- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2007

SEEN AND HEARD AT BUSCH STADIUM

Tony Batista always has had a few, uh, quirks. He does a little prayer ritual dance after the first pitch of every game. He sometimes works on his swing by hitting popcorn kernels. And he loves to deke out an opposing pitcher whenever he gets beaned.

It happened Thursday night in Cincinnati, when ex-Nationals pitcher Gary Majewski plunked Batista in the back in the ninth. Batista immediately took two quick steps toward the mound (as though he wanted to start a brawl) then veered back toward first base with a smile on his face. He said he has done that at least seven times in his career, including a memorable one in Japan a few years ago in which the unsuspecting pitcher had a look of terror in his eyes. Rest assured, it’s all good-natured.

“There’s too many worries in this game,” Batista said. “You have to have fun.”

BY THE NUMBERS

.318 Batting average for the Nationals with runners in scoring position since May 11, tops in the National League

TONIGHT’S GAME

Nationals RHP Levale Speigner (1-0, 6.33) vs. Cardinals RHP Brad Thompson (2-1, 4.67), 7:15 p.m., MASN, AM-1500, FM-107.7.

Mark Zuckerman

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