 2/22/80, I was in the TV room in the basement of Thomson Hall, on the campus of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, watching the best game of anything I've ever seen.

I prefer the minors because (1) I can actually afford to attend the game, (2) the players play harder, and (3) the kids have just as much fun as at an MLB game.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 26, 2005 7:42 PM

Since OJ never leaves the eastern time zone, and maybe, judging from a post above rarely makes it up to ground level, I'm sure he would be shocked to know that football and Nascar are the #1 and #2 (choose your order) Red state sports.

Bart, good to see that someone else here can appreciate the guilty pleasures of pro wrestling. I frequented wrestling matches in the 1970s at the Providence Civic Center and saw Bruno Sammartino fight all the greats of the time: Superstar Billy Graham, Nikolai Volkoff, Spiros Arion, Killer Kowalski, Gorilla Monsoon. Also there were the fabulous Valiant Brothers & Lou Albano, and, of course Professor Tanaka and Mr Fuji.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at June 26, 2005 11:14 PM


You are generally correct about minor league baseball except for one thing. The umpiring is abysmal and can sometimes detract from the enjoyment. I've seen games where the strike zone was clearly triangular, and there's nothing remotely resembling consistency from player to player.


I once had the chance to meet Superstar Billy Graham in an environment completely separate from the world of pro wrestling and he was unbelievably funny and charming.

Posted by: bart at June 27, 2005 8:21 AM