The Nats are champions of the NL East and suddenly I’ve got my swagger back.
When my team wins, I win. I spend less time mewling and sniveling and complaining about the blogging software. With the Nats taking the NL East, I’m pumped, and am almost as fired up as when the Gators were winning those national titles and the Achenbro would call me up and say things like, “This justifies our entire existence.” Followed by a protracted nostalgia session in which we’d talk about growing up on a dirt road, grubby and poor, afflicted by mosquitoes and stinging nettles and various exotic forms of hookworm, and how we’d dig a big hole in the yard and fill it with water from the hose so we could pretend we owned a pool. But now I feel this paragraph getting away from me.
If you’re not in the Washington area, you probably don’t care about the Nats. Even if you are local, you might not care. I don’t sense that this is a baseball town yet. Baseball will likely remain, at best, the third biggest sport in town (after the Redskins and Filling Out Expense Reports). But I’ve seen people become baseball fans almost overnight this season as the Nats have put together a splendid year.
True, we could be moaning in a little more than a week if the Nats are swept in the divisional round (it’s a best-of-5 format with the first two games away – even though we have “home field advantage,” supposedly -- due to some flukish formula this year that I can’t quite grasp).
And lets be realistic in our expectations. This isn’t a team that overpowers opponents, usually. And although it’s not fair to say the team backed into the playoffs Monday when it lost to Philadelphia (while Atlanta also lost), the game last night wasn’t pretty. Our guys Nats watched a lot of called third strikes, or swung for the fences and hit only atmosphere. They clobbered the heck out of the nitrogen and oxygen, let’s put it that way. Two of their starting pitchers, Jackson and Detweiler, have struggled recently, and Strasburg is straitjacketed, so the once-dominant starting rotation looks a bit wobbly.
Finishing with the best record in the league is still an aspiration, so let’s hope they put away the champagne and try to win their last two regular-season games.
And then I’ll really feel good about myself.
Bravo for David Finkel. Great journalist, great guy. He’s now officially a genius. But those of us who know him and admire him knew that already. Finkel has written so many masterpieces over the years it’s ridiculous. My journalism students will recognize the name, because he’s what I teach. What he does is how it should be done. It’s a great validation of long-form narrative journalism.