(Note: Regular contributor A.J. Armstrong will be handing over his columnist duties to his good friend, Johnny Natsfan)
Hello there. My name is Johnny P. Natsfan. The P stands for Pseudo, of course. I’ve been a Washington Nationals fan for most of my life (Note: The Nationals have been playing in Washington, D.C. for all of nine seasons), so I was thrilled when I was asked to write an article on my beloved team. Before I go any further, let me give you a few quick tidbits about myself. I actually work across the street from Nationals’ Stadium. I commute daily from Northern Virginia, where I have been since moving here from Delaware in 1999. I have been rooting for Nats baseball for at least that long, if not longer.
I’ll admit I had never made my way down to the park until last season. I had always seen it as I drove into the underground parking lot of my building but I chose to instead follow them through my morning sports check and online readings of The Washington Post.
Last season, the Nats were incredible! They won like 100 games (Note: The 2012 Nationals won 98 games)! While I hadn’t made my way to the stadium, I purchased the best seats available around mid-July. These guys are so much fun to watch; I don’t know why I hadn’t gone to a game sooner to watch them throttle opponents the way they did (Note: 2012 was the first season over .500 the club had since moving to D.C.). The stadium has been right there on South Capitol Street for 10 years or so (Note: 4+ seasons). Well, I was there during the stretch all of last season. I loved how my Nats destroyed those Atlanta Braves and destroyed their playoff chances (Note: The Braves made the 2012 playoffs). Even though they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, I was never more proud of my team.
Bryce Harper is amazing! With him and Stephen Strasburg, my guys went out there and crushed everybody. I can’t remember the third baseman’s name — I think he was new — but he seemed to be a fan favorite. Not bad for the new guy (Note: Ryan Zimmerman is currently in his ninth season as a National, the longest-tenured player on the team). While I was crushed after that playoff loss, I knew next season would bring even better things.
In April, I went to Opening Day. I had been waiting for this moment since last October and I couldn’t wait for my boys to show the baseball world what they were going to do this season. I would often make my way down to bars on Capitol Hill and talk baseball with some of the guys. A few ended in heated arguments, though. I recall this one guy—he was probably drunk—trying to tell me the team played at RFK Stadium (Note: They did. From 2005-2007). This was obviously some local fair-weather fan that jumped on my teams’ bandwagon after they won those 100 games last year (Note: 98 victories). I detest those guys. They weren’t there for those few lean years; they shouldn’t be around when the Nats start winning. Anyway, the season started out with three straight wins against the Florida Marlins (Note: The Miami Marlins changed their name prior to the 2012 season). However, they went through a tough stretch in April and May and were left on the outside looking in.
I hadn’t been back to any games since May. It wasn’t because they were struggling; I just had a very busy summer. There was work and other things that had to be done. Yesterday evening, I heard they might be back in the Wild-Card race so I got a couple of tickets to cheer my guys on. Work had been increasingly light so it was a fortunate coincidence I could be there when my guys snuck back into the race. They wound up beating those hated Braves; I assume they were the team Washington was chasing for the Wild Card. They couldn’t possibly be winning the division. They haven’t been that good since the 90s (Note: The Braves lead the National League East by 8 games; the Nationals are trying to catch the Cincinnati Reds for a Wild-Card spot). Nattitude is back, baby!