SPORTS TALK by Pat Malone


The long hot dog days of August are here and many of us who follow baseball look at a landscape that once held great promise for the Washington Nationals now see it all seemingly go adrift.

Sports Talk Photo‘Adrift,’ I say? Yes, adrift, as many local and national publications touted the Washington Nationals as ‘the team to beat’, this year, almost a ‘mortal-lock’ (Think of the bar scene in the movie ‘Let It Ride’) to win the World Series, but, alas, as things often come about in sports prognostication, predictions of a post-season parade down Pennsylvania Avenue look somewhat bleak, at least for this season.

The Nationals, to their defense, have had many players battle very substantial injuries, which has caused their manager, Matt Williams, to use a ‘Band Aid’ approach to try to shore up needs of the team to attempt to remain both competitive on the field and in the race to win the National League East division.

The considerable list of the Nationals’ ‘walking wounded’ has been extensive, starting with Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, Casey Janssen, Erik Davis, Nate McLouth, Craig Stammen, Yunel Escobar, Felipe Rivero, Max Scherzer, Reed Johnson, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Sammy Solis, Ryan Zimmerman, Aaron Barrett, Bryce Harper, and David Carpenter. Many of those players have been on the disabled list so many times, as a matter of fact, that one might think that the chances for the Nationals to win their division is totally hopeless, which is not the case.

Fortunately, the Nationals have had a strong cast of players who have been called up, such as Michael Taylor, Clint Richardson, Trea Turner, Joe Ross, and Wilmer Difo, to name a few, all who have made their mark with strong contributions to fill in voids, while some have become true ‘fan favorites’. Some players, while their time up to ‘The Bigs’ may have been short, it also gave fans an excellent opportunity to see some of the potential that the Nationals has for its future.

Fans sometimes grouse and complain about the Nationals, especially when they drop a game or two, thinking that they are ‘losers’, who are not giving their all to win games, but it would be wrong to make that assumption. Everyone, players, coaching staff, and the entire front office of the Nationals organization is now on the same page to try to have the team win a World Series trophy, very soon, as team owner, Ted Lerner, will be 90, this October, and they want to bring home a championship under his watch.

Hope springs eternal, though, as there is still some time left for the Nats to get their ship righted and to have the team back on track to get ready for the 2015 National League Playoffs. Many players who have been on the disabled list for much of the season are now coming back from their injuries eager to jump back in the breach to win games and make Nats fans proud.

The Nationals, with a growing fan base, are a great distraction from reality from the rough and tumble world that many of us try to escape from on a daily basis. Each and every player wearing a ‘Curly W’ for the Nationals wants to hit a game winning home run, make a diving catch to win a game, or pitch the lights out (figuratively) to have their fans stand up, shout, and cheer with the joy, thrill and passion that comes with the spirit of the game.

Washington Nationals baseball. Be a fan. Embrace it. Treasure it. Make it yours.

See you at the ball park!


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