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D.C.’s arrival as a baseball town

Oct 4, 2012, 8:33 PM EDT

Photo by Bob Youngentob / CSNwashington.com
Postseason tickets have been the hottest item in town since the Nationals clinched.

How does a town respond to something that hasn't happened in 79 years? How does a city that hasn't hosted a postseason ballgame since Franklin Roosevelt's first term in the White House catch pennant fever? And how does a region known mostly for dividing itself down the middle along political party lines come together in support of one common goal: Winning a World Series?

Washington is about to answer all of those questions, and the rest of the country is about to find out what those who live here have known for decades: D.C. is a big event town.

And for the next week (and perhaps the entire month) there's going to be no bigger event in town than Nationals playoff games.

From the moment the Nationals clinched their city's first postseason berth since 1933, there's been a baseball buzz around the District and surrounding suburbs not experienced in generations, if ever. The local papers are filled with more baseball coverage than many have time to read. Local TV news has hopped on board the bandwagon. RadioRead more »

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Well put, Mark!Not to mention also the 33 year wait to get a team, the continuing frustrations with MLB as Lucy-pulling-away-the-football once again, and Angelos' extortion as the price of actually getting a team.That's why there are so many rabid Nats fans on this site who are floating just to be where we are. Sure, we'll be packing double doses of Maalox and bourbon for as long as we're still in it… but most of all we're just thrilled out of our minds to be here!

  2. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    The myth that Washington is not a baseball town was perpetrated by national media that was a) unfamiliar with us, b) ignorant of the horrible treatment of fans by past baseball owners ranging from Clark Griffith to Bob Short, c) slightly (or maybe more overtly) racist and d) just laziness. They figured we "lost" two baseball teams, it must be a lousy market. Forget the product on the field or the exhorbitant prices.What the Lerners, Rizzo et al have done is overcome that stigma by producing a winning, lovable team at fair market prices. Averaging 30K a night for attendance is laudable by anyone's measuring stick.The public in this area are saturated by Redskins coverage so, hence, the thinking goes, "It's a football town."False. This is a winner's town. From restaurants to elections to sports teams, we come out for winners. The losers go home every two years. The winners stay.

  3. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Feel Wood said… Everyone who was on the expanded roster in September will probably travel with the team throughout the postseason whether they are on the active roster for that series or not. Also, guys like Ramos who are on the DL may travel with the team too. If they're not allowed to be in the dugout during games, they'll have seats in the stands. Even though they're not active, they're still with the band, as it were. October 04, 2012 3:59 PM Davey said he will take some extras with him and some would be sent to Viera to stay ready.

  4. Gonat - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Congrats Gio Gonzalez for winning the Warren Spahn award!

  5. Dave - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    The thing is, someone who's attended an appreciable number of games over the past 3-4 years already had a sense of what it would be like when the team started winning.Strasmas was great in 2010, but that really wasn't the only time the place was rocking. In fact, RFK was literally rocking quite a bit in 2005, and it was clear then that baseball interest would be strong once the team started winning.It feels as though this has happened rather quickly; but in fact, as I heard somebody say on some mass medium yesterday, the Mets went from the laughingstock of baseball in 1961 to the Amazing Mets of 1969 in nine years. That's just one year longer than it has taken the exiled Expos to become the mighty Nationals, best team in baseball, after arriving in DC.We diehard fans have endured all sorts of abuse, as you've described here, Mark. But now it looks like our painful years are over.I'm in baseball ecstasy this month.

  6. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Getting kind of tired of people who are in love with the concept of the park being a "sellout". 35K on rainy weeknights or a weekday around here is a miracle and does not deserve the slamming it is getting. Attendance is up and I feel that the energy of the crowds is pretty amazing. It's just that some people love that label so much that if it's not a technical sell out then that automatically means the fans don't support the team and dc is not a sports town. We have some expensive seats that are rarely going to be filled. We will always show empty seats on the tv screen because of the red loft, other bar areas and the indoor clubs. DC is an interesting city, with lots of people from other cities and countries – the dmv is full of commuters who are on the road for hours. A lot of the folks in dc are kind of involved in some other things that happen to be going on right now, too. They are kind of important things….post-season in an election year – yikes.

