Baseball Most Foul: The Nats Reinvent Bad

Franklyn German and his Detroit Tigers teammates endured a 119-loss season much more recently, in 2003. The Nats are on track to lose 110 games this season, but with a few breaks the home team could challenge those records.
Franklyn German and his Detroit Tigers teammates endured a 119-loss season much more recently, in 2003. The Nats are on track to lose 110 games this season, but with a few breaks the home team could challenge those records. (By Paul Sancya -- Associated Press)

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By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Can Washington learn to love a bunch of baseball losers?

And by "bunch of losers," we mean the Washington Nationals. They are just not very good so far this year. In polite terms: They stink.

In fact, if the Nats play their cards -- and the Cards -- wrong, they could turn out to be absolutely, conclusively, without-a-doubt drop-dead dreadful. Not just losers, but looooozzzzers. The possibility has not escaped sportswriters.

The 2007 Nationals:

" . . . have reeked this season," notes Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

" . . . have a chance to be one of baseball's all-time bad baseball teams," writes Bob Matthews of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

" . . . make the 1962 New York Mets look like a touring all-star team," according to Rick Maese of the Baltimore Sun.

When they are at their worst and hitting on no cylinders, the Nats, like the classic bad-as-dog's-breath teams, find new and creative ways to lose. In a recent game against the New York Mets, the Nats blew a ninth-inning, two-out lead and wound up losing by four runs in the 12th inning. In another game, they were down by one run in the bottom of the eighth inning. The bases were loaded and the Nats couldn't score.

They'll take their'n and lose to your'n and they'll take your'n and lose to their'n.

The Nats Fan is still trying to figure it all out. Season ticket holder Joe Baker, 46, of Falls Church, was in a red Nats cap and jersey at a home game on a recent wind-swept weeknight. Though he doubts this year's Nats will be the worst team ever, he says, "I see them losing 90 games. But that's okay. We're building for the future."

Indeed. If the Nats aren't careful, they could be working toward becoming even worse.

It's still early in the season. After last night's loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Nats had dropped six straight. At 9-23, they are on track to win about 50 games and lose 110 or so, which wouldn't make them the all-time rottenest team. But as the season slouches on, there could be more injuries. Losing can lead to bickering, finger-pointing, clubhouse tumult and more losing. Other teams will discover Washington's weaknesses. And some top players could be traded to successful, needy/greedy teams as the season skids toward the playoffs. It could get tobacco-plug ugly.


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