1st in War, 1st in Peace, Last in Everything Else
Sure, at first glance, the Nationals' next two months promise about as much gravity as your typical episode of "America's Got Talent." And, sure, the Nationals' starting lineup offers considerably less entertainment value, which is saying something. But take a closer look at the numbers, and you'll realize that the Nats now carry an obligation weightier than Livan Hernandez after a trip to Sizzler.
See, in our first-ever year of eligibility, the District is on the verge of a uniquely repellent title: The Most Loserly Major League City in America.
Take the four "major" sports leagues, ignoring the fact that the NHL is no closer to being a major than the Booz Allen Classic. Focus on the 12 metropolitan areas with at least one representative in each league. Rank those representatives on their most recent regular season finishes, averaging the scores for cities with more than one team in a particular league.
And what do we find? The District is in a neck-and-neck race with Atlanta for the title of 2006's Most Loserly Major League City, a title that will likely be decided by the Nats and the Braves over the next two months.
Washington is currently 6 1/2 loser points clear of Atlanta, but trouble lurks. Before last night's games, the Nats were just two games ahead of the deplorable Devil Rays, while the absurdly hot Braves had won six of eight games since the all-star break, drawing within range of a half-dozen teams.
Well, at least our pandas are cuter.
-- Dan Steinberg