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Most significant moment: The end

Dec 31, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Drew Storen and the rest of the Nats dugout were in shock as Game 5 ended.

As we count down the final days of 2012, we've also been counting down the Nationals' five most significant moments of the year. It all culminates today with the most significant moment: The late collapse against the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, abruptly and painfully ending the season. Do you agree or disagree? Rank your five moments in order of significance in the top right corner of the screen…

OK, it's probably the last local sporting event anyone wants to re-live on the morning after an especially memorable event by another local sports franchise — by the way, who would've guessed that the least surprising D.C. division champion in 2012 would be the Nationals? — but bear with me here as I attempt to spin the most devastating loss of the year into a potentially positive development moving forward.

You already know how Game 5 of the National League Division Series played out. How the home team stormed out to an early 6-0 lead that left Nationals Park bouncing and shaking with anticipation of a celebration at night's end. Then how Gio Gonzalez labored toRead more »

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Rabbit34 - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I know it was the most dissapointing moment.

  2. NatsNut - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    This one still gives me chills and that sick, punched-gut feeling in the pit of my stomach. That inning, that feeling, is by far the lowest of lows I've ever felt or witnessed in my baseball fandom.

  3. MurrayTheRed - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I was so mad, I thought it was the umpire! But people watching on tv said the umpire ball calls were correct. Still not sure.

  4. original Nats Fan - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    I don't know if I'll ever be able to watch a replay of that inning. the agony of defeat…..

  5. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Wow, I guess this is how we'll ring out 2012, eh? Yes, maybe the most significant moment, but not how I am defining myself as a Nats fan. We're already up, now watch out, because we're coming. Let's get this bandwagon up and running.We're going to Disney World, Baby!As to my last post about the two things everybody thinks that they can do better: run a restaurant and manage a baseball team. While I'm fantasizing about eateries and ballclubs, today at Seamhead's bar and grill, which is called Third Base,[because it's the last stop before home], anyway today we are serving up generous servings of tasty Tony Romo Turnovers. Get 'em while they're hot!

  7. 3on2out - Dec 31, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    This simply doesn't work for me. My Webster's defines "significant" as "meaningful." The 5th game of the NLDS was a travesty that means nothing to me. It is a neither a harbinger of things to come or an event to be treasured. As matter of fact, I might argue it's insignificant…a mere road bump on the Nationals' highway to a World Championship. My vote is for Game 4.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    My vote was the winning the East Division.Still glowing.

  9. SCNatsFan - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    My only positive I get out of this – and its a stretch to see anything good – is the learning experience all the young guys got out of this. Never will this team let up before the final bell again.

  10. Steady Eddie - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Murray — while there were several Nats ' pitchers who contributed to the outcome, according to Pitch F/X the HP ump was indisputably a contributing factor as well.While his wide strike zone at the upper inside and outside corners –that is, calling strikes on pitches that were actually balls — was given pretty much equally to both teams' pitchers,nthe five pitches that were actually strikes that he called as balls were ALL against Nats' pitchers.Two of them were against Storen — the first pitches to Craig and Molina, respectively, both of them well into the bottom of the zone by 3or4 inches, not even borderline. Yeah, Storen struck out Craig, but you could say the first time is an accident but the second is a pattern. It mattered because while Storen's 1-2 pitches to both Molina and Freese (maybe it was 2-2 to Freese, don't remember) were in fact just out of the bottom of the zone by literally one and two inches, the pattern that the ump was NOT going to call a low strike was critical. He had essentially told the Cards' hitters "you do not have to defend the bottom of the zone even on a two-strike count".So the point was not that his two-strike calls were wrong, it was that his wrong first pitch calls — especially the second wrong call to Molina — had skewed the whole rest of the inning in favor of the Cards' hitters and had taken away Storen's slider as an out pitch at the pivotal moment of the season. I mean, sure Molina and Freese are good hitters but they ain't Ted Williams. They should have been swinging on those borderline pitches, if only to foul them off.Still doesn't mean Storencouldn't have found a different way to get them out. He had struck out two guys the night before on high and inside heaters. But the HP ump's bad and one sided strike zone was an important factor and shouldn't have been.

  11. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    It is only significant if it leads to change…either good or bad change. Does Drew Storen get replaced or does he learn to challange hitters not toy with them. Does Davey change his "my guys" approach in the face of repeated failure (see Danny, AJAX, Drew in playoffs, DeRosa all year long).Does Rizzo spend the money on a top LH reliever or two and sign ALR or does he say we are good enough with what is cheaper and left over in March?Most importantly is Rizzo going to go all in on winning in 2013 or is he going to stay the farm director type who cares more about being young and having high ceilings than winning now.Rizzo and Davey after that game both said all the wrong things from my point of view. Be honest with your team. They blew the best chance they may ever have to win the World Series. Tell them the truth, they choked and you expected better from them. Then see if they are men or boys….do they own it or start to make excuse it themselves.

