Jayson Werth’s walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS was one of the greatest moments in Washington Nationals history. While we tried to capture his jump into home plate and commemorate it with a bobblehead for our 10th Anniversary season, we were not satisfied with the final product. Therefore, we will be re-issuing a new bobblehead. The first 25,000 fans to enter Nationals Park on Sunday, August 30th for the 1:35 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins will receive a voucher redeemable for the new bobblehead. Fans will be able to pick up their new bobblehead on an offseason date at Nationals Park. In addition, you will receive a special gift for the inconvenience. More information will be available on the vouchers and on this site.
This is the August when the Mets never lose, and on the off day when they do finally drop a game (e.g., last evening), the Nats lose a completely winnable game and don’t gain any ground. Screwing up a bobblehead is par for the course. Perhaps the “establishment Republicans” who have had to live through the summer of Trump can empathize. You think you have everything lined up in your favor, and then some brash New Yorker shows up and takes away all your glory.
This season for the Nationals feels very much like 2013. Great expectations mixed with bombast. A slow start, then some traction, only to see the wheels fall off. Even a strong run in September – which is still possible – probably won’t be enough to get them into the playoffs. The Mets would have to tank at about the same level as the 1964 Phillies for the Nats to sneak in…and I don’t think that’s about to happen.
There are so many things to dissect in this unimpressive year of Nationals baseball, and Thomas Boswell does as good a job as anyone. But here are three things that drive me crazy about this year (and two of three apply to 2013, for that matter):
- Can we just stop all the talk about greatness until the Nats actually win at least a playoff series? From Davey Johnson’s “World Series or Bust” marker that…well, fell well short of the mark…to Bryce Harper’s “Where’s My Ring?” quote after the signing of Max Scherzer this winter, this is a team that loves to talk about how good it is. (An 11-11 Max Scherzer, I might add, after last night’s loss to the lowly Marlins.) Until this team wins at least one playoff series (yes, I attended two gut-wrenching losses in the 2012 and 2014 NLDS), just stop it. And that goes for everyone from the General Manager on down.
- This is a team that needs a new training/medical staff, STAT. The Nationals, over the past four years, have been the team where hamstrings go to be torn. I’ve spoken with two personal trainers over this period, and for the life of us no one can understand why this team has so many nagging injuries. Maybe it is time to hire away one of those guys who focus on flexibility, mobility, and stability – like the Seattle Seahawks – who were a last second interception away from winning two straight Super Bowls. With Denard Span back (no pun intended) on the DL after two games, it appears that we’ll have all of two games this season when the eight position players in the projected starting line-up were all on the field at the same time.
- What’s with all the crazy decisions? With all the injuries and players in their walk years having absolutely horrible years (Desmond, Zimmermann, Span, et. al.), it could be easy to give manager Matt Williams a pass…but I’m not going to. I realize that Williams knows a great deal more about baseball than I do, so I’m concerned when something appears obvious to me (and 10 million others) but not to Matt. Like telling the hitter on your team who has hit into the most double plays to take a 3-0 pitch and perhaps work a walk to load the bases, so that the guy who hit a grand slam the night before (and has five in his career) can have another chance. Or not lining up your pitching staff during the All-Star break to have your top three pitchers ready for the team right behind you in the standings. Or not using your two best relievers in a critical series with those same New York Mets, and losing all three games. Or…or…oh, whatever.
The team is finally playing a little better ball, but the Mets are playing out of their heads right now and that brutal west coast road trip – following the debacle of the Mets series – probably put an end to all playoff hopes for 2015. Let’s hope we can be like the Giants – who seem to win the World Series only in even-numbered years. But don’t even begin to talk about what chances this team might have until they actually win something.
Until then, Andrew and I are off to pick up our vouchers tomorrow! Par for the course for this August.
More to come…