  7. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Sunshine Carpenter is correct that this town loves a winner — even when the winner doesn't win the whole shebang, witness the different degrees of enthusiasm for the Caps and Wizards. FedEx field is regularly overrun w/ out-of-town fans because Washingtonians have no incentive to hang onto their corporation-paid-for, partially tax-deductible tickets. As baseball fans, people have a long way to go. The people who post on this blog are a unique subset in that many/most of us have long memories of baseball in other cities not just here. But comparing the crowd at Nats Park for the last few home games to the crowd in Oakland yesterday would be like comparing a debutante ball to a rave. (Not that I've ever been to a rave.) (And making allowances for the fact people in Oakland and the Bay Area in general are a separate subspecies who rabidly support even the perennially inept Warriors.) Nats fans just don't get that worked up about it. Maybe a couple of years of winning, when we come to expect it, will take care of that.

  8. LoveDaNats - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Great article, Mark! I can't read enough about this team and am ecstatic about going to my first playoff game next Wednesday! It does have a surreal quality about it. I have taken lots of kidding over the years for my devotion to the Nats, win or lose. I am loving this season and don't want it to end!

  9. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I just really hope we don't turn into Philly fans. I want us to discover what is unique about our own fan base. Some things that we had previously " borrowed" ie – Sweet Caroline – have, I think , mostly gone by the wayside. It takes a while for a fan base to forge it's own identity. I would be interested to know what all of you see in that regard. I love the way the fans have embraced Jayson and Mike's walk up songs. I think we will always have secondary fans – those who still root for their old home team, but are more and more rooting for the nats. The wounded warrior/ military connection is an obvious one. The base area is DC, but also the suburbs. I see tons of children, which I think adds to the numbers dropping after labor day. I feel that there are lots of smart baseball people around that are in for the long haul – always a lot of tourists, of course. Do we have a personality yet?

  10. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Theo — while winning is at the core of it, obviously, a lot of it is about wanting to love the team and its mix of guys. That's why people got so pissed at the knuckleheads and especially the FLops who subtracted value from the team by their attitude even more than their performance (and the love for guys whose heart enabled them to outperform their limited talents).You can give yourself unreservedly to this team. Even the potentially historic superstars don't have out-of-control egos, they're just good,decent people (at least in their public demeanor, and it's awfully hard to be phony under this kind of spotlights). The whole team seems to genuinely enjoy and like each other. For which Rizzo and Davey deserve equal shares of the credit.

  11. Melissa Rabey - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Swami–for all the knocks against walk-up music and the spectacle aspect of baseball as seen at many ballparks, I love how the whole crowd will sing Take On Me. That, to me, is something good, something that should keep happening. Sure, it may make us all look slightly nerdy, but it's a lot of fun. :-)

  12. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    What I hope is that our young players don't turn in to the Red Sox with a sense of entitlement. I don't think it would happen next year.

  13. NatsJim - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Not sure if this has been discussed in other threads (haven't been reading here lately), but looking at the TBS schedule – is 1st pitch on Monday seriously going to be at 9:30pm?

  14. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Nats Lady — that's the value of having grounded, seasoned stars like Zim and Werth, to show by example (both) and by word (at least Werth) that a professional doesn't comport themselves with a sense of entitlement.And also the value of having Davey around, who's done it and seen it all as an All-Star player and a HOF-quality manager. Even if he only hangs on to manage for another year or two, I suspect he'll be around the team to keep things real for a good while longer than that.

  15. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    The value of modeling adult behavior, that is.

  16. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    There was a show (I think on ESPN) called "Broke" about athletes who can't handle the money. Houses, cars, gambling, etc. (Example, Livo). A lot of it is generosity to family and friends, but some of it is bigger house, fancier car, take the crew out to fancy clubs. I hope that a lot of guys being married and having children will also stabilize that.

  17. MurrayTheRed - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    "Politicians and network news anchors have been showing up at Nationals Park, some of them mysteriously becoming part of the clubhouse champagne celebration."Okay I gotta ask, who sneaked into the clubhouse?

  18. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    So what do we do without ANY live baseball to watch tonight?Look at highlights from the best games of the season….? (Gotta watch the pretend slam again. And Desi's walkoff. And the six-run 8th against the Fish. And Ramoose's "gooooooool!" walkoff agains the Phils in the first "Our Park" game. And EJax's CG against the Reds. And "the "let's go Gio!" CG against the Cards. And Harp's cannon shot in Toronto, and anything with his baserunning….)What an amazing regular season. Because our season ain't over.

  19. Another_Sam - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Another great piece, MZ, and thank you. I'm still in disbelief. I still stare at the final standings. This is unbelievable. I wouldn't say that I, and my father before me, suffered, or even endured all those dry years. We enjoyed the following the team. But now — this. I'm still pinching myself. And again, thank you, Mark.

