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Washington Nationals' '08 Season In Review...TOP 3 Moments of 2008

I had to take a few days to decompress, for lack of a better word, to relax finally, sleep a little and try to distance myself from the Washington Nationals' '08 campaign, which I tracked closely and I dare say suffered through, though I'm reluctant to use the word "suffer" because I can't say I didn't enjoy watching or at least following every one of the Nationals' 161 games this season, but 102 of those game were losses...

I know losing. Somehow as a child I settled on the New Orleans Saints, Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Penguins as the teams I'd support in the only three sports I've ever really bothered to watch, and in my thirty-three years spinning round, I've seen only the Penguins enjoy real success with their Lemieux-led 1991-92 Stanley Cup Championships. The Expos and Saints have all of seven playoff appearances between them, and the Expos are responsible for only one of the seven, and that one came in the strike-shortened 1981 season, with Montreal losing in 5 games in the NLCS to Fernando Velenzuela and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were on their way to a World Series win over the Yankees...and anyway I was 6 at the time...and let's just agree not to ever mention the 1994 MLB season again, shall we?

The Expos/Nationals had lost over 90 games in six of the last ten years, with Washington contributing a 91-loss campaign as recently as 2006...but 102 losses? 102? On July 16, 2008, I took a close look at the possibility of DC dropping 100 games, and concluded that it would most likely happen, but even then, looking at the numbers, I figured...well, alright, I knew the Nationals would lose 100, but took solace in the fact that I'd get to watch the development of young stars Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, John Lannan, Ryan Zimmerman and Jesus Flores, as well as any prospects who surfaced throughout the rest of the season, (Mike Hinckley, y'all!), but it was still a lot of losing...uh...

Come to think of it...I'm still not ready to delve back into this season...I need more time, and distance...For now, here's the TOP 3 Moments of the Nationals' 2008 Season according to Federalbaseball.com...(after the jump)

TOP 3 Moments of 2008...

Zimmerman's Walk-off...

Here's how I saw it live from Nationals Park on Opening Night in DC...

 

March 30, 2008 - Braves at Nationals...Guzman and Milledge go down...whispers start in the crowd "Ryan Zimmerm...Zimmer's up, it's Ryan Zimmer...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Ryan "Walk Off" Zimmerman sends the fans home happy with a walk-off home run off Braves' reliever Peter Moylan, that everyone in the park, including my Brother Scout, Braves' fan and Source For All Things Baseball, knew was gone. (ed. note - "Scout did actually call the HR.) THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Nationals win...Nationals WIN!!!! 3-2 final.

The Nationals end Opening Night in 1st Place in the NL East. Ryan Zimmerman is clutch!!! Home many walk-offs is that now? Unbelievable, and the half of the crowd that stayed until the end was going crazy. Zimmerman starts the season off right, and ends the night with a dramatic home run that would seem cliched if it were written...but it was painfully real for Braves' fans. 

 

Belliard's Walk-off HR...

Sunday June 29, 2008...Orioles at Nationals...2-1 Orioles after Adam Jones singles in a run in the top of the 12th...Lefty O's closer George Sherrill’s on in the bottom of the frame to close out the Orioles' win. Pinch Hittin' Pete Orr goes down chasing. Paul Lo Duca(B) grounds out. DY takes a two-out walk. Ronnie Belliard...GOES DEEEEEEP TO LEFT...AND GONE!!!! WALK-OFF HOMER FOR BELLIARD!!! WALK-OFF!! WALK-OFF!! Like I told you, THE O’s Don’t Win on Sundays!!!

Elijah Dukes' Walk-Off Walk...

August 30, 2008...Bottom of the tenth...Elijah Dukes vs Vladimir Nunez...Braves at Nationals...8-8 tie...Bases Loaded...2 Outs...Full Count...Dukes Takes Ball Four!! Dukes' Discerning Eye walks in a run after the two previous batters, Lasting Milledge and Ronnie Belliard failed to cash in on a bases loaded, no-out opportunity. Dukes' base on balls gives DC a 9-8 victory over Atlanta for the fifth-straight win at home with one more against the Braves tomorrow...

A walk-off walk as one of the top moments? What can I say, I like walks...So does Elijah Dukes, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Walk-off walk wins it for Washington", in which Dukes is quoted stating:

"'I'm always proud of walks. I love walks. That's my motto -- a walk is as good as a hit,' Dukes said. 'I got two walks today. It shows that you don't always have to get a hit. You can walk sometimes to beat a team, too.

'Anything close, I was going to try and make a good swing on it -- at least foul it off and get another pitch. That's what I was doing. ... I figured he was going to attack me with [breaking balls]. They know I can hit a fastball, so they try to throw the breaking ball. I'll take the walk.'"

(B) = BLAME GAME