Sunday was a good day, in part because the 2014 Nationals preview section was in the paper. To celebrate Opening Day, here’s a look back at every one of the Post’s Nationals/MLB preview sections since baseball returned to Washington in 2005.
Matt Williams is set up to enjoy more success than the only other manager to grace the cover of a Nationals preview section, Manny Acta.
Chances are good this page is hanging in more than a few cubicles/bedrooms.
A frame-worthy photo from the start of the Nationals’ NL East title-winning season.
I couldn’t find the 2011 special section in our PDF archive, but I had a copy of the print edition in my personal collection.
Leather was in, but the Nationals, who tied for last in the majors with 127 errors, were out of contention by July.
In case you didn’t already appreciate the Nationals’ stellar rotation this season, take a look at this group. Daniel Cabrera was the worst of the bunch, going 0-5 with a 5.85 ERA in eight starts. In 40 innings pitched, the Orioles castoff had 35 walks against only 16 strikeouts.
Quite a few adjustments were needed. Hey, Lastings!
Nationals Park was a beautiful place to watch 46 of Washington’s 102 losses.
The Nationals’ top prospects in 2007: Collin Balester, Chris Marrero, Colton Willems, Kory Casto and 17-year-old Esmailyn “Smiley” Gonzalez. The first four didn’t pan out and the fifth was actually a 21-year-old prospect named Carlos Lugo. (He didn’t pan out either.)
Alfonso Soriano earned his $10 million salary with a 40-40 season, but the Nats might’ve been better off if 37-year-old Pedro Astacio (5.98 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) just pocketed his $750,000 and never threw a pitch.
Major props if you can name the Oriole next to the Nationals’ original face of the franchise Brad Wilkerson. (Scroll down for the answer.)
High-five if you guessed Larry Bigbie. One year after Wilkerson hit 32 homers, he and Bigbie combined for 16 home runs and 78 RBI in 2005. The Orioles dealt Bigbie to Colorado in July and the Nationals sent Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and minor league pitcher Armando Galarraga to the Rangers in the offseason for Soriano.