Rooting for the Nats

I’m settled in for a fun night watching the fifth and deciding game of the National League Division Series, and I have a definite rooting interest since Jayson Werth hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th last night.

Jayson thought his career was over in 2005, but Mayo Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Berger, M.D. helped make his return to baseball possible.

Dr. Berger had discovered the kind of ligament tear Jayson had suffered in spring training in 2005. it is called a UT split tear and involves lengthwise split of the ligament, like a celery stick, as opposed to a complete rupture. Before Dr. Berger’s discovery of this type of injury, patients would never recover mostly because the injury doesn’t show up well on an MRI. It looks “normal” unless you really know what to look for.

Here is that story, as told on our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog, from when he was with the Phillies in 2009.

I met Jayson in 2009 when I got to interview him in Philadelphia:

That post led to a big story in USA Today when the Phillies went to the World Series again in 2009. It resulted in our first Twitter chat in collaboration with USA Today, in which Dr. Berger answered questions from readers, which led to one of those participants coming to Mayo Clinic for surgery by Dr. Berger for the same surgery, because she had a split-tear too. And that led to another USA Today story.

Two years ago in December, Jayson signed with the Washington Nationals, perennial cellar dwellers. Here’s a story about it in the New York Times, which gets into a lot of his Mayo Clinic story.

It’s neat that in just two years, Jayson is again playing post-season baseball. If my Twins can’t make the playoffs, I’m rooting for the Nationals.

And just in the time since I started writing this post, the Nats are off to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, as Jayson led off with a double and scored the game’s first run.

Go Nats!

Update 10/13/12: The Nats built a 6-0 lead early, but collapsed in the 9th inning, giving up four runs for a 9-7 loss. Bummer.

Visiting Nationals Park

When I was in Washington, D.C. last week I had a free evening that gave me a chance to go see the Nationals play a baseball game. It’s relatively unusual for me to be overnight in a city instead of traveling (I generally fly in one night and out the next), but in this case I had the extended opportunity.

Here are some photo memories from the adventure (click any of the photos to view a larger size):

The view from the back concourse (I arrived just after the game started):

I got a really good seat through an interesting exchange. As I was standing in line to buy a ticket, a guy came up to the group and said, “Anyone here alone?” I said I was, and he said, “Here, take this. It’s a really good seat…It’s about a $70 ticket.” Before I could reach for my wallet to give him a token of my thanks, he was gone.

While it would have been nice to see rookie phenom Steven Strasburg pitch, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten a seat like this if I had been there the next night:

At Nationals Park the between-innings diversions have a governmental/historical feel, such as the Presidents Race:

George won this time.

It was REALLY hot that night, and was almost unpleasant even in shorts. But a nice rain shower cooled things down significantly (and also led to a rain delay):

And after the rain delay I was able to even get a slightly better seat in the 18th row:

All in all, as I left a little early to catch the Metro back to the hotel, it was a memorable night:

Cooperstown Memories

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to a meeting of human resources leaders from the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS) at the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York. It’s a beautiful and historic facility (I have posted some pictures below), and I enjoyed getting to interact with the HANYS group.

But one reason I was really looking forward to the trip was the chance it gave me to visit a place I had dreamed of for about 40 years, the Baseball Hall of Fame. I unfortunately only had about an hour to case the place, but here’s my video report:

It isn’t exactly the SPAM museum, the tourist attraction in my hometown of Austin, Minn. (located just 4 blocks from “Old Main”), but still is definitely worth the trip. Below are some photos, first of the Otesaga, and then the baseball shrine (click to enlarge):

The Otesaga at night
Golf hole view from the Otesaga dining room

Jason Werth’s spikes from the 2008 World Series. For more about why this was cool for me, see here, here and here.

Jayson Werth's World Series Spikes

Harmon Killebrew was my first boyhood sports hero, so it was neat to see the plaque immortalizing him:

Harmon Killebrew's Hall of Fame Plaque

And finally, here is a picture of me with Kirby Puckett’s plaque. I’m thinking this will be my new Twitter avatar:

Kirby and Me

Election 2008 on Twitter

If you haven’t checked out this Election2008 site on Twitter, you really should. It’s a great way to see a real-time political pulse, although the population of the Twitterverse seems to be pretty skewed to the left/Obama side.

Any Tweets that mention Biden, McCain, Obama, or Palin flow together in a continuously updated river of news. A few minutes ago I tweeted my ambivalence over whether to watch the debate tonight, or instead tune to the Twins-Royals game. With a moment, my post appeared on the page. (Click the image below to enlarge.)

I expect the Twitter pace will pick up through the night.

Meanwhile, for the next 45 minutes or so I’m definitely watching the Twins (and also rooting for the Indians, who are up 1-0 over the White Sox as of this moment.)