Putting aside Cole Hamels and Bryce Harper, this week’s resumption of the Philly-Nats series is still getting plenty of attention, for strictly baseball reasons.
For example, Sportsweek, the weekly Philadelphia sports magazine, put the two teams on the cover this week, with a provocative headline.
The story — by former WaPo staffer Zach Berman — doesn’t talk much about hatred, but it does have passages like this:
The Nationals are like the kid who was always picked on in high school, then returned from summer break just as big and strong as everybody else. The team features two of the best young players in the game — pitcher Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper — plus All-Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Gio Gonzalez along with former Phillies stalwarts Jayson Werth and Brad Lidge.
In many ways, the roster resembles the one used by the Phillies to emerge from mediocrity to relevance a decade ago. “I can only hope there are similarities,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says. “I think we all kind of have the same philosophy. We’re all baseball guys, and we’re trying to build an organization the right way. They’ve proven that they’ve done it the right way, and we’re trying to prove we can do it also.”
Not exactly red meat, I guess, but the Nats are definitely in the Philadelphia consciousness. If you prefer, there was also this passage near the end:
[Brian] Cognato looked around and is disappointed in the Nationals fans, because they still allowed Philadelphians to drink their beer and eat their food and cheer for Hunter Pence. “I want to get hated on,” Cognato says. “I want them to come at me, so I can come back at them. Nobody’s doing that. Nobody’s coming at me.”
Kind of nice to live in a town where visiting fans complain that no one is coming at them in hatred.