  12. Feel Wood - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    HTTRs gotta HTT.

  13. SCNatsFan - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I still think if healthy Bray will be fine as our LOOGY

  14. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    “The main thing for our football team is they’re not satisfied with where they’re at,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said.Rizzo and Davey both was satisfied with the 98 wins and NL east crown. That came across loud and clear to the team and they played like it in the playoffs. That is still their feeling today. That is a big problem….you can never be OK with losing.

  15. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Dang, I was hoping that Mark wasn't going to do a post for this one, but just include it in the poll. Thanks for the attempt at positive spin anyway, Mark. :-)3on2out, not that you aren't entitled to your own interpretation, but see also the second item (specifically, 2a) of the Merriam-Webster online definition. To me it was definitely an event of import, being an all or nothing game. I already knew that it ain't over 'til it's over, but with that game I learned that, in the postseason, it can be over very abruptly. But I wouldn't have gotten that lesson without experiencing the epic high of game 4, regarding which I say: "More, please? Kthxbai."Definition of SIGNIFICANT1: having meaning; especially: suggestive (a significant glance)2a: having or likely to have influence or effect: important (a significant piece of legislation); also: of a noticeably or measurably large amount (a significant number of layoffs) (producing significant profits)b: probably caused by something other than mere chance (statistically significant correlation between vitamin deficiency and disease)

  16. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    If he was healthy he would not have signed a MiLB deal…..He may get healthy….but he is not now.

  17. Traveler8 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    I feel like this is the last time we should discuss this, that a final discussion of a lack of strikes in the ninth inning of the last game, on the last day of the year of that season, is appropriate. From now on, though, it would be good to be looking forward. The Nats did not have a good series against the Cardinals, with only game 4 looking really good – Werth's walk off, of course, but also Det's start, and JZimm's relief – but otherwise this hash and re-hash of the series and the last game in particular is a lot like Confederate veterans re-fighing the Civil War for decades afterwards (if we could have just held them at Chickamauga!) I'm looking forward to a great 2013, and plan to glaze over any more discussion of the 2012 season.

  18. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    That said, although I wouldn't trade that game 4 experience for the world, I voted for the NL East clincher as most significant. Anything can happen in a postseason series but, dudes and dudettes, champions of the division. I did not see that one coming. Not last season, anyway. (Wait, who's that down there looking up at us? Well, I'll be danged. It's the Phillies. And the Braves – hey, Chipper. And the, well, you get the idea… :-))

  19. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    "But over time, that disbelief has transformed into resolve."That's not a stretch, Mark. It is exactly what you would expect from a team built by a "character and makeup" GM and filed-managed by Davey Johnson. I thought the Ghost's analysis of what went wrong in game 5 was the best of any I have seen or read. Davey bears significant responsibility for the loss for how he managed his staff, just as he did when the Nats blew that 9-run lead against the Braves. Davey is a great manager because he gets the best out of his players, and he does that by supporting them and allowing them all the leeway they need to validate his faith in them. But that approach can blow up in your face when they don't live up to those expectations.Nevertheless, I believe that 10 years from now the most remembered and significant event of the 2012 season will be the debut of Bryce Harper.

  20. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Oops – "field-managed", not "filed-managed".

  21. sjm308 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I am sure I am not the only one devastated by the outcome of game 5 but I was honestly surprised by my reaction. I went to bed that night and my spousal equivalent who had turned the game off at 6-0 thinking I would be going to even more baseball asked what the final score was. All I could say was "they broke my heart". I did not watch a single game of the next series, nor did I listen to sports radio or even read the Post. I did come here to read & react. Slowly its now better and I, like Traveler8 am looking forward to a great season in 2013. Its not mentioned in Mark's post nor do many others talk about it, but Suzuki's rbi in the 9th getting us back to a 2 run lead was really huge. Too bad it could not hold up, but it was a clutch hit.I voted for Harper because it is more then just one game or one series. Harper will be a change for years to come. There is no doubt in my mind, at the end of the year, he was our best player and was my mvp for the season. His excitement and fervor for the game just grew on all of us and made our team a force and hopefully that will continue.Go Nats!!good morning eeyore – where did you read a single quote from Davey or Rizzo using the words "satisfied with our season" – I am pretty sure that is just your opinion which as we all know is just a big black rain cloud waiting to pour.

  22. 3on2out - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Natsfan1a…thank you for your interpretation. It is completely valid. I think I am trying to make a distinction between "significant" and "important" but it may be a fool's errand. But…on to other definitions. What does"Kthxbai" mean?

