However, secondly and perhaps more interestingly (if not more importantly), the Nats gutted out a 13-inning win at home over the Phillies. Fairly meaningless on a practical level, but in a Washington Zeitgeist sort of way, it was big.
It's the little things.
Now, Washington sports fans are smart. They may not be what you would call rabid, but they support their teams and have a high level of knowledge. So the locals know that the Nats suck, and will continue to suck for the forseeable future. In a few years, if they have a couple seasons in the new stadium and all this ballyhooed young talent doesn't start panning out, then we have a problem. But that's an issue for another day. In the meantime, people just seem to want to watch a team that plays hard and cares about winning, even if they don't always acheive it. Basically, we want our losers to be lovable.
And then, when the team (hopefully) gets good in a few years, we can talk fondly about the lean times we all went through together in that old rustbucket of a park once known as RFK Stadium. We'll be like an old married couple recalling their newlywed days in the poorhouse, when you were livin on Ramen noodles and swingin for the fences. I don't want to get too sappy or whatever, but these formative years are when a team, just like a person, establishes their identity.
So with gutty displays like last night, along with community-building gestures such as the players wearing Virginia Tech hats on Tuesday, there are definitely a lot of good feelings surrounding this plucky bunch. Attendance is still down (not even 19,000 made it out last night), but these things take time. And I'll be damned if I'm not seeing more and more Nats caps around town. Hey, if nothing else, they definitely work as the anti-Redskins. If they can counteract some of the it-sucks-that-we-have-to-root-for-such-an-unlikeable-team feelings around here, they've done their job.
(Speaking of which, are the Phillies the Redskins of baseball or what? A bunch of big-talking, underacheiving, can't-produce-in-the-clutch collection of alpha dogs with no team chemistry to speak of. Kind of an interesting comparison.)
So anyway, here's hoping the Nats keep it up. With last night's win, they assured themselves of not being in last place for the entire course of a season (the cellar now belongs to the Phils). So another tiny moral victory. But this is how you build a fan base. Nicely done. Go Nats!
- Wizards Bounce Into the Playoffs [Washington Post]
- Nationals Go 13 Innings, Win on Lopez's Fly Ball [Washington Post]
- After Tragedy, Nats Show Their Support [Washington Post]
- Washington Nationals attendance [SportsNetwork.com]
Technorati tags: Wizards, Washington Wizards, Jarvis Hayes, Chicago Bulls, Washington, D.C.,Washington Nationals, Nationals
(Photo credit: By Joel Richardson For The Washington Post)