With the Capitals in the playoffs, Washington sports fans have something to cheer about this spring. That…and the Redskins moving up to the number two pick in this month’s NFL draft.
But let’s be honest, the underachieving Caps and Redskins have done enough disappointing over the last decade. With a two-time MVP, the Caps locked up the number one seed in the Eastern Conference in 2010 and 2011, yet failed to make the Stanley Cup Finals both times. Let’s not get too excited about a seven seed this year.
Then there's the Redskins…where do we begin? Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs, Jim Zorn, Mike Shanahan and a combined record of 65-95 over the past 10 years…sheesh. I’m not even going to mention a certain local basketball team that has nearly as many Ws in their name as they’ve accumulated all season. It’s time for Washingtonian’s to refocus their fanaticism. Out with the old and in with the (relatively) new.
I’m declaring 2012: The Year of The Nats.
When the Montreal Expos moved to DC and became the Washington Nationals in 2005 there was some fanfare and jubilation, but the lack of on-field success since the move has stunted the Nationals growth in the hearts of Washington sports fans.
That’s all about to change though. With an improved roster, the 2012 Nats aren’t just the most promising squad the organization has put together in recent memory, but they are one of the most talked about teams in all of Major League Baseball this year.
With the season underway, Stephen Strasburg is looking sharp on the mound, and he is just one of many aces in a rotation that got a major face-lift this offseason. Gio Gonzalez, formerly of the A’s, and journeyman Edwin Jackson have both joined Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann to form a lethal rotation.
The nucleus of young position players has gotten off to a great start as well. Ian Desmond, the leadoff man, is batting over .400 through the first week of play. Things will only be getting better from here. Slugger Michael Morse hasn’t even played yet due to an aggravated lat muscle. He and 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper should both be ready to join the team by late spring.
If good baseball isn’t enough to make the Nats DC’s favorite team this year, let’s talk about atmosphere.
Nationals Park opened in 2008, and has steadily become one of the best parks in all of baseball. While it doesn’t have the history or mystique of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field (yet), it’s fan friendly and sure to be a hot ticket this summer. The stadium is fully equipped with good eats and drinks…Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack and The Red Porch (an outfield bar) just to name a few. How can you go to a game and not enjoy yourself?
Let’s face it Washington sports fans.
The ‘Skins don’t have a game for five months, and the Wizards are about to go on hiatus. You’ve got the Caps for another week or so, but when that’s over, let’s show the boys of summer some love.
I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’ll see you at the park. Go Nats!
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