  23. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I am with T8 on this…..New year is here…moving on from last years lost opportunity.I think they have some holes to fill in the roster. JP Howell would do nicely for 2 years and $10 Million.I would really like to Dump Maya types for good. Smiley is still in low A at 27 years old. Best way to restock the farm is in the international market place. Pay the market rate and you can get great values. See Chapman and Cepedes types. Look for value and you get Maya and Martin. You know if Billy Beane is willing to pay it then it is not over priced.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Laddie, I agree totally. The arrival of Bryce Harper marked the exact moment this organization acquired the mental and physical approach to total winning baseball.Bryce is a generational talent that will not tolerate failure and his teammates, coaches and management staff know this. Anything less than committment to winning will be immediately on display through this young mans actions, as we have already seen from his own failures.Yes, he's too young to be annointed team leader but it's only a matter of tkme. And everyone in the organization knows it.

  25. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    3on2out, I hear you, and I was actually hoping not to see a post on this topic, although I also expected to see it. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I am aware of this at all but kthxbai (Eh, who am I kidding? I have lolcats bookmarked). :-)

  26. sm13 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Yes, this was a rough day for the team, but there were a couple of silver linings. The early offensive breakout was an important sign for a team that struggled to put runs on the board the prior 4 games. Specifically, it was crucial for Bryce to bash the ball, and he did. Suzuki's clutch single in the 8th emphasized how much he meant to us down the stretch. While the end was a major blow, the feeling of being there for a game 5 will stick with me for a long time. The crowd energy was higher than for either of the 2 prior home games and was sustained until Descalso and Kozma ruined the party. Nats Park grew up into a loud, knowledgeable, fun baseball venue in 2012 and it all came together on a chilly October 12..After the game, Nats fans showed class – congratulating Cards fans, rather than abusing or harassing them (like our favorite phans to the north would have done.Yes, a tough way to end the season, but still some unforgettable memories. It may be painful, but I wish MASN would air the replay..

  27. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    since you asked…any number of quotes but this was the first one on the night of the game. "We've come a long, long way in a short period of time," Rizzo said. "Like I've said all along, we like where we're at, we like the core players on this team and we're going to be excited to ratchet it up in spring."

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    sm13, good points on the crowd's energy and class. Actually, I seem to recall ALR's parents complimenting Nats fans on their behavior after the fact. Hmmm…sounds like a really nice place to play for the next few years…but I digress. :-)(And for 3on2out: oops, that was a usage note, rather than a definition (for which you'll need to scroll down a bit)).

  29. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Eh, I'm not ready for the replay yet.

  30. Kenz aFan - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Most significant moment? You have got to be kidding.If that's what you call significant, then my wish for you in 2013, is for you to graduate with honors from the "International School of Headline & Banner Creation"

  31. sjm308 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Agree with JayB that we have done very little to tap the International Market and also agree that I would like to see Howell in a Nationals uniform, especially when he went public with his desire to play here.Its an ego thing but I also liked others joining in on picking Bryce. I realize the poll was for a significant "moment" and in Bryce we are talking about the future but I am keeping my vote for Bryce.

  32. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    My only complaint on Davey's managing of Game 5 was not having Suzuki throw down to first when the Cards runners just blatantly exploited the Nats ignoring them. Johnson managed them to a 2 out, 2 run lead in the 9th with his star closer on the mound. Between the Cardinals' plate discipline, the inability of Drew to throw one more strike, and the basic defensive indifference, we blew it. We also looked pretty pathetic in the bottom of the 9th.One vivid memory that I have was an observation I had that made me uneasy even before the game started. The stadium was the loudest I had ever heard it when Gio came in from the bullpen in right field. Rather then looking confident to me, or even happy to be there, he looked more akin to a overwhelmed gladiator coming into the Colosseum to face the lion in front of a rabid crowd.Or a scared deer caught in the headlights. He definitely wasn't showing his trademark smile that we'd seen for most of the year.I love the kid, and expect great things from him in years to come, but he just didn't look like he was up to the task at hand that night.Now, about that bandwagon…I'm gonna spend the next 48 days tuning her up and polishing the chrome. Come ST we'll jump her some juice to the battery and fire her up once again! Forward ho!GYFNG!!!

  33. sjm308 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    JayB – thanks for the quote – I am missing a key word there, I think you inferred they were satisfied or at least you used Shanahan's quote saying his team was not satisfied with where they were after that win. I can't begin to make up what Rizzo or Davey might have said had they won game 5 but I am betting it would have been very similar. "We are not satisfied with this series win, we have bigger goals" etc etc. Like others, I will now let this float away with the rest of 2012. Go Nats!!