  20. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Wolf Blitzer was seen on the fringes of the champagne celebration, I believe. (I am not making that up. :-))MurrayTheRed said…"Politicians and network news anchors have been showing up at Nationals Park, some of them mysteriously becoming part of the clubhouse champagne celebration."Okay I gotta ask, who sneaked into the clubhouse?

  22. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Loving this season and, now, postseason here as well. Still can't quite believe it.

  23. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Ok – so I just bought a new led flat-screen for the playoffs. My old tv broke a month ago and I have been watching on the other crappy tvs. I was waiting for a reason – columbus day sales, of course:)

  24. btharner - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    I've been a Nats fan since the the team moved to DC even though I live smack dab in the middle of Phillies country here in central PA. I started making trips to Nationals Park at the start of last season and the thing I noticed was how uninvolved the fans were and the only only things that livened up the party were the music, the Presidents, and Jerome, the PA announcer. The first trip this year kind of felt the same way, but since then the change has been incredible and the vibrancy felt in the park has brought me to tears at times–as in tears of joy at being able to experience it. I still like the music and the Presidents and Jerome,but they have been joined by a lot of other things to like. It is a magical time to be a Nats fan and hopefully it will remain so for many seasons to come.

  25. NatsLady - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    That's your Washington Nationals–improving the economy.Ok – so I just bought a new led flat-screen for the playoffs. My old tv broke a month ago and I have been watching on the other crappy tvs. I was waiting for a reason – columbus day sales, of course:)

  26. Cwj - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Great article Mark!I attended a 1st season game at RFK with my dad. I kinda miss that place in a way. Image how raucous it would be now with a playoff team! For those who attended any of the last 3 games-Were there many Philly fans at the park? I was wondering because on tv at least, I didn't see a single Philly cap. And the crowd sounded as if ALL fans were die-hard!Awesome :-)

  27. Steady Eddie - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    cwj — I went to the first two games vs Phil's and there was a sprinkling of their fans here and there, but I got the feeling they were mostly local transplants. They weren't acting obnoxious and they clearly weren't the drunken slobs who bused or caravaned down 95 for the Our Park series. (Speaking of which, Andy Feffer totally had me at "Forget you, Philly!")

  28. Feel Wood - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Wolf Blitzer was seen on the fringes of the champagne celebration, I believe.Was he there as a fan or as a member of the media? He's with CNN, right?

  29. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Seconded re the Phillies fans at the last stand, Eddie. And speaking as someone who has bashed the marketing department for years, I think the last series earned them a champagne spray of their own. TBTP worked like a charm (even if the Phillies did go in the tank because they were the only team in MLB with injuries), and the Teddy win could not have gone better for them.

  30. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    cwj, I was at Monday's and Wednesday's games. I had the same impression as Steady Eddie. There weren't large groups of Phillies fans, and you didn't hear them cheering that much, even on Monday. When it started up, it was easily overriden by Nats fan cheering. I also felt that it was a different cohort than the drunken, bused-in crowds I've seen at some games in the past. hmmm…do we have Mr. Feffer to thank for that, or Phillies struggles this season? Wait, could it be that Philly is becoming a not-baseball town? Nah, they probably just like a winner, as do those folks who are jumping on the Nats bandwagon now. ;-)

  31. Uncle Atom - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Cwj – We had a few phans near us Tuesday night in Sec 111 – all were well behaved (a first in my experience at Nats/Phils games).

  32. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    I don't know, but my impression on seeing the video was that he was not there in a professional capacity. There may be video on the MASN site if you want to watch and judge for yourself.Feel Wood said… Was he there as a fan or as a member of the media? He's with CNN, right? October 04, 2012 7:36 PM

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Atom, not a surprise as they were few in numbers. They are big and bold with their Phoolie friend as min mentality ensues.

  34. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Blitzer would have a press pass, I imagine, right? And if I had one I would totally use it to get in the locker room there for the celebration.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    I think the Take Back The Park campaign paid dividends to this growing fanbase as well as the players.How nice it must be to feel a sense of belonging in your own stadium.

  36. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Speaking of which, the next time a friendly breeze blows a ball the Nats' way, think kindly of Tim Russert. I think he got his wings when the klaxon "rang."

  37. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    How nice it must be to feel a sense of belonging in your own stadium. It's nice to be able to consider it your stadium.

