NEW YORK — The flags are flying at half-staff today at Citi Field and all over New York as the country remembers Sept. 11, 2001.
For the first time anywhere outside of Nationals Park, the Nationals will wear their blue patriotic uniforms tonight.
Even as the years pass, this day is one that is difficult for so many to get through. Last year the Nationals spent the 10th anniversary in Washington and this year they’ll get to play in New York, both good places to be reminded not to take any day for granted.
If you’ll allow me a personal aside for a moment, I went for a run this morning in New York City and, on my way, passed a firehouse on eighth avenue. In their dress uniforms, the firefighters were congregating outside the front entrance with flowers and wreaths. It appeared to be a somber moment — there was plenty of hugging going on — and it was a stark reminder of how personal the attacks that day were for so many.
Baseball was not played on Sept. 11, 2001 but perhaps one of the best things MLB can do on this day each year is just that. The Nationals and Mets will give it a shot at 7:10.
Here are the full lineups as Jordan Zimmermann and R.A. Dickey face off:
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Jordan Zimmermann P
Ruben Tejada SS
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Mike Baxter RF
Jason Bay LF
Andres Torres CF
Josh Thole C
R.A. Dickey P
— One other note: As of this morning, the Nationals’ magic number to clinch the National League East crown was 15 but their magic number to clinch a playoff spot was nine. I’ve gotten a few questions about the magic numbers lately and how there can be two different ones for the Nationals.
Essentially the Nationals are trying to clinch two things in the season’s final weeks: a playoff spot — meaning they’re assured of, at the very least, a wild card spot — and the division championship. Their magic number for the division goes down every time they win and every time the Braves lose.
For a playoff spot alone, the magic number goes down when the Nationals win and also when the first team that if the season were to end today would not make the playoffs loses. For Tuesday night, that is the Los Angeles Dodgers, so in order for the Nationals to get their playoff-clinching magic number to seven by night’s end, they’ll need to win and for the Dodgers to lose to the Diamondbacks. Hope that made it a little clearer for everyone.