  34. sm13 - Dec 31, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Oh, and before I forget to do this: Thank you Mark (and your partner in crime, Chase) for leading us through this historic year. It has been a great ride and just a taste of great things to come. I really enjoy being a small part of this lively forum and its diversity of viewpoints. Happy New Year to all!

  35. waddu eye no - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    when's the last time we had 2 local teams in the playoffs? the nats' rising tide lifted snyder's sinking ship. joe s:Now, about that bandwagon…i'm all for removing the brakes…

  36. sm13 - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    1a, I understand your reluctance to see the replay. I know I'll enjoy the first couple of innings, at least

  37. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    "kthxbai" is short for "Okay? Thanks! Good-bye!"Just in case that wasn't clear. I can't speak for Rizzo or Davey, who are welcome to put a shiny coat on what they can't change. Pessimism is a bad strategy, generally, and sore losers are, well, losers. So there's that. But I am satisfied with 2012. That was a good run, and the fact that game 5 hurt almost as much as game 4 overjoyed is beside the point. Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. YMMV.

  38. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Uh, I think we should keep the brakes, just in case. :-)Seconding the thanks to Mark, for starting this blog, for keeping it going, and for each of his posts (and headlines) over a memorable season. Also seconding the wishes for a Happy New Year (and new season)!

  39. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    when's the last time we had 2 local teams in the playoffs?Now, if the Caps can just … D'OH!!!!Go, Wizards! And take the Mystics with you.

  40. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    sjm308 @ 9:33a.m.- Great post!natsfan1a, Brakes? We don't need no stinkin' brakes!

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    2 local teams to the playoffs? How's about 2 local teams winning their division? Like FP Santangelo said last week "DC is for Division Champs"!Great ending to 2012 a year in DC sports! Lerner and Snyder do their part, time for Leonsis to spend some cash and do his part!The new mantra should be Leonsis is Cheap!

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Laddie, I agree totally. The arrival of Bryce Harper marked the exact moment this organization acquired the mental and physical approach to total winning baseball.Bryce is a generational talent that will not tolerate failure and his teammates, coaches and management staff know this. Anything less than committment to winning will be immediately on display through this young mans actions, as we have already seen from his own failures.Yes, he's too young to be annointed team leader but it's only a matter of tkme. And everyone in the organization knows it. December 31, 2012 9:42 AM Jayson Werth is the true clubhouse leader. He allows Zim to be the FoF and then you have Ian Desmond doing all the right things with his pitchers and his leadership. Bryce is a lead by example guy and amp'd this team up from the moment he got into the lineup.All I can say is this team is special!

  43. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Jack and Ghost are both right, but I'm sticking with winning the division. From that moment on we were no longer "also rans"in the NL East. Bryce, Zim, Jayson, and Strasburg will lead us to the pinnacle.

  44. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    As of now there's one vote for the Shutdown. I'm guessing it's either the anonymously quoted player in Rosenthal's story, or Stephen himself.

  45. LoveDaNats - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    What I remember from that awful, gut-wrenching ending, besides walking around in a stupor for several days, was the way many of the fans stood and clapped for the season the Nats had just given us. The stadium was half empty but some of us left slowly…..reluctant to end this magical season. Thanks for trying the positive spin, Mark.Several days before the playoffs, I bought LaRussa's new book "One Last Strike". Still can't open it.

  46. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Maybe tomorrow we can start a list of the 10 Most Anticipated Story Lines of 2013?

  47. Alex Howard - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    i think the division is ours to lose, but i worry about the postseason, if the bullpen doesnt improve we are setting ourselves up for another night like that one

  48. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    This was a huge disappointment but in no way was reflective of a season where the team came so far and had so many high points. This was not what the 2012 Nationals will be remembered for, and should not be ranked the number one moment. Sorry, Mark, but you're off on this one.

  49. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I think all five listed are significant in their own way, containing of highs and lows. Most significant has to be game 5, a low I believe Nats will come back from strongly.

  50. 95southNatsFan - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Game 4 was so special. I felt like it was more significant than Game 5 because of the fight to stay in the game (Zimmermann's pitching dominance, as an example)and then winning it in dramatic fashion. If we had goneout with a wimper in Game 4, our guys would've missed a big opportunity to grow towards 2013.Game 5 still haunts me. I love Davey, but I'll never understand how he thought bringing EJax into the game was a good idea. Zimm the night before, sure, because he is usually dominant early in his starts. EJax nail biter innings are usually when he first hits the mound. To me, that's where the pressure of the game on our guys really started to build.

  51. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Trying so hard to let it go…….Davey was number on reason for getting that far and he was the number 1 reason they blew it. The AJax move was bad……not holding runners was really bad…..not walking guy to get closer out of the game…..just stupid.

