Two F-18 fighter jets roared overhead, fireworks exploded, and a giant flag that surpassed the size of the outfield was unrolled to celebrate the Washington Nationals opening day. New DC Mayor Adrian Fenty joined the new manager of the Nationals, Manny Acta, and several former Washington Senators and relatives of baseball greats to throw out the first pitches. The crowd was large, but not sold out, and was filled with DC celebrities like reporters David Gregory and Al Hunt, most of whom donned the complimentary red “W” hats given out to mark the occasion.
Unfortunately Acta, the second manager in the history of the club, couldn't deliver a victory for his home debut. The Florida Marlins dominated the play of the game and defeated the Nationals 9-2. Starting pitcher John Patterson only lasted three full innings; Brian Schneider and Dmitri Young drove Austin Kearns and Ryan Zimmerman home and were responsible for the Nationals' only two runs. Even more sad for a team that, most sports pundits agree, faces a tough season ahead, the Nationals saw two injuries in the game: Center Fielder Nook Logan left the game after a spectacular fly ball catch and shortstop Christian Guzman departed with a left hamstring injury. No word yet on the severity of those injuries and what it means for the team this season.
Most notably absent was the other “W,” President George W. Bush. His spokeswoman explained to the Post this morning that he had too many meetings today to make the occasion, and judging from the intense Blackberry activity of many attendees, he wasn't the only one with a busy schedule.