  38. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Uncle Atom - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    I can't disagree Ghost. We'll have to watch out next year when the Phils are "back to full strength" ;-)

  40. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Good one. "Get me, I'm giving out wings."Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said… Speaking of which, the next time a friendly breeze blows a ball the Nats' way, think kindly of Tim Russert. I think he got his wings when the klaxon "rang." October 04, 2012 7:45 PM

  41. baseballswami - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    There are so very many special things that happened during the regular season. I know that when the season is really over, we will be recalling them, but since we are talking about the foolies – the Take Back the Park campaign and Natitude were brilliant. Feffer's whole nattitude really resonated with nats fans. It may not have had anything to do with the team on the field, but it helped to call attention to the drastic changes this season. All you need to do is watch a recording of a prior nats/phils game and then watch this last series. I don't see them making a huge comeback next season. They still have some has-beens under contract for a while and they will need some kind of re-building and transition season. I think it's oddly funny that they fired the 3 assistants and cholly is still there fossilizing.

  42. natsfan1a - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Did I ever tell the one about the lovely, twenty-something gals sitting in front of us at a Take Back the Park game this year? They were up and down and in and out of the section for much of the game, and at one point evidently they got into some sort of fisticuffs with each other on the concourse. I didn't see it but overhead them talking about it later. When the one girl whinged to her boyfriend about it, he cocked back his fist as if to strike her, then laughed. (Good one.)After the Nats started to come back (thank you, Jayson Werth), a couple of adolescent male Nats fans seated in front of the group stood and cheered, whereupon the escort of one of the girls up-ended his popcorn box on the kid, who just laughed. Things settled down until the Nats scored even more runs, whereupon many Nats fans in the section stood and cheered. One of the young ladies frowned up at us and pointed her finger at a number of us in turn, saying: "You're an AH! F you! You're a SOB." (Charming, and so eloquent.) They left soon after, when it was clear that the Phils wouldn't be rallying. My most memorable Nats-Phillies experience, by natsfan1a. Yeah, that particular fan class didn't seem to be represented in large numbers, if at all, this series. And that's okay. :-) Cwj – We had a few phans near us Tuesday night in Sec 111 – all were well behaved (a first in my experience at Nats/Phils games).

  43. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:08 AM

    They probably saved Cholly's job with that Sept. run to .500, but honestly, I don't see them back. Then they will have to blow up the team, and that will kill a couple more years. They might be back right around the time all the Nats' guys under team control start to be available.

  44. PChuck - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Don't let Michael Wilbon see this. He'll be trashing Mark tomorrow like he does with anyone else that doesn't tow his "Washington is the worst sports town in America" line.

  45. Chevy Chase Bob - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    We should all give some credit to the great, late columnist Morrie Seigle of the Washington Star who, after the paper folded, worked to get baseball back into Washington.

  46. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    cwj: On Wednesday's game, I dare there were were less than 10 Philthy fans in our section. They were largely muted. This was a sharp contrast with the louts and skanks that found their way down I-95 in past years. These were almost serene Philthy fans, couldn't even get a decent heckle on. And they left around the sixth inning.I declare Operation Take Back Our Park a resounding success. As someone once said around here, "Mission Accomplished."Totally unrelated: Do I have to watch Southern Cal-Utah tonight?

  47. MicheleS - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Sunshine. if you have MLB Network, Plays of hte month are on.. Just showed Bryce Gunning Braun at the plate. That was soo sweet. Waiting for the Phantom Grand Slam.

  48. NatsLady - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Sunshine–they are showing college baseball? I didn't know they did that. :)

  49. MicheleS - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    And if anyone needs a reason to go to spring training next year (Amanda suggested spring training). BEAT REPORTERS in a softball game.Joey Nowak‏@joeynowak@acomak @MarkZuckerman @masnKolko Even the Astros have a media softball game. How do we make this happen?

  50. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    We need a NatsInsider game!It might have to be Beer Pong instead of softball, but we can do this.

  51. Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    BEAT REPORTERS in a softball game.You know FP will be all in on that.

  52. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Episode IV: The Rebel Nats attack the Deathstar known as the Yankees Nation and their evil Empire YES.

  53. MicheleS - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    SOFA: FP would be the ringer.

  54. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    @acomak @MarkZuckerman @masnKolko Even the Astros have a media softball game. How do we make this happen? Invite ex-Senator Jim Hannan formerly known, with Jim French, as the "educated battery". That's about all he was good for … the media softball game after he was released.

  55. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Section 3, My Playoffs Sofa said…We need a NatsInsider game!It might have to be Beer Pong instead of softball, but we can do this.I would be the Babe Ruth of beer pong, old funk, lol!