  52. Tcostant - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    You really couldn't say it any better thah that ("stunned disbelief"). I'm over it now, but it is not forgotten, might never be on my end…

  53. Doc - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    That game will live on in Nats' infamy!I'm still in recovery, but getting a little better each day.Davey owes us one—a big one at that!

  54. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    "Jayson Werth is the true clubhouse leader. He allows Zim to be the FoF and then you have Ian Desmond doing all the right things with his pitchers and his leadership. Bryce is a lead by example guy and amp'd this team up from the moment he got into the lineup.All I can say is this team is special!"Werth is a lead by example guy, too. No coincidence, IMO, that Bryce has Werth as his primary mentor. They have a well-justified 2-man mutual admiration society. Anyone who loves baseball should love this team and its classy professionalism.We can say the same thing about the Skins now that Danny has finally turned them over to football men who know WTF they are doing. Character and makeup matter in football, too.

  55. NatsNut - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Hear, hear, Traveler8! I wholeheartedly second your motion to halt further discussion of this godforsaken game after today.

  56. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    I can't bear to relive that night, or write about it anymore. So taking a cue from 1a, I'll repost my comment from the morning after and take the day off. Happy New Year everyone!"Well that was painful. From the heights of excitement to the depths of despair in just a few minutes. I had a bad feeling about the inning as soon as Beltran got the leadoff hit, but even more when he took third on a grounder to Zim, who seemed to have a very good shot at catching him in a rundown if he had tried. I know that run meant nothing, but 1 out with a man on 1st is better than 1 out with a man on third. Twice in that inning we saw defensive indifference on steals of second. Molina (the tying run) stole his base before Drew even made the pitch. To me, that is not good fundamental baseball.Thanks to the guy who posted the link to the Brooks Baseball Zoneplot. It's good to know that the homeplate ump basically had the calls right. Very hard to tell from in the park obviously. It sure seemed like there were a couple of game-ending called strike 3's that weren't called.But enough. It was a fantastic season. I'm skeptical that we'll be back in this position anytime soon because too much can go wrong. But this season stands on its own as a surprising wonder. And I'll never forget it.It was made even better by the generally fun and supportive community we've made here. As I walked out last night, I heard someone call out "222!". It was sjm308's son, who I've met several times when visiting 308 in, well, 308. Very nice of him to say goodbye. Friendships forged at Nationals Park and even here online will endure. We've shared something special, despite the bitter ending.I hope everyone has a great weekend, if that's possible. I'm pretty down in the dumps this morning, but maybe a drive to the Shenandoahs during peak leaves season will cure that.October 13, 2012 9:32 AM"

  57. JaneB - Dec 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    sjm, I also went to bed, couldn't eat. and couldn't watch any of the next series. Finally tuned in at the last Giants game when they won. I missed baseball, but not enough to watch.It was a fantastic season. As shocked as Washington is that the Skins are in pointy ball playoff time, there really was no one but Davey and a few true believers here who thought our Nats would be as good as they were. This season, we will see it coming. To me, nothing will beat the magic of last year. Even when we win the Serious — and I believe we can — it won't compare with the "Holy $#!)" feeling we got day after day, when they kept coming back to win. When Ian showed up as the player some of us always knew he could be, when The Kid turned out to be as advertised, when ALR was really playing the way we'd never seen before, when Gio's smile and fastball lit up the joint, when Stras was back to being himself (and smiling occasionally too!) and Davey was Davey. When Werth took us in, and didn't seem like he was mad at us, and Wilson was back and safe and every one of the baby catchers stepped up in a big way until, well, until they needed to go on the DL. I don't know if I'll ever love a team as much as I love the 2012 Nats. I hope so. But if I don't, I'm okay with that. I'll never regret a minute I spent at that park, even the last ones of Game 5.Happy New Year, everyone!

  58. JaneB - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    PS I love that NO ONE is voting that Strasburg's shut down was a big deal. That was an artificial issue created by people who hadn't been paying attention all along, nor invested in the long term of the team. ;-)

  59. Steady Eddie - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    222 — I hope in the calmer time since Game 5 you're at least somewhat rethinking your sense that " I'm skeptical that we'll be back in this position anytime soon because too much can go wrong."A lot went wrong this year (all the injuries and losing Stras down the stretch) and yet between Rizzo's assembly of personnel and Davey's expertise in managing them, we still had the best regular season record in baseball.For me, the simple explanation for the NLDS is inexperience. Our pitching was our great strength throughout the season and yet out of 5 games, we got one solid start (Det in 4) and two good bullpen games (1 & 4). (Not inexperience with EJax, of course, just the maddening inconsistency that explains his bouncing around.) I have no doubt that all our young starters will come out of this with a lot more capability to handle October in the future.Most of all, I've learned to trust Davey. When he said last Spring, "fire me if we don't make the playoffs", most of us including me wrote here or murmured to ourselves the equivalent of "yeah right, from your mouth to God's ear!"But after this year, when he says "it's the WS in 2013", I'm going to believe him.

