WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 03: Adam LaRoche #25 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Michael Morse #38 after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on September 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The second Senators had just one season playing over .500 ball in the 11 seasons they played in Washington, D.C. after the original Senators left the nation's capital following the 1960 season. The second Senators, who eventually left too to become the Texas Rangers, finished 86-76 that year which was their first under new manager Ted Williams. Before that you have to go back to 1952 to find a team based in D.C. that finished over .500. Before that? 1945 when the Ossie Blugie-managed Senators finished 87-67 in second place in the American League. It's been a while to say the least, and as everyone's heard repeatedly this season as the Washington Nationals continue on the course to a postseason appearance, they're trying to bring playoff baseball back to D.C. for the first time since 1933. That's the ultimate goal of everyone in the organization. The 82nd win on Monday, which guaranteed a winning season? Not that important to the team it would seem.
Asked if it was nice to ensure a winning season for the first time since since 1969 and the first time since baseball returned to the nation's capital in 2005 with Monday's win over the Cubs, Davey Johnson told a reporter, "I guess. I wasn't really concerned about that..." before proceeding to talk about the day's game instead and the "mysterious" thumb injury that led to Michael Morse leaving the game with Chicago. According to reports from the clubhouse after the win, like CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman's, "Most Nationals didn't even realize their 2-1 Labor Day triumph over the Cubs had secured the first winning season by a D.C. ballclub since Ted Williams' 1969 Senators..."
Finishing over .500 might mean a lot to fans who've suffered through 100-loss seasons, but it's just another win on the way to the ultimate goal for the players on the field as several explained in Mr. Zuckerman's article and as Drew Storen told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier this afternoon.
"We definitely have expectations beyond this," Storen said, "It's kind of a nice thing, but if this was last year that would be a nice thing. But this is a whole new year and our sights are set higher than that. We're obviously looking past that. It's a nice thing to have, but really in the end that's not going to do us a whole lot of good..."
The goal, Storen said, "It's just a ring. That's really what it comes down to. You don't really worry about, "Let's get to this many wins [in] the regular season,' it's just kind of following that process. 'Let's clinch the playoffs. Let's go each step,' but we don't really care too much about how many wins it's going to take, it's all about the ring in the end."
"Winning the pennant. Winning the division. Winning the National League," as Davey Johnson's said from the start. Enjoy win no. 82, go out and get no. 83 tonight. Here's the lineup that will try to do that vs the Cubs' left-hander Chris Rusin:
#Nationals lineup vs. CHI - Werth CF, Desmond SS, Zimmerman 3B, Morse RF, LaRoche 1B, Espinosa 2B, Moore LF, Flores C, Jackson RHP— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 4, 2012