  56. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    peric I love it! and… invite Bosman, Unser, Hondo, etc… too

  57. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    Can't wait for Friday night…. Braves-Cards and then O's -Rangers, I know Gonat and Ghost will kill me, but I'm rooting for O'souch

  58. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    We should all give some credit to the great, late columnist Morrie Seigle of the Washington Star who, after the paper folded, worked to get baseball back into Washington.Siegle and Povich and a wet behind the ears beat-guy-to-be named Boz.They failed to help land teams like the Padres and Brewers. Unfortunately, it took a local family far wealthier than any ownership group back in that day could possibly ever imagine. That was always the biggest issue: money.

  59. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Mark…. suggestion, if you could download some photos from 1933 in DC that would be AWESOME!!!!

  60. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    peric said…We should all give some credit to the great, late columnist Morrie Seigle of the Washington Star who, after the paper folded, worked to get baseball back into Washington.Siegle and Povich and a wet behind the ears beat-guy-to-be named Boz.KUDOS TO YOU PERIC!!!!

  61. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Chevy Chase Bob said… We should all give some credit to the great, late columnist Morrie Siegel of the Washington Star who, after the paper folded, worked to get baseball back into Washington. October 04, 2012 8:11 PM @CCB: You are so right. I worked with Mo at the Star (circa 1975-81). He knew EVERYBODY in town. Worked at three papers and all three (then) local TV stations, which has got to be some sort of career record. One of the funniest guys I never met. During games, Mo would just walk the press box telling jokes. I swear the one that got the loudest laugh would be his lede the next day. Second-biggest laugh got the second graf. And so on. Genuinely funny. He and Denny McLain (a real jerk, by the way) did a piano act at the old Shoreham Hotel on Calvert Street for a spell. He was the class of that duo. But, yes, after the Star bit the dust in '81, Mo got a consulting gig to try and build some bridges with MLB types. It didn't pay off until after his death. But he laid a lot of the groundwork that led to the Expos eventually migrating south. I know the press box at Nats Park is named after Shirley. It would be nice, and entirely appropriate, to have the bar at the Red Porch named after Mo. Totally first class all the way, all the time.

  62. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Denny McLain (a real jerk, by the way) Who shall henceforth always be know as Denny "the Dick" McLain to any true DC baseball fan. 30 game winner, bah! Lolich was better and Detroit knew it. One of the worst things to ever befall DC baseball:.

  63. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Peric… in 1973 it was Joe Danzanksi who was going to buy the Padres and move them to DC… I remember this like yesterday, I had just come home from one of my own baseball games and on the TV, the Padres were playing the Giants (I think) and I asked my folks, why is a Padres game on the TV on a Saturday night? They explain to me that base ball would be back in 1974 and Nate Colbert was another Hondo. I was very happy that night and I was thinking, yeah and Clay Kirby(Padres ace) was like Denny McClain, he lost 20 games in one year. I was also trying to figure out if I would still follow the Rangers like I was doing after the Senators left. Many of the old Nats were still on the new Rangers team, led by Whitey Herzog that year.wow, I still remember the disapointment when the deal fell through

  64. Cwj - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    Thanks for the info re: Philly fans everyone!I'm very glad to hear that!Natsfan- Great story :-)Pretty much confirms my original opinion of Philly fans.I used to attend games in Yankee Stadium, and never thought the fans there were that bad. At least nothing compared to the Philthy crowd :D

  65. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    @peric: You're so right. And we gave up half our starting infield (the late Aurelio Rodriguez and slick Eddie Brinkman, who had just learned to hit under Ted Williams) to get Denny the Dick, who went 10-22 the year we got him. A year later he was gone. But we never got half of the infield back. Another real shrewd Bob Short move. Bob Short made Jim Bowden look like Branch Rickey.

  66. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    peric said…Denny McLain (a real jerk, by the way) Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_MeDon't forget we also gave up Joe Coleman who won 21 games for the Tigers in 1972

  67. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    McClain was a troubled soul that i never could figure out. After he won 31 games he went 24-9 in 1969, pretty damn good pitcher and dominant. i agree Lolich was the heart and soul of the pitching staff. Denny just got mixed up with some bad people, very sad

  68. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    here I thought peric was the only one around here who considers Pete Kerzel a nobody.And there you go putting words in my mouth their FeelWood? What have I go to do with that anyway. Actually I like Pete Kerzel and correspond with him over at MASN. He has memories that go pretty far back … I like both Pete and his writing … but he is an Orioles fan. That is waaaaay different than a "nobody"? Sheesh you are such a moron FeelWood.I've never cottoned much to Orioles or Oriole fans. Suffered enough at their hands. Think Philly hatred multiplied by 100 mebbe. Ask Sunshine … if he's like most of us he barely tolerates the Baltimore Bullets.And I predicted the Nats would win the division. Yes, I did. But I was wrong because I said the bullpen would do it. When all is said and done, it was Bryce Harper and his attitude hands down that led to both the division and the best record in baseball. I said Dave would bring Harper up and finish his education in the majors. But I never expected Harper to have the kind of impact he ended up having … sure he struggled at times, but that attitude of his never flagged and that was the true difference maker.

