Last night while watching the Tigers lose a 4 run lead in the 9th to the Yankees I was reminded that baseball is a team sport and nothing is guaranteed. The Tigers went on to win in extra innings and unfortunately for Derek Jeter, his season is over (not a Yankees, fan but you never want to see anyone get hurt).
Nationals Fans can “what if?” until opening day 2013. I was asked when the Nationals clinched a Wild Card Spot what would make me happy. Would a winning season and a chance to get to the World Series be enough, or was it winning it all? It was hard to answer then, moving as far as they could would have been (and is) enough to make me happy. The loss in Game 5 of the NLDS did did not make me waiver, 2012 was an amazing season and I’m a fan…with Natitude. The Nationals exceeded all of my expectations!
Don’t get me wrong, I was stunned beyond belief and in shock for about 24 hours after Game 5. The emotional roller coaster starting with Sunday’s opening pitch to the disappointment of Saturday’s final out was something I’ve never felt before. Until now had never lost sleep over, been obsessed with or felt so connected to a team. I even dreamt that I lost my playoff tickets.
“Hey Ump, Your inconsistencies are making me angry!” was my favorite quote from Game 5. A Nationals Fan sitting in front of me shouted this in the 9th, where from Section 416 it looked like everything should have been a strike.
The Nationals had the best regular season record and are NL East CHAMPIONS!!! The Team’s inconsistencies did not make me angry, but throughout the season, I was concerned. They had stellar pitching and no bats then good pitching and smoking bats and then came September. September is where the “what if?” game really began. I choose not to play.
May 6th was one of those up/down days. Harper gets beaned by a pitch and then STEALS HOME. Werth breaks his wrist and is out until August. We lost that game 9-3. Was that a bad day? Yup. But what continued throughout the season was what helped make the Nationals the NL East Champs…the boys on the bench. The bench players stepped up, again and again. Play any base? OK, play in the outfield? No problem. Need a pinch hitter or runner? Got it.
I love the Good Squad, I love the Shark & Steve Lombardozzi, and I love the boys in the Bullpen, even when they give me agita. I’ve loved The Beast since he came from Seattle and wore #28. The unabashed joy on Gio’s face when he got a hit during the April 12th home opener and his goofiness throughout the season made him my favorite pitcher.
What I thought would be my favorite moment of the season happened on August 17th, sitting in Row F, behind home plate (thanks P!). I said “Zim’s going to hit a single & load the bases so that Morse can hit a homer.” AND HE DID!!! Grand Slam (and not one that had to be replayed w/ a fake swing)!!! Well, that was amended on October 11th when Jayson Werth made me burst into tears when he hit the lead off, walk off in Game 4.
Rizzo & Davey will tweak the roster a little in the off-season and the boys shake off Game 5. 167 Days until Opening Day. Good luck to Bo Porter in Texas.