Farewell to Ronnie Belliard, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was one of those in-the-mood kind of players. If he was in the mood, he would play hard and was fun to watch. If he wasn’t, he was a dog, coming off the bench to offer a half-hearted pinch-hitting effort, like he did earlier this season.
But he gave Nationals fans the greatest moment in the short history of Nationals Park — his walk-off home run on June 29, 2008, in the 12th inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2.
It was a beautiful day, a hard-fought game, and in the bottom of the 12th inning, Baltimore was up 2-1, with Belliard at the plate, a runner on base and a 3-2 count. Orioles fans were on their feet cheering for closer George Sherill to get the third strike to end the game. Nationals fans were slumped in their seats.
And then, boom, just like that, Belliard slams his game-winning home run and at the same time, Orioles fans fall into their seats in disbelief while Nationals fans jump out of theirs in joy.
Belliard will never be forgotten for that.
The Nationals got two players — one we don’t know about, the standard player-to-be-named later, and a reliever named Luis Garcia, who in 34 games with the Dodgers’ Class A affiliate, went 5-3 with five saves and a 2.92 ERA.
He is 22 years old, has been in the system for five years, and is still just at Class A ball? Not good.
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