Let me start out by telling you guys that there is no actual statistical stuff in this post. Nor is there any real reason for you guys to read it. I'm writing it for myself, in a public forum, hoping that you guys will and may remind me of this when I feel down on the Nats.
Many of you who've seen me post before have read that I grew up a Cardinals fan. I grew up watching those guys, and they were my team, definitely, they were my favorite team by far. I spent my summers bouncing from walking distance from Piftzner Stadium while the Cannons were affiliated with the Cardinals and sitting in Busch Stadium with my uncle or step-grandfather, watching the "Prince William" flag fly high over left center. And it filled me with just pure joy to see that flag and names I recognized on the field. Lankford. Benes. Looper. Pujols...
I remember the day I was stumbling on the internet while a senior in high school. "Sign a petition for Major League Baseball to come to NOVA/DC." I signed it, fast. I snapped up an Expos hat, hoping that maybe my 20 dollars at lids would be seen by MLB to show that my area already supported the team. I had strange hopes that the team would move to Northern Virginia, and become the Dulles Expos (playing near the Dulles Expo Town Center). As I prepared for college, the news came. Washington was getting a baseball team. I snapped up a hat and jersey, hoping that they'd be the Senators, but the Nationals was fine. DC had a baseball team. Excitedly, I watched when I could for their first season, wearing my red hat when the team was at home, and blue when they were on the road. But there was one problem.
They were not my team.
I was still a Cardinals fan. My Cardinals hat was finding its way on to my head. Often. After the 2006 World Series, I was ecstatic. I loved going to Nationals games, but I loved putting on that 2006 World Series Champions shirt. Tony LaRoo was my hero. Pujols was his prophet, and Carpenter? Man. Those were my guys.
But times change. This last year, I had the awesome opportunity to work for City Year in Washington, DC. And man, what a year. I rode the metro every day in my red jacket and khakis, either from Pentagon when I slugged or from Springfield if I drove, to Minnesota Avenue. Or I drove to Northeast, to an inner city school across the street from the north parking lot of RFK. RFK, where I saw my first Major League Baseball game in my adult life with my father, on opening day weekend for the Nationals. And walking out of that school, every day, I turned to my right, and I waited for the X2 bus...while staring at the stadium. I found myself wearing Washington across my chest and Cordero or Guillen on the back (Shirts my mother had bought me the first year the Nationals were in town). When CY got free Nats tickets, I jumped to get them. Friends would come with me to Nats Park. We would go right after work some times, getting out at 6, running to the bus stop, running to the metro, running to the field to get the opening pitch.
Not being allowed to partake in certain activities in uniform(Namely, drinking), we'd stuff our jackets in our back andthrow red shirts on and have a beer while watching the team, yelling so loudly that we lost our voices, earning reprimands the next day. When Cubs fans chanted "Let's Go Cubbies" we replied "1908". We found out that yes, indeed, our city, had a baseball team. And yes, indeed, it has won a World Series more recently than the Cubs. And we let those Chicago fans know. And I went to Pfitzner Stadium to stand and watch Strasburg pitch 50 pitches...and found that standing room only was right in front of the bullpen. What a trip.
Well, this year, I watched the World Series. I watched every game. I called my grandmother (Who lives near Alton, Illinois) and we talked about every game. How great it was to see the Cardinals pull it off. How boneheaded Larussa was. How awesome David Freese was.
But we also talked about Steven Strasburg. And Jordan Zimmermann. And Ryan Zimmerman. And how those Nationals who I was watching in Potomac uniforms were showing up in DC playing in the Majors. And while on the phone with her after the Cardinals won, she said the words that really cemented what was going on for me.
"After the Nationals win a world series, I'll have to call you and we can be excited for them."
And I realized, that this Cardinal victory, while exciting for me, meant more for her and my uncle and cousin outside of St. Louis, and less for me, outside of DC. I realized that Washington is my city. My players are Espinosa, Clippard, and Wang. I saw Wang had resigned, and I threw my hat in the air. And I realized that my grandmother, who has watched baseball religiously when it involved players with two birds sitting on a bat on their chests, had been watching a few Nationals games against her Cardinals. And she, at her age, thinks she'll see them win a championship.
I grew up a Cardinals fan, and I was happy to see them win. But I'm a Nationals fan now. They're my team. And while I still love the Cardinals, especially the ones I saw play for the Cannons, I want the Nationals to win the World Series in 2012. And 2013. And 2014, etc.
And as for Pujols...he should stay in St. Louis. He's stupid if he leaves. But if he has to, I want him in Washington. My heart would just love seeing another Potomac player wind up back in Washington.