08/23/11 7:08 PM ET
Nationals report little damage from earthquake
Lerner, players shaken up by 5.8 magnitude quake hitting DC
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
The Nationals delayed the opening of the Center Field gates for Tuesday's game until 6:40 p.m. ET and pushed back the start time until 7:25 p.m. The D-Backs had a difficult time getting to the park and arrived at the stadium a little after 5 p.m.
Nationals left fielder Johnny Gomes is from Northern California and has experienced earthquakes. He knew right away that he experienced something serious. Then, it took Gomes 2 hours, 10 minutes to get to the ballpark. It normally takes Gomes all of 10 minutes to get to work.
"I felt that before," Gomes said. "I've seen it shake, but then again, here in D.C., right in front of the Pentagon? I live right next to the Pentagon. Of course, that negative stuff went through my mind. I just got my two kids and left right away."
Reliever Tyler Clippard was at home watching TV when his couch started shaking. It took him 45 minutes to get to Nationals Park. At first, he was going to ride his bike to work, but then realized the bike had a flat tire.
"I didn't really know what was going on," Clippard said. "It was kind of a helpless feeling. It was kind of that realization like, 'Oh, my god, it's an earthquake. How bad is it? Is the building going to collapse? If it does, see you later. Nothing I can do about it.' It was kind of freaky. I'm looking around wondering, 'What's going on?' It was nuts."
Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner was sitting near a table in the team's Baseball Operations Office when the earthquake hit around 2 p.m.
"I knew what it was immediately," Lerner said. "A lot of people thought it was an explosion -- either in the building or across the street in the concrete plant. I felt the swing immediately and knew it was an earthquake. I went outside, and you can see the light fixtures on South Capitol St. moving. It's scary. I never felt anything like that before."
The club immediately had the structure of Nationals Park checked, and there was minimal damage.
"We have all our people checking everything," Lerner said. "We had very little damage -- a few TVs fell. We are checking all the lines coming in -- everything. So far, it's good."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.