  60. sjm308 - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Jane B. so well said, thanks for that postHappy New Year to all imaginary and real friends.The spousal equivalent and I play tourist on this night, we go to the NYE Jazz show at the Kennedy Center(this year its Dizzy Gillespie Band) a nice meal (this year at West End Bistro) and then spend the night downtown. Next day we walk around the town and I will be wearing my Nationals Jacket, Hat and long sleeve t with great pride.See you folks in a day or two.Go Nats!!

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    ALR Is back.

  62. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    good news

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Just a New Years Eve teaser. ALR is "back" in his home preparing for New Years with his family.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    JayB, Happy New Years. It will all be fine.

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    ALR is back home. That was a NYE teaser.

  66. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    nice….it is about time for him to make a choice….I think his choices are clear by now.

  67. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    In honor of Jordan's wedding today, I am choosing my own significant moment – "THE INNING" — and you all know which one I mean.I hope he brings that Natitude into 2013. Congrats Jordan and Mandy! And stop teasing about Adam.

  68. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I think they have some holes to fill in the roster. JP Howell would do nicely for 2 years and $10 Million.Soft tosser. Hopefully, they can make a trade to acquire a live left arm with a mid 90's fastball and cutter.

  69. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Does Rizzo spend the money on a top LH reliever or twoNO because there really aren't any out there worth the sums you keep on throwing out there as if they are preordained by some Bible. Burnett wasn't worth the sum he is being paid.Now, tradewise? Perhaps, but remember you have to give to get. And the farm has already been stripped to build a contender in spite of your constant criticisms they are indeed a contender picked 2nd in one recent power ranking. and sign ALR or does he say we are good enough with what is cheaper and left over in March?Its NOT about the money its about the time. Rendon will likely be another generational talent like Harper. He needs a spot.

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    JayB, I think there's a good chance he comes back.

  71. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  72. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    you mean like Chapman they could have had for cash only….then Rizzo said to my face at a STH thing…..he had a better value in Maya and Martin?They need a LH arm that can throw strikes….they are not going to us him for full innings…they need one that can get Howard types out. Sean B was good at it….just just too dam expensive…..right……

  73. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    JayB, I think there's a good chance he comes back.I'm not so sure … the Nats might just close off and move on. Or LaRoche may decide at his age that he doesn't want to end up permanently benched if he ends up on the DL and gets replaced. That can and would happen to him with the Nats. Starting with Moore and Morse and ending with Rendon. There's a lot that goes into this decision on both sides.

  74. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    They need a LH arm that can throw strikes….they are not going to us him for full innings…they need one that can get Howard types out. Sean B was good at it….just just too dam expensive…..right……Tommy Johns and his arm was just about shot at the end. Burnett's 2011 season ended with Burnett being their worst reliever. Signing Burnett was a big risk. Not on parr with Lidge but close.Clippard's arm is worrisome as well.Relievers don't last forever.As for Chapman, the Lerners are learning. Its not like they can pull an allnighter to learn how to be good owners. Rizzo can only do so much and they are hamstrung by the MASN shenanigans. Right?

  75. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    They need a LH arm that can throw strikes….they are not going to us him for full innings…Rizzo (the guy you love to slam JayB) traded for Burnett and came up with Joel Peralta who ended up saving Tampa Bay's hash on more than one occasion after his stay in DC.I expect that Bill Bray might be better than you think he is. Why? Because Rizzo thinks so even if you don't.

  76. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    I think if Adam re- signs with the Nats, Rizzo gets a lefty relief pitcher in the Morse trade.

  77. SonnyG10 - Dec 31, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    JayB, turn your telescope around. You're looking through the wrong end. :)

