The Washington Post

Nationals season in review: Best moment

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

This Nationals‘ season was a memorable and historic one, filled with seminal moments and transcendent performances. This week, we look back at many of them and ask you to rank them. Today, we look at the best moment of the season, and you can vote below. (“Moment” is loosely defined.)

What will you remember most about the 2012 season? – Post Sports Live

  • Davey Johnson vs. Joe Maddon, JUNE 19: The Tampa Bay Rays manager thought Johnson was out of line when he asked umpires to check the glove of former Nationals reliever Joel Perlata for pine tar. It led to three days of back and forth jabs between the two managers that included classic moments, such as when they compared “Tweeters,” called each other a “guru” and “weird wuss,” and touched off a debate about the unwritten rules of baseball. 
  • Two bench-clearing fights vs. Cubs, SEPT. 6: It began with a skirmish between Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter with the Nationals leading 7-2. It escalated an inning later in the sixth when Lendy Castillo threw inside to Bryce Harper. Both benches cleared again and shoving ensued. It was one of the rawest displays of emotion on the field this season. 
  • Bryce Harper’s debut, APR. 28: Out of need, the Nationals rushed their heralded rookie into the majors and started him in left field. He smashed a double in his third at-bat, in a game that many will remember as the beginning of his career and stellar rookie season. 
  • Bryce Harper steals home, MAY 6: In only his first week in the majors, the rookie was intentionally hit by Cole Hamels in the first inning and, when on third base, stole home, taking advantage of Hamels being preoccupied with Jayson Werth at first. It was Harper’s first major league stolen base and fans loved that it came against a heated division rival on national television.
  • Roger Bernadina’s catch, AUG. 7: Likely the best defensive play of the season, when the left fielder chased down a ball deep into left field in Houston, the game in the balance, and made a spectacular, game-winning, crashing catch. 
  • Michael Morse’s pantomime grand slam, SEPT. 29: After his ball smacked off a right field ledge that umpires originally confused for being in play, Morse was told to round the bases again after umpires consulted video replay. At Yadier Molina’s suggestion, Morse hilariously took a swing with nothing in hand and rounded the bases again. It was high comedy on the baseball diamond.
  • Ryan Zimmerman’s cortisone shot, JUNE 24: The cortisone shot for his ailing right shoulder jump-started his season and provided a needed offensive boost for the Nationals. The offense came to life in the second half of the season, and Zimmerman provided one of the hottest hitting stretches in the baseball.
  • Nationals’ first-ever division title, OCT. 1: Despite falling to the Phillies 2-0 that day, the Nationals clinched the NL East. Players celebrated with champagne, beer and sparking apple juice, spraying some on the fans who stayed nearly an hour after the game to enjoy.
  • Jayson Werth’s season-saving walk-off home run, OCT. 11: The Nationals’ season hinged on an NLDS Game 4 win and with the score tied at 1-1, Werth delivered the biggest hit in Nationals history. He worked Lance Lynn in an epic 13-pitch at-bat before sending fans at Nationals Park into uncontrollable glee. 
  • Gio Gonzalez’s 20th win, SEPT. 22: The fan favorite left-hander notched his momentous 20th win of the season in seven dominant innings – and a memorable flop on the mound. Teammates littered his locker with $20 bills afterward. 
  • Teddy wins, OCT. 3: After more than 500 losses, the lovable loser finally won a Presidents’ race – in the final game of the regular season. Teddy has won every race since.


Best pitching performance (Winner so far: Ross Detwiler’s NLDS Game 4 start)

Best comeback (Winner so far: Nationals 7-6 win over the Marlins in 10 innings on Sept. 8 thanks to a rain-delayed game-tying home run by Jayson Werth.)

Best defensive play (Winner so far: Roger Bernadina’s tumbling, crashing, game-winning catch.)

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010, wrote about high school sports across the region for two years and has covered the Nationals since the middle of the 2012 season.



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James Wagner · October 24, 2012