Apr 3, 2011, 10:27 PM EDT
US Presswire photo
Danny Espinosa had a rough day in the field, but he wasn’t alone.
The Nationals have lost plenty of games like this over the years, lopsided defeats that really turn ugly late and leave fans either booing or streaming for the exits. It would be easy to look at today’s 11-2 thrashing at the hands of the Braves, shake your head and mutter: “Same old Nats.”
There was, however, one aspect of this beatdown that bore very little resemblance to the beatdowns the Nationals have taken in previous years. They didn’t have to wait for someone to speak up and tell them this performance was unacceptable.
“That’s the good thing about this club: Nobody has to,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “We all know. In years past, I think that might not have been the case. But I think this year we realize we can’t do that in any game in this division, or you’re gonna get your ass beat.”
That’s not the kind of quote Nationals fans are accustomed to hearing come out of Zimmerman’s mouth. The face of the franchise has always talked about being a clubhouse leader, but his criticism has usually been muted.
Perhaps after six years of losing, Zimmerman has simply had enough. Perhaps he doesn’t want his new teammates — professionals like Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Rick Ankiel and others who have played on winning clubs — to think this kind of sloppy performance gets shrugged off in D.C.
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