Covering the Bases: Nats and the rain

Fans in Atlanta had to wait nearly four hours for Saturday night\'s Nationals-Braves game to begin. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

WASHINGTON — It’s rather ironic that the Nationals’ longest night in Atlanta this weekend ended up being their best of the series. However, I don’t know if Braves fans will say the same thing. They had to wait out a 3-hour, 41-minute rain delay late Saturday. The game didn’t start until 10:50 p.m., and because it went 11 innings, didn’t end till 2:29 a.m.

Major League Baseball can’t control the length of games, but it can certainly limit the time fans must endure before play begins. Anything beyond two hours is a disgrace. It shows no respect for the paying customer. If fans finally lose patience, head home and then play begins, not only do they miss the game, but there will be no refund either.

All clubs do it. I’ve sat through many long rain delays in different cities. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. However, while I’ll return for more games, you have to think some fans may not ever be back.

– Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg were supposed to make the Nationals World Series contenders. So, it’s rather ironic that they’re in first place with both having rather unimpressive years. In addition, the Face of the Franchise, Ryan Zimmerman, has been sidelined most of the season.

So how are they doing it? Pitching and defense. Washington had only one All-Star and now Jayson Werth is dealing with nagging injuries. The Nationals’ MVPs have been Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond, Denard Span, Tanner Roark and Doug Fister. So far, though, it hasn’t been good enough to beat the Braves, at least head-to-head. Maybe in the end it won’t matter.

– Watching the Nats-Braves game Sunday night once again highlighted an annoying factor of ESPN. The freakin’ news crawl.

STOP IT. PLEASE. I don’t need to be reminded every two minutes that Tony Stewart has released a statement or watch repeated Arena Football League scores. Who even knew the league still existed?

– One final thing. The PGA Championship hands out a true award. The Wanamaker Trophy is a size befitting a major championship. Not quite as big as the Stanley Cup, but impressive nonetheless at 28-inches high and 27-inches in diameter from handle to handle.

It weighs 27 pounds.

The World Cup, meanwhile, needs to up its game. A World Championship deserves a world class trophy. 14.5 inches tall just doesn’t cut it.

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