“The ‘W’ hats could be seen in Kenmore Square and up and down Boylston Street, a mile away,” Peter Gammons wrote in his latest MLB.com column this week. “Before each of the three weekend games, the Yawkey Way and food-court mingling featured red jerseys with the names Zimmerman and Strasburg and Gonzalez....
“What was so striking this weekend was not that the first-place Nationals swept the last-place Red Sox, not with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann pitching. What was striking was the way Nationals Nation traveled to Fenway.”
Well, ok, maybe both parts were striking. The three-game sweep in Fenway led to three more wins in Toronto that put the Nats 4.5 games up in the NL East, on pace for more than 100 wins, and atop CBS Sports’s power rankings, with the best 61-game start in franchise history.
But still, this Nats fans traveling thing is one of the more Natitudinal developments of the 2012 season. Gammons was on Mike Wise’s 106.7 The Fan radio show on Tuesday, and he elaborated.
“You may be more used to it, but seeing people with the red shirts, Zimmerman shirts, and all the red hats with the Ws; I have to say, I don’t believe that’s ever happened before,” Gammons said. “And to me, it’s great for the game. It really is....
“Sure, there’s a ton of Yankees stuff when the Yankees come to town. Phillies, normally they bring a lot. Otherwise, you don’t see a lot. You see some, but you don’t see a ton of visiting fans. You know what it’s like in Washington and Baltimore in years past, when the Red Sox and the Yankees come. (Baltimore, I know everybody complains that 80 percent of the fans are from either New York or Boston, but that’s Peter Angelos’s doing.)
“But it was just amazing. They weren’t the majority, but there were a lot, and they were wearing the hats and the shirts and the t-shirts. It’s something that, other than the Yankees, you just don’t see. It really told me a lot. It told me a lot about the potential of baseball in Washington. ”
There was more.
“It also told me, let’s face it, sports is entertainment, and entertainment is stars, and the Nationals have two stars,” Gammons continued. “The Red Sox players couldn’t stop talking about Strasburg and Harper. In fact, David Ortiz said he thought that Strasburg might be the best pitcher he’s ever faced. He said it the next afternoon when we were just sitting around. He was in awe of just his ability to throw change-ups, curveballs....He said Verlander’s really good, but he can’t do that. And also the respect opposing players have for Harper because of how hard he plays.”
There was more.
“Those guys, people are still talking about them up here, and how much fun the Nationals are,” Gammons later said. “I mean, they know who Ryan Zimmerman is, they appreciate that he’s a legitimate star and all the rest, but people love those young stars.”
Finally Wise asked about the playoffs. Gammons said if they make the postseason, look out.
“They’re legitimate contenders,” he said. “And I’m old. And that’s never been said in my lifetime.”
#Natitude, or something.
Bryce Harper’s home run
“That’s a clown question, Bro.”
Harper scoring the game-winning run in Boston
Young MC in a Bryce Harper jersey
Nats fan’s “built fake tough” sign