Sunday, September 16, 2007

Go Dmitri Go!

We Ryan Girls have a habit of chanting at games. A single phrase repeated over and over again until it becomes more of an incantation than a cheer. Sometimes the chant is quiet, whispered only so each other can hear, the types of things we wouldn't want to accidentally get a stadium full of people chanting ("Don't choke, don't choke, don't choke, don't choke.") Sometimes it is increasingly loud and frustrated ("Catch it, catch it, catch it, CATCH IT, NOOOOOO!") Other times it is words of encouragement ("Come on Wily Mo, come on Wily Mo, come on Wily Mo, come on Wily Mo.") Whatever the chant, we spend most of the game directing our players ("Run, run, run, run, run"), the opposing players ("Miss it, miss it, miss it, miss it"), the ball ("Drop, drop, drop, drop"), and even the umpires ("No swing, no swing, no swing") on what we want them all to do. They usually don't listen, but that is beside the point.

But Saturday night a new chant found its way into the ballpark. In the top of the third inning, a ground ball hit by Braves first baseman Teixeira took a bad hop and hit the head of Dmitri Young. Dmitri fell, motionless, to the ground. A collective gasp from the stands and then silence. Pure silence. A big man like that does not go down easily. The other players, plus the coaches and trainers quickly surrounded Dmitri, so that all I could see of him were his legs. His unmoving legs. I watched silently, hands clasped in front of me. After a moment I became aware of the fact that my lips were moving, even though no words were coming out. "Be ok, be ok, be ok, be ok, be ok," I was chanting to myself. I looked at Ryan Girl #2 and saw that she was chanting the same thing. We half smiled at ourselves, realizing how ridiculous it was to chant that. But we kept going. After about a minute we finally saw a leg twitch. Then he rolled over and sat up. Then stood. The crowd erupted in cheers. He was going to be ok. He finished the inning and then left the game, but at least he got back up.

He was replaced by Robert "Oh no, not"-Fick, who proceeded to hit a three-run home run to push the Nats into the lead. Apparently miracles do happen. D'Angelo Jimenez also hit a home run, his first since April 2006. Our starter, Jason Bergmann, who is always great against the Braves, picked up his fifth win of the year, and gave our overworked bullpen a bit of a rest by going 6 2/3 innings. Chad Cordero, who is always shaky against the Braves, got himself out of a jam for his 34th save. The final score was seven to four in favor of the Nats. All in all, not a bad night at the ballpark.

- The Ryan Girls

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