Not every winning team is fun, and not every fun team is a winner.
It’s still just the first week of July, but the Nats are currently both. They make funny t-shirts, concoct unusual rituals, wear more funny t-shirts, grant ridiculous nicknames, launch nationwide memes, and otherwise act like a bunch of 20- and 30-something guys who get paid a lot of money to play ball, and are pretty good at it.
Thursday night, despite a struggling starter and a seemingly anemic offense, they rallied against San Francisco for yet another win, pushing their record to 16 games over .500 for the first time since July of 2005. They swept the previously first-place Giants, while throwing their 3-4-5 starters against San Fran’s 1-2-3. They are guaranteed to enter the All-Star break with at least a 1.5-game lead, and now have the best record in baseball against teams with winning records.
That was a lot of throat-clearing to get to this: after Adam LaRoche’s weird game-winning ground-ball moment, three of his teammates posed as deer, using their wee little fingers as antlers. And then LaRoche — an avid hunter, who has made hunting DVDs — pretended to shoot them down.
It’s kind of hard to tell from these images, but Reader Clinton says the pretend deer were Gio Gonzalez, Ian Desmond and Rick Ankiel, from left to right.
MASN’s Dan Kolko reported that the gimmick was thought up by Gonzalez (obviously).
And the Examiner’s Brian McNally provided this quote from LaRoche: “I was drawing back with my bow, shot one of them and then I got mobbed. They kind of robbed me.”
Maybe he’ll get another chance at some point.
(And many, many thanks to @ballstonnat.)