Well, That Was Fun
The Washington Nationals’ Championship Win Is Here But Like Most Things In Life, It Didn’t Come Easily
By Pedro J. Lopez
What a time to be for the Nats. For the first time in 95 years, our nation’s capital is the home of the World Series Champions. In a run for the ages, the Nats overcame as many obstacles as a team can possibly go through to attain as any team in sports history. In a season where they started with a 19-31, and people calling for manager Dave Martinez’ job, they finished with the best record the rest of the way.
So many things had to go right for the Nats to get to this point.
They needed to win games down the stretch to clinch a wild card berth, they did that. They needed to beat the Milwaukee Brewers on the road, they did that. They needed to beat the heavily favored 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, they did that. Beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS? No problem, disposed of them in four games to win the NL pennant.
Then, win every game on the road, while losing all your home games against the best team in baseball? Now that’s impressive. The feat has never been accomplished in North American sports history. Not even the mediocre (at best) bullpen can stop this freight train and Martinez made sure of it by using starter Patrick Corbin out of the bullpen in five postseason games.
Star slugger Anthony Rendon shined when they needed him the most. He came up with huge hits all postseason and none bigger than the homer he hit in Game 6 of the World Series after and a controversial interference call at first base with Trea Turner running down the line. A free agent this offseason, if this series was the last he would play in a Nats uniform, I’m sure everyone would agree his statue would go up outside Nationals Park immediately.
The young Juan Soto also had himself a great postseason. One of the youngest players to hit a homer in a World Series, Soto introduced himself to the world during the month of October with his towering homers, clutch hits, and incredibly entertaining at bats displaying the “Soto shuffle” anytime he took a pitch for a ball. “Childish Bambino” has a very bright future in this league and will be a top five player in this league for a long time to come.
The story of the 2019 Washington Nationals can’t be told without the first player ever drafted by the team after the move from Montréal, Ryan Zimmerman. Drafted in 2005, Zimmerman has seen the lows and the highs. From team struggles in his first few seasons, to finishing second in rookie of the year, to injuries, to division titles, to many first-round exits to finally experiencing a World Championship. He had a solid postseason run and was a great veteran in the clubhouse.
The Nationals took the hardest road to this championship and beat two 100-win teams in the process. They overcame their early-season struggles, a not so good bullpen, the stigma of not being an analytical organization, and of course the loss of Bryce Harper. It was tough. It wasn’t handed to them but they got it done. Nats fans wouldn’t have it any other way.