  78. Unknown - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Happy New Year, Nats fans and DC sports fans, home of two division champions and 5 playoff teams of seven sports — Nats, Skins, Caps, DC United, and the two-time champion Kastles — only basketball stinks right now.JayB – while I agree that the Nats need to get a legit LH reliever and should have kept at least one of the three they let go — none signed for unreasonable dollars or years and an NL competitor got two of them — I strongly disagree with you about the attitude of Rizzo and Davey regarding their goals for the team last season – they wanted to win it all. While some of the ninth inning moves were curious — why let the tying run go to scoring position unchallenged, why leave Storen in to throw more than twenty pitches when he was working for a third consecutive day and had not even played half a season, why pitch to Kozma when you had pitcher up next and only one guy left on Cards bench — the post-season is a random crapshoot now that every sport lets so many teams in. This "October ready" stuff is garbage. The outcomes are random, pure chance, especially in a game like baseball will a tiny number of games – no matter how much talent the Nats amass, they may never win it all – or they may scrape in with a decent team and make a run like the Cards did in 06 and the Marlins twice and SF this season, etc., etc.There is no "built for post-season" team blah, blah – it is ALL chance and the numbers back it up.We in DC had two division champs – both completely unexpected – for the first time EVER. Enjoy it. It is a fallacy that every season has one happy team and everyone else is a chump or loser. Our beloved Nats and Skins are WINNERS and CHAMPIONS – in an entire season – not a crapshoot tournament. NOTHING and NO ONE will diminsh my utmost joy in this and it will last a LIFETIME, not a year. Savor this, folks – it has never happened before…ENJOY IT…Happy 2013.

  79. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    I think if Adam re- signs with the Nats, Rizzo gets a lefty relief pitcher in the Morse trade.Maybe, Again, they would likely get more for Tyler Moore who doesn't have an injury history and isn't under team control for only 1 more season. If you bundle Moore with Lombardozzi and a pitcher you might get a whole lot of help from an AL team. Morse is more valuable to the Nats offense either as a starter or as a swing man off of the bench until Rendon is ready.

  80. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    The outcomes are random, pure chance…..I respectfully disagree. The best teams win far more than the random number generator you support. Giants were the best team because they performed. They did not choke. They did did what they needed to do in July to add the missing pieces and they won. It is not always the best record….and that is because the game is so different in Oct then a lazy June day.Nats were built for lazy June Days…when then build for Oct they will win in Oct.

  81. JaneB - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Wait! What does "ALR is back" mean? Is there a deal? I don't understand.

  82. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Depending on how the young players develop Nats may not need to change too many pieces to be built for Oct.One thing is for sure….they need Pull Pen help. Proven closer and LH specialist are a must. They need to a manager who will bench players like Danny who are automatic outs with playoff pitching exploiting multiple known holes in their swings.

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 31, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    JaneB, a teaser ALR is back home.

  84. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    might be best in baseball….like that….also know that having the best record and winning playoff games are two very different things. I would prefer to win playoff games like Card and Giants have the past 3 years than win 100 games mostly against losing teams in April-August.Get me a proven closer and some clutch hitting bats to replace Danny and Morse.

  85. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    I would prefer to win playoff games like Card and Giants have the past 3 years than win 100 games mostly against losing teams in April-August.You've got to get there first. The Nats finally have after what? Decades. Morse is a pretty fair clutch hitter capable as he states of hitting .330 with 40 homers and 120 RBI. Just today Boz was comparing his career OPS with come hall of famers and Morse's is right up there so ? Stop bellyaching over nothing JayB. Back to the International signings where you make a valid point.

  86. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Wait! What does "ALR is back" mean? Is there a deal? I don't understand.Someone was being facetious. It might not happen until about April if it does.

  87. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Moore is going to put up better numbers than Morse this year. Morse will be hurt….again….and swing at 1–2 pitches in that bounce before the plate…..again…he is way way overrated. In the field…LF…he is terrible….Moore is better LF and that is saying something……bad.

  88. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Meanwhile Jayson Werth all of 33 years old has 48 days or so to lose the paunchy gut he's grown … doesn't look pretty on Nats Enquirer. Mall Santa? I guess that would work if he dyed his beard white.

  89. Gonat - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    peric said… Wait! What does "ALR is back" mean? Is there a deal? I don't understand.Someone was being facetious. It might not happen until about April if it does. December 31, 2012 3:21 PM ______________________________________I think ALR will be back but it will be with his head tucked between his knees. I honestly feel sorry for ALR. He put up career numbers and got 2 major awards and he isn't at the top of anyone's list. Maybe a 3 year deal will materialize, maybe it won't.

  90. JayB - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    yea I saw that but choose not to re-post….he is a health food nut and work out warrior…at least that is what Rizzo told us and why he was willing to go so long on the deal…..ALR…no way….Werth…sure thing.

  91. Gonat - Dec 31, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    peric said… Meanwhile Jayson Werth all of 33 years old has 48 days or so to lose the paunchy gut he's grown … doesn't look pretty on Nats Enquirer. Mall Santa? I guess that would work if he dyed his beard white. ___________________________________Jayson had a hand warmer tucked under his shirt. I guess different people want to see different things. When he was on the field it was on top of shirt and he must of tucked it under when he went up to his suitehttp://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-2426322-american-football-quarterback.php

  92. John C. - Dec 31, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    It's easy to skip the Eeyore comments; the problem is when people respond to Eeyore it tricks the eye for a moment.It's OK to look back on New Year's Eve – say a final farewell to the (overwhelmingly) good and the bad of 2012. After this, on to 2013! Less than two months until Spring Training, so let's all be safe tonight and into the New Year.

