What is the single most important development for the Nats this season?
Federal Baseball: "The Game 5 loss and what they all learned from it. There's no better experience or motivator than getting close and falling short. Davey Johnson's said all winter that the experience his players gained in their first real run is priceless. Now you have a team full of people coming back who have been there and seen what it's like to play in front of 40,000+ screaming fans and the entire baseball world. When (if) they get back they'll have already been there and know what to expect. That experience can only help, and Davey Johnson's proven to be a pretty good judge of talent. He thought last year's team could compete and they did and he thinks this year's team is a legit contender. I don't doubt the man or his ability to back up his own bold predictions. As he said recently, he's not into B.S. or romance. He tells it like it is and he's been right most of the time so far in D.C."
That was my answer to the final question in the recent roundtable discussion the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols organized with local writers covering the Nationals, inviting us all to discuss issues facing the defending NL East Champs heading into the 2013 campaign. On the final night of the 2012 season, after Game 5 of the NLDS, closer Drew Storen stood before reporters from around the baseball world and fielded questions after he'd come within one strike of saving Game 5 with St. Louis before letting it slip away. "Eventually I'm sure it will be a learning process," Storen said, but eventually, not that night or any time soon. "Gotta let that wound heal I guess, first."
The Nationals have said repeatedly this Spring that they've turned the page on the 2012 campaign. Did they learn from the loss? Did they earn valuable experience? Can they defend their NL East crown? We're one game and three days away from the start of the 2013 season. Almost time to find out...
Here are the other people who participated in the virtual roundtable:
- Dave Nichols - Editor-in-Chief, District Sports Page
- Alyssa Wolice - Staff Writer, District Sports Page
- Ted Starkey - Contributor to DSP, author and Editor at SBNation.com
- Ryan Kelley - DSP Prospects Writer and founder of BaseballNewshound.com
- Tom Bridge - Editor, We Love D.C.
- Joe Drugan - Managing Editor, The Nats Blog
If you're on the Twitter and aren't already following the folks listed above, you should be. Dave Nichols' Nationals coverage can be found at @NationalsDSP. The DSP's Alyssa Wolice is at @AWolice. The DSP and SB Nation's Ted Starkey can be located at @TedStarkey. Ryan Kelley can be found at @BBNewsHound. Tom Bridge and We Love DC's sports coverage can be found @WeLoveDCSports. And Joe Drugan posts on Twitter at @TheNatsBlogJoe.
• Check out all of their answers to the final question of the roundtable through the link below: