Congratulations, Washington. Not only do you have a playoff team, but you have your first playoff team in 79 years. Not only are you Nationals for real, but your Capitals are once again potent and your Wizards… well, okay, you have the Nationals!
Just don’t get ahead of yourself here. Everyone’s worried about your chances without your ace, Stephen Strasburg, but we know you better than that. We know your team wasn’t built on one pitcher any more than it was built on rock n’ roll. (And, we know it wasn’t. Right, President Kennedy?) We know you were the best team in baseball in 2012, just like your Montreal Expos were the best team in baseball 18 years ago. Only this time, Bud Selig is on your side.
“VIDEO: Here’s a Look at Bryce Harper – Three Years Ago – at 16 Years Old” – White Cover Magazine (July 11, 2012)
You wouldn’t be the first team to lose to these guys when you thought you had it all sewn up. Remember the Philadelphia Phillies? They were already fitting Roy Halladay for a ring when the Cardinals took that NLDS in five. What about the Detroit Tigers, ala 2008? They were the toast of everyone’s town… until they met Pujols and La Russa.
Of course, now, you’re probably thinking these guys don’t have enough to ball. Pujols is in Anaheim, La Russa is in a retirement home, and Lance Berkman – perhaps the real World Series MVP who never got the credit – is forced to make inspiring clubhouse speeches.
Of course, it did sound like this (via St. Louis Sports Minute/Yard Barker):
“These games are about attitude, about the way you carry yourself… I thought it was just important for us to remember that we are the defending World Series champions. We’re the team to beat. All these other teams, they’re trying to knock us off. But, we’re the champs. So, take that mentality on the field with us.”
You hear that, Washington? All those other teams. That group on unnamed franchises that didn’t even deserve his full attention?
You’re one of them. So was Philadelphia. And, Texas. And, Milwaukee.
Win Game 4, or suffer being in their wake forever.