May 18, 2007

The Birds are Back in Town

Look, I know what you're thinking. The team (despite recent improved play) is lousy. The weather is iffy at best. The stadium is still a dump, and the opposition is almost as pathetic as the home team. So why should you spend your hard-earned entertainment dollars watching two 5th place teams beat up on each other in a 3-game interleague regional (non-rivalry) series?

But here's a better question: Why watch at all? Did you watch Jay Bergmann's almost no-hitter against John Smoltz and the Braves? Why? You couldn't reasonably have expected the rag-tag Nats to best Atlanta's veteran ace. But they did, and topped that by taking two of the next three from the formerly frontrunning Braves. Did you stay up till the wee hours to see Zimmerman's walk-off granny against the Marlins? Okay, probably not. But if you had, you'd be telling everyone about it, and the resulting series sweep of foundering Fish.

Fans, like players, can get tight. They root too hard, want it too much, live and die with every GIDP and blown save. But fans of bad teams have the luxury of rooting loose. We can go to the ballpark and just watch the game unfold before us in all its majesty and farce. It's not that we expect to lose, exactly, it's just that we've made peace with the possibility. The wins really are more sweet, because they aren't taken for granted. Why not celebrate when we throw a roadblock in front of the division-leading Braves? These are our playoffs. Which brings us to the Orioles.

I said everything I had to say on the subject at this time last year. Others have expanded on the theme. Angelos and the Orioles stuck it to DC baseball fans but good. And more than that, Peter Angelos ruined what had been one of the flagship franchises in all of baseball. I don't know if he did it intentionally, or just couldn't help himself, but he did it just the same. So you don't even have to dislike the Orioles to root against them this weekend. You just have to like the Orioles of Powell, Palmer, Dempsey, Ripken and the Robinson boys more than the Orioles of Angelos, Thrift, Duquette and Flanagan. Really, how hard is that?

And on top of everything else, They Killed Barbaro! So...

Once more unto the breach, Nats fans, once more;
Or close up the wall with our injured pitchers!
And baseball fans in Washington that stayed away;
Shall think themselves accursed they were not at RFK.
And hold their fandom cheap while any speaks;
That cheered with us the Battle of the Beltways.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is probably a fool's errand, but I saw a website...
... mentioned at a few other Nats blogs. I read it, and it seems like a proposal that's worth supporting.

And in case you're wondering: No, this isn't guerrila marketing by the Nats or anyone else who could make a buck off this. I'm just a fan who stumbled on what looks like a good idea.

Thanks for whatever you can do to talk this up!