They held an unspoken code for the nights after bad games. Their pitching styles were too different for one to give the other any insight, and so any discussion would only add emotional weight. This game was different. In their apartment, Clippard told him, “Dude, if you ever want to talk about it, just let me know. Because I’m going to tell you you didn’t do anything wrong.”
They knew they would not sleep, so they stayed up and talked.
The next day, Storen walked to Matchbox on Barracks Row. The bartender refused to let him pay for his pepperoni pizza and thanked him for what he had done for the Nationals.
A couple of days later, Storen returned to Nationals Park to clean out his locker. He found an envelope perched in the cubby. A 73-year-old woman had written him a thank-you card immediately after the game. She told him about the Senators games her father had taken her to, and said she could die happy because she had seen the Nationals make the playoffs. Storen wrote a thank-you note back.
Staying in Washington would only bring reminders from the season, or compel him to work out when he should be unwinding. He went to New York to meet up with Brodie Van Wagenen, his agent from CAA Sports. They ate dinners and saw “Rock of Ages.” Within 24 hours of Game 5, Van Wagenen saw the same Storen he had seen when Storen was at Stanford, engaging and full of energy.
“His ability to talk about and articulate the game was unique in that . . . the way he spoke about the game was like any other game,” Van Wagenen said. “I thought that was a telling sign he didn’t evaluate that performance any differently than he would have any other game.”
One night after his New York trip, Storen was eating dinner with Clippard. “You want to go on vacation somewhere?” Storen asked his roommate. “Go take a trip?”
“Why not?” Clippard said.
They ticked off American cities. One of them mentioned London. They agreed. The next morning, Storen asked him, “Do you really want to go?” Clippard did not hesitate.
“It was definitely something that we felt like we needed to do to get away from just the monotony of what was going on,” Clippard said. “If we go home, all our friends and family are going to be talking about is the game and all the stuff like that. You don’t really want to deal with that stuff right away.”
As the postseason churned on in America, Storen and Clippard spent 10 days in London. They scored tickets to Manchester United-Chelsea, the craziest sports environment either of them had seen. They visited pubs in East London. They shopped. They never got bored. On the flight home, Storen told Clippard, “That was a really good move.”