Any baseball or movie lover knows this line fondly from 'Field of Dreams,' but this line works brilliantly with what the Washington Nationals are trying to accomplish for baseball back in the district. This write-up stems from a post that Ken Meringolo from Hogs Haven wrote about the Nationals' success and how it affects the Redskins. There is an understanding in Washington that it is Redskin country and something I somewhat stand behind. But there is something the Redskins don't have that the Nationals and even the Capitals have been doing for several years: building for the future. Granted, there is something the Redskins have that all major sports in DC don't have: The follow-them-blindly fanbase. While that may lead one to think that I'm not a Redskins fan, on the contrary. My problem is that in DC, it seems to be Redskins or bust. Anymore, it is assumed the Nationals will falter, the Wizards will fail, and the Capitals will collapse in the postseason. But these aren't the same Nationals.
While progress has been made successfully by Mike Rizzo and his staff to build a youthful and future powerhouse, where are the fans? Even when the Redskins are chockful of fail, people are still filing into FedEx Field to watch. And in this early campaign of 2012, Nationals fans have been blessed with winning baseball. Will I say great baseball? Depends on what your selling. Pitching and defense, I'd say we're pretty damn good. Offense? Wake me in the 8th...Regardless, this team is giving the fans who continue to follow this team something to be proud of, something that continues from Davey Johnson's leadership of last year: Never give up. It's a Jimmy V speech every night and those pesky Nats continue to force us to hold our collective breaths and wait for the late inning surge. And with a young core led by Gold Glover and All-Star Ryan Zimmerman and Ace Stephen Strasburg, there are impressively talented building blocks to work from. Years ago, it was simply Zim and the dregs of whatever the MLB gave us or who was willing to come here. That's some shaky ground for Mr. Face to hold up. Now you have him with Stras, Bryce, and several other young talents that give us plenty to root for. But where are the butts to fill the seats?
As my title informs, you have to build it. Is this an article for the Federal Baseball faithful? Nope. We know what we have. This is for those that need to open their eyes to what this team is capable of. After 13 games, this team was the first to 10 wins. Pretty good start. But like all DC fans, there's that worry of when it will go bad. The DC sports faithful are waiting in the weeds to make sure this team is for real. Not everyone is so easy to jump on the bandwagon when a team comes home. There are many examples. Down here in Texas, baseball is an afterthought to football and both clubs were lucky to fill seats until consistency set in. Washington fans are waiting for just that. The beautiful thing about baseball compared to every other sport is it is completely about streaks and slumps. This team will eventually peak. But the joys of 162 games is if they peak early and fall, they have time to make up ground. I will not be upset if fans aren't breaking down the gates to see the Nationals play the lowly Astros during the Capitals playoff run, but this weekend opens a series against the Marlins. A divisional foe that has given us fits but also has a lot of undue preseason hype. A series that could tell us a lot about our first half success or open our eyes to what our future may look like. Rizzo has built it, now we have to wait and see who comes.