  69. Steady Eddie - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    mick — if we're going back to the fan fave 60s Nats, don't forget my personal faves (along of course with Hondo) — Don Lock and Mike Epstein, who later had (maybe still has) a sports training biz under his SuperJew nickname! Epstein was an early precursor of the DC-Oakland connection, as he was traded there in 1971 (along with Darold Knowles) and hit 26 dingers for the 1972 world champs.

  70. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    so here is a question for you Peric or anyone else… does what happens in post season have any influence on what the Nats do in the off season, in other words, is Rizzo and Davey sticking to the long term plan regardless of whether or not Nats win the WS?

  71. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Eddie…. you think like me and I was just thinking about Mike Epstein. We traded him straight up for an aging Don Mincher who was with the original senators back in 1960

  72. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    Eddie…your right about Knowels, I forgot about that and i was too young to realize what the sneaky low down implications were by Short making that trade

  73. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    I think Senators got Paul Linblad with Mincher for Knowles and Epstein

  74. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    So right, Mick, so right. I totally forgot about Coleman. One of the worst trades ever. Right up there with Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, straight up.

  75. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Eddie your bringing back some fond memories about Darrel Knowles. I remember, Ron Menchine and Shelby Whitfield in the early Spring of 1969 telling us on the radio that a really sharp relief pitcher's tour in Vietnam was about up and he would be joining the team. That year Darrel K was 9-2, and made the All Star Team which the game was played at RFK on baseball's 100 year anniversary…

  76. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    so here is a question for you Peric or anyone else… does what happens in post season have any influence on what the Nats do in the off season, in other words, is Rizzo and Davey sticking to the long term plan regardless of whether or not Nats win the WS?My guess is not as much as many here would LIKE or imagine they do. IMHO this was just as complete a flabbergasting surprise to Mike Rizzo as it was to all of us! Heck that's why he was down there getting drowned in beer and champagne while veteran Davey was in the trainer's room getting a massage I reckon. Davey and BHarp were the missing ingredients. Without Davey there's no early BHarp arrival. So, in the end its Davey. He gets manager of the year hands down as a result.As far as changing things? Its why Davey jumped aboard. He like the plan, he liked the prospects and how they were being developed. His philosophy fits the Rizzo/Clark/Minniti et al plan perfectly. After the season its back to developing prospects, business as usual. Luke Erickson observed an orientation toward developing position players. I think this offseason we'll see the organization turn toward developing pitching again with plenty of position players in the pipeline and in the majors. Pitchers burn out quicker, particularly power pitchers.

  77. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me slololo

  78. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Pena and Knowles made a nice right/left-handed duo. Its too bad Casey Cox, Jim Hannan, Dick Such, et al were what they had after Bosman and Coleman. Not much there at all.

  79. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Peric… excellent analysis! I think that makes sense

  80. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Peric, very tru on Pena and Knowles. Cox was 12-8 in 1969 and it looked like he was going to be a third pitcher, it just never worked out. Hannan I liked, he seemed to get hurt a lot

  81. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Toby Harrah. That era's Ian Desmond. Rushed too soon to the majors like other top prospects due to the dearth of a reasonable farm system. Short truly was a cheap bastard.

  82. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    although Toby ended up making a few All Star teams in TX and had a solid career

  83. DL in VA - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    This just in: Mark Zuckerman has been linked by NBCNEWS.COM.Congrats, Mark!

  84. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    while we are at it Peric, lets add Tom Grieve, Jeff Burroughs and Lenny Randle to the mix of rushed too soon to the majors by the cheap bastard, lol

  85. mick - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    DL in VA said…This just in: Mark Zuckerman has been linked by NBCNEWS.COM.Congrats, Mark!KUDOS MARK!!!!

  86. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    mick, you're not alone. I'm rooting for the Orioles too. What a remarkable season for them and I love that they've stuck it to New York and Boston all year. And Steady Eddie, Feffer had me too at "Forget You, Philly!" At first I rolled my eyes, "o brother another lame slogan." But only until Andy said this. He got my competitive pride all riled up and I love him for it.