  93. Unknown - Dec 31, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Sorry, JB, you are just wrong. Chart outwho has won since MLB added the wild card — plot the seeds on a graph – pure chance, if it wasn't the same teams would win all the timelike the Twenties through late Sixties – not so anymore, myfellow Nats fan. You can hold any opinion you choose, but the facts say otherwise. I will stand on measurable fact over unmeasurable opinion every time.In any case, have a Happy New Year and may the Nats prove the optimists right and the pestimists wrong this coming season.

  94. Feel Wood - Dec 31, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    JayB said… Moore is going to put up better numbers than Morse this year. Morse will be hurt….again….and swing at 1–2 pitches in that bounce before the plate…..again…he is way way overrated. In the field…LF…he is terribleFar be it from me to tell JayB he's an idiot. Let's let Boswell do it."Morse has a .857 OPS in three years as a Nat. Just for reference, I just looked up the all-time career OPS leaders to see who had lifetime marks of .858, .857 or .856.Wade Boggs, Honus Wagner, Joe Cronin, George Brett and Al Kaline __all Hall of Famers.Can we give The Beast SOME RESPECT around here, people.But I know where you are coming from __everybody weants to see LaR, Morse and Moore ALL back. The problem is that MORSE knows how good he is. After what he's done for three years, you can't say, "Go sit on the bench. And smile." "

  95. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Stay safe, peoppe, we need you to quarrel over Morse, Moore, and ALR in 2013!!Thanks to Mark Z for his work on this site all year!

  96. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    OK, not peoppe. People!!!

  97. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    wow, Happy New year to all of you, but some of you had better take a cab, as you're slurring all over my monitor.

  98. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    I would like to share a personal experience with my closest friends about drinking and driving.As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from an occasional social session over the years.A couple of nights ago, I was out for an evening with friends and had a couple of cocktails and some rather nice red wine.Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before ~ I took a cab home. Sure enough, I passed a police road block but, since it was a cab, they waved it past.I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise, as I have never driven a cab before and am not sure where I got it or what to do with it now that it's in my garage.

  99. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Cute, Seamhead. Must have been the GPS. :-)Just a quiet night at home here. The furnace died, and we won't be able to get it fixed until Wednesday because of the holiday. But we do have a house. My car needs a new transmission. But I do have a car. I'll probably not stay awake until midnight, because that's how I roll these days. So I'll wish all of you an early Happy New Year and as NatsLady and Seamhead note, stay safe if you're going to be out and about. We need y'all around to argue and/or commiserate and/or celebrate with for 2013 and beyond. :-)

  100. original Nats Fan - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    a very Happy New Year to all NIers and especially Mark and his family for providing this sitestay safe. if 2013 is tomorrow, can spring be far behind?

  101. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    Jayson had a hand warmer tucked under his shirt. I guess different people want to see different things.I hope you're right Gonat. Before last season he purportedly was working out like a maniac. To maintain his viability for the length of that contract he must do that.

  102. peric - Dec 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    I remember one New Year's Eve when we were living in Bowie off of Mercer Drive (the road no longer exists) and Meadowbrook Lane. I was awoken by the sound of a car right outside my bedroom window! IN the morning we went out to look and a car had passed within a few inches of the house and left tire marks in the snow.

  103. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    Happy New Year and thanks to Mark (and Mrs. Z and Baby Z) for all the hard work in creating (and occasionally policing) this site. Love you all. World Series or bust. Happy New Year, Davey.

  104. SonnyG10 - Jan 1, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    Happy New Year everyone. Stay safe. I'll be bringing in the new year at home with my wife and daughter (and the dogs).

  105. baseballswami - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    And for those who requested it– a. Nats Classic from this season. The walk off wild pitch against the Mets in July.

  106. c715e5d6-9d22-11e1-a89a-000f20980440 - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    Happy New Year to all the NI'ers. It's 2013, and that means Spring Training starts NEXT MONTH! (ALR, are you listening?)ArVaFAN

  107. SonnyG10 - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    It's 2013. The twenty-first century is now a teenager. We're ready for the 2013 version of the Washington Nationals. GYFNG!!!!!

  108. NCNatsie - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    It's 2013. The year we didn't have our hearts broken in the final game of the season. Hurray.

  109. Oldguy - Jan 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    Happy New Year, all. At the party I just came from we all made predictions for the year 2013. Mine was WS in 2013. Looks possible!

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