Prior to departing for vacation in the nation’s capitol city, I did a significant amount of preliminary research about the Washington Nationals in preparation for a blog piece that would most certainly result from my trip. Yep, I sure was. Okay, I was actually just doing my homework to ensure that I could match wits with Nats fans about any Cardinals vs Nats rivalry chat that might occur. There’s not much of a rivalry history, and all I could come up with was attendance figures. When the Nationals hosted the Cardinals in June, they averaged a paid attendance of about 24,510 per game for a 3 game series. When the Cardinals had hosted the Nationals in April, the average paid attendance at Busch was over 34,000. Advantage: Cardinals.
Bam! In yo’ face!
After spending some quality time with Nats fans at seemingly every museum, monument, and memorial between Baltimore and Richmond, I am pleased to announce that they don’t appear to be in great need of a “your attendance stinks, and your momma can’t cook” slam. If anything, the fans I encountered were disarmingly pleasant and very human-like in both their appearance and speech. As a matter of fact, I was able to glean some useful tidbits from the collective wisdom of their tribe through an extremely non-scientific and completely informal study comprised almost solely of grunting. Herein lies a summarized version of what I learned in the form of a letter from a “Generic Nats Fan” to the world.
I appreciate the hype about Stephen Strasburg, but I’m as tired of hearing about him as everybody else is. It’s not that he can’t be good or maybe even great; it’s just that he can’t possibly be “enough”. If you added an elite starting pitcher to the Nationals’ current roster right now, the team still wouldn’t be much better off than 3rd in the NL East. That’s if you add an “elite” starting pitcher, and that’s not to say that Strasburg is one. That’s just to give you perspective on how much it would impact the team and just how much else the team still would need after that. Be realistic, please.
Having a baseball team in Washington, D.C. presents special challenges for the fans that most people may not realize. For instance, some parts of U.S. interstates 95, 395, and 495 could simply be renamed Parking Zones 1, 2, & 3, respectively. It’s not just the confluence of worker drones streaming in from Virginia and Maryland, but also it’s the endless lines of RV’s, SUV’s, and VW buses filled with tourists contributing to the traffic problem. That traffic problem is exacerbated by the high percentage of those tourists who have the “OLOT” syndrome which forces vehicle occupants to suddenly extend their arms and scream “Oh! Look over there!” I could go on, but then I’d miss the “early bird special” before the game starts.
I just hope people understand that it isn’t easy supporting a baseball team in D.C. The Orioles are right up the road, and most locals read their sports news in Redskins-Capitals-Redskins-Wizards-Capitals-Redskins-Nationals order. That’s okay, but it takes some time to reach respectability. (Technically, the Wizards still haven’t really accomplished that feat as a team.) That’s fine. At least there aren’t too many people around when I wear my old school Bullets jersey to baseball games.
The Nats aren’t my first love, though. I’m not originally from the area. Moved up here from <some-city> in <insert-random-year-here> to take a job as an assistant undersecretary to the chief of people who have faces in that one building with the windows. Been here ever since. Kind of adopted the Nats, and I never miss an opportunity to see the boys from <some-city> when they come to town to play the Nationals. That’s really how I got started going to games.
I’ve heard way too much about that Jayson Werth guy, but he’s okay. It’s guys like Danny Espinosa, Michael Morse, and Wilson Ramos that are making things work, though. Not sure where the Nats would be without them, but they for sure wouldn’t be on track to have more wins than the likes of the Cubs, Astros, Padres, Rockies, and Dodgers…and that’s just in the NL. Pretty good for a team of nobodys with a payroll around $50M, huh? Maybe somebody should write a thing or two about them.
-Generic Nats Fan
FOR WHAT IT’S WERTH: While speaking briefly with one Nationals fan, I did think back to something I wrote last year in Werth Versus Holliday.
Referring to the 7 yr / $126M deal contract Werth reportedly signed with the Washington Nationals: “To me, that is what Jason Werth should have gotten,” Braunecker said. “He is a better player than Matt Holliday“.
Last time I checked, Werth was sporting a 1.1 WAR, and Holliday was good for 4.3 WAR. Credit goes to Braunecker for getting his client the money, but I’m still waiting for the “better player” part. Oh wait. He’s not.
TIDBIT: I’m not going to go into detail about each trade the Cardinals made. Just know that I have doubts that anyone has ever thought that Edwin Jackson was the last piece to a championship puzzle. I can only imagine that the Rasmus trade really works for a lot of people who simply thought he needed to go no matter what. I still believe that if the Cardinals really were serious about going “all out” this season, Rasmus would have been part of a much more significant deal.
MORE BITS OF TID:
FINAL TID: I really liked the idea of a Rafael Furcal deal…..about a decade ago.
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