  87. Scooter - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    Indeed, go O's. Some of my best friends are Orioles fans.Can't stand the owner (who can?), love the town.

  88. Scooter - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    I also kinda want the Cards to win. For a silly reason — I'm bored of the Braves. 18 is enough.And while I'm here: Jints, A's, whoever's playing the Yankees.

  89. bluejeener - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    natsfan1a said:Speaking of which, the next time a friendly breeze blows a ball the Nats' way, think kindly of Tim Russert. I think he got his wings when the klaxon "rang."I thought of him that night, and again when Luke tweeted. So sorry he missed this.While we all go down memory lane, I agree with some nostalgia for RFK for this. Loved the shaking stands, and I will never forget game 1: the line due to secret service security, seeing fans all over the upper seats writing out scorecards, having the sound system go out and the sound of "God Bless America" spreading through the stands, etc.Equally memorable was coming to the park in September to watch the new "kid" at 3rd base, catch EVERY thing that came his way. My theory in 2005 when the team was playing so much better than predicted that it was due to chemistry": the entire team was new to town, so the only people they knew to socialize with was each other. This year, once again, I attribute the success-above-prediction to chemistry, but this year it is because the team has been so well put together, so well managed, and they LIKE each other. As my ticket partner says, I HEART this team. (all that being said, I worry about a game 3 vs Medlin) (even so, I believe in the magic of this team)

  90. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I'm a little late in bringing up Teddy's win, but as someone who has hated the Teddy schtick since that stupid zip line stunt, I should not be complaining that it's over. However, count me as one who thinks that race should not have had anything even remotely Phillie related to it. After all that, I mean ALL that crap, year after year, couldn't they have done something a little more timeless? Now we have this weird looking green thing whose nose fell off all mixed in with what could have been a cute and funny memory all on its own. Oh well. On to much bigger and better things, huh?

  91. A DC Wonk - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    A few historical points:Mets went from the laughingstock of baseball in 1961 to the Amazing Mets of 1969 in nine years.Mets started in 1962 (when they lost a modern era record of 120 games), and they were still a laughingstock in 1967, when, at that point, they had compiled five 100+ loss seasons in six years. In 1968 they set a franchise record by winning as many as 73 games (and finishing their highest: ninth place). All the more Amazing to consider that the following year they won 100, and beat the Orioles in the WS.As for McLain, a major part of his problem was overuse. Starting at age 21, he pitched 220, 264, 235, 336, and 325 innings at age 25. Of _course_ his arm was falling off by age 26!

  92. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Not rooting for the O's here (in fact, more against), but then I never did root for them. I always feel as though I need to provide a justification/explanation, I suppose partly because of all the years of that troll over on the WaPo lambasting people for not embracing both teams. I have my reasons, but I'm not going to get into them, it being a Nats blog and all.

  93. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    bluejeener, you can credit sec3 with that one, as I was quoting him.Speaking of which, the next time a friendly breeze blows a ball the Nats' way, think kindly of Tim Russert. I think he got his wings when the klaxon "rang."

  94. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    When Davey said they'd have a closed practice, my secret wish was that he was planning for them to all practice together, alone and out of any spotlight, then go inside and quietly hang together, maybe watching the WC game together. I like the idea of them having some quiet, chill team time (as opposed to hanging at home with the wife and kids) before they have to ramp it back up again.

  95. MicheleS - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  96. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Michele, have you got an email address you don't mind sharing here?

  97. MicheleS - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. NatsLady - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    As a person who goes to a lot of games, I got bored with the Presidents thing a long time ago. Usually go to get food or something. But it sure has entered the city's consciousness. I count at least four times people have seen my Nats hat and said, "Go Nats" and then, "Teddy won." Pretty good gimmick, then.

  99. NatsNut - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    Oh, hey, NatsLady, now that we're on the topic of pre-season predictions, I sort of owe you an apology. I thought you were batsh*t crazy on your Bryce Harper predictions. LOLNo way was he gonna come up, and if he did, he'd be completely overwhelmed within a week. I wanted them to go even beyond the super 2 date and wait until September callups. So well done on that one. And yes, if you were wondering, the Bryce Harper crow IS as delicious as the Ian Desmond crow, thanks.

  100. NatsLady - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:12 AM

    NatsNut, thanks. Yeah, I forgot–I was a big Desi supporter, too. Always loved those Desi-leaps! Knew he would figure out the error/focus thing. Didn't foresee the great offense, though.

