The Washington Nationals 2012 season is over and it stings big time. After winning 98 games and taking the defending world champion St Louis Cardinals to five games in their NL Divisional Series Washington blew a six run lead in the finale and lost 9-7. Both their season and mine are over.
You see, the Nationals brought me back to baseball. Before they arrived in 2005 I had all but given up on the game. I grew up playing it. I was part of a state championship team in high school. I coached Little League and high school. But after the 1994 player’s strike and the blind eye turned to steroids I withdrew from the game. I hardly watched from spring training to October.
The only thing that kept me remotely interested was the Boston Red Sox trying to win a World Series for the first time since 1918. To me, the so called ‘Curse of the Bambino’ was baseball’s only real storyline. Though not a fan of Boston or the New York Yankees I hoped that the Bronx Bombers would win every year. It was great theater seeing Red Sox fans suffer.
Then Boston won it all in 2004 and I had no real reason to watch.
When the Nationals arrived in 2005 they immediately became my team. I was happy for people like my father who had gone 34 years without their favorite sport after the Washington Senators left in 1971. I was happy because I’m a National League man. And I was happy, because I finally didn’t have to drive 60 miles north and watch the dysfunctional Baltimore Orioles.
After one season I was hooked. While it took time for others to learn baseball was in D.C. I soaked it up. This was a time when the team’s Nielsen television rating was so low it was estimated only 600 people watched their games. I was a proud member of that 600.
So this loss stings. It took eight years to build a team good enough for postseason play. To have it gone in six days stinks. I was hoping so much to have the Nationals season continue, because honestly it was the only thing in baseball I cared about. Now that they are done it is football season.
Another reason why I wanted them to win was to say they went farther than the Orioles. Baltimore-Washington may not be a true rivalry to must fans, but is for me. I never thought I’d see a day when I didn’t cheer for the Orioles, but their owner Peter Angelos drove me away with his lousy handling of the team. I wanted so much to see the Nationals win and rub it in his face.
It didn’t happen. The Cardinals showed Washington how to win in post season. Hopefully, the Nationals learned something from this defeat.
I want to see them get back and finish the job. It’s all I really care about when it comes to baseball.