  101. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    @NatsNut and NL: I was as down on the Teddy thing as anyone … until about two weeks ago. I guess it was the ESPN E:60 thing. Anyway, I've been totally into it since. A complete turnaround. And yesterday was a riot, just precious. I thought it was great. And to coincide with the team's playoff run was perfect. As Werth says, "I guess he was just waiting for the team."I thought Zimm was being a little harsh. I'm not sure I agree with the over-the-top coverage — Teddy DID beat out Cabrera's Triple Crown winning on ESPN's highlights — but it's been fun the last couple weeks. Where they go from here, I have no idea.Harmless fun. Kind of cute. Hey, I've even got a blog photo now!Go, Teddy, Go.

  102. Jimmy - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    I'm ok with being the "Nat1nals." Number 1 baby.

  103. peric - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:56 AM

    Hmmm, NOW I am wishing the Nats Do meet the Orioles in the World Series just so y'all can see just what obnoxious fans those Arbutians truly are. I follow a woman who is a Nats fan and Rays fan handle ShannaClawz and they physically harassed the heck out of her for coming to their park with her Rays gear on. They are far, far worse than any Philly contingent. After getting a load of them in Nats park for a series? Many of you would change your perception …

  104. Cwj - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Peric- Really? I always figured the O's fans as being classy.

  105. baseballswami - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    There is not one classy thing in Baltimore.

  106. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    C'mon 5:07 PM….. I need BASEBALL!!!…..BAD!!

  107. Joe Seamhead - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. Joe Seamhead - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Jack, this is unpresidented.There's like a void right now, that's hard to put my finger on.

  109. Joe Seamhead - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    BTW, if by hook or crook the Nats and Orioles did both make the World Series, we may love it here, but it would probably have the worst national ratings for the networks of all time. Outside of this area nobody would give a hoot about it.

  110. Joe Seamhead - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    The only issue that I have ever had with Baltimore was when Camden Yards was first opened. The old, working class fans from Memorial Stadium were being priced, and squeezed out and they resented the DC yuppie contingency taking over their baseball.Though tolerated, if you were from DC, or its suburbs, they really didn't like you there. Camden Yards became a place to be seen, tickets were a hot item, and the core faithful Oriole fan of yore was left feeling disenfranchised by Angelos. My own interpretation was that at Memorial Stadium people came to see a ball game, where as at Camden Yards people came to see a ballpark

  111. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    I also think that would be cool, so to speak.NatsNut said… When Davey said they'd have a closed practice, my secret wish was that he was planning for them to all practice together, alone and out of any spotlight, then go inside and quietly hang together, maybe watching the WC game together. I like the idea of them having some quiet, chill team time (as opposed to hanging at home with the wife and kids) before they have to ramp it back up again. October 04, 2012 10:16 PM

  112. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    And, yeah, I'm having a little Harper crow myself, as I didn't think he'd come up that soon either. mmm…tasty.

  113. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    On a postseason note, I was thinking the other day how cool it is that I don't have to look at the teams who are in it and decide which one(s) to root for this year. That's because my boys are in the mix, of course. If they weren't in it, as someone who grew up in the SFO Bay Area, I'd be going with my brother's Giants and the A's. Geography aside, the latter meets my out-of-it-fan rooting criteria: they have some former Nats/P-Nats, and they're a low payroll team that surprised this season. I tend to like the underdogs. (Don't worry, Nats, I still love you, even if you aren't one any more, and I'm rooting for you all the way. :-))

  114. Unknown - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    One of the best numbers for me is 30,010, the Nats average attendance in 2012. The Nats join the 30K club. The final Phillies series put them over 30K!

  115. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    In re. my post about teams I'd be inclined to root for, my husband just asked me about if I'd heard about the A's pitcher whose newborn son just died. I was saddened to learn that it's Pat Neshek, a sidearmer I "discovered" some years ago when SI had an item about his website, which at the time was chronicling his first call-up to the bigs. He's an avid autograph and memorabilia collector who trades his own game-used items in exchange for memorabilia. He's evidently on the Tweeter now, too. Anyhow, just very sad news.

  116. NatsLady - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    1a, some questions on A's sites if Neshek will pitch in the ALDS. If you were Neshek, would you? Unutterably sad. I would pitch, I really would. On another note, Hiroki Koroda of the Yanks said he doesn't have fun playing baseball. I root for this guy and his honesty. The idea of baseball is for the fans to have fun. For the "players" it's a job. Go out there, be professional, bring us a win. Then go fishing and admire your ring.

  117. natsfan1a - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    NL, I don't want to try to get in the guy's head. I just feel really sad for him.

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