Nationals “Finish the Fight”

Connor Zimmerman, Editor-In-Chief

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After a series sweep at the hands of the New York Mets in late May, few Washington fans thought the 19-31 Nationals would make much at all of their season. Regardless, the team was determined to “Stay in the Fight.”

On May 23, the season-to-date stat projection gave the Nationals a 0.1% chance to win the World Series. This year’s World Series was also the first with all seven games won on the road. Many fans, including senior Sam Madsen, think this type of comeback is a staple of DC sports.

“DC sports’ whole theme is that they’re the underdogs, they pull it off at the last minute,” said Madsen, who has watched the team for 7 years. 

Expectations were low early for the Nationals, who lost star outfielder Bryce Harper in the offseason. The playoffs were not on the radar for most fans, until the team found its identity over the summer.

“Coming into the year, we lost our starting right fielder, and our bullpen was very bad, so no, I didn’t think we had a chance (to make the playoffs),” said Madsen, “By the beginning of August, we were the only team with a reasonable shot at the wild card, and at that point, I thought we were poised to go far.”

Adjusting to the loss of Harper was key to the Nationals’ turnaround, and longtime fan, senior Ryan Lipton believes that was about more than one player.

 “During the summer, there was a stretch where we won 10/11 games,” said Lipton, “When the roleplayers who few people know started playing better.”

While the team’s reversal was a team effort, Lipton can identify one player who may have filled Harper’s shoes.

“Anthony Rendon, although he won’t win the MVP, he can do it all,” said Lipton, “He’s probably the best all-around hitter, he’s the rock on the team we can always rely on.”

Along with Washington’s first World Series title comes the inevitable bandwagon. Some serious fans dislike bandwagons, but others, like senior Sammy Snyder, are just glad people are getting excited.

“There were definitely people who didn’t care before game 7; now it seems like everyone cares, but it isn’t terrible to be a bandwagon and support the team,” said Snyder.

Fans are hoping that the Nationals’ win indicates a greater change for the team as well as DC sports as a whole; the longtime narrative decrees that Washington is not a sports city, or worse, that it is cursed. With so many critical contracts up in the air this offseason, some are not so confident.

“I don’t want to be a pessimist, but usually a team coming off of a World Series win doesn’t continue to perform that well, especially with Strasburg’s future in question, Rendon’s future in question and Zimmerman’s future in question,” said Madsen. “ DC’s doing something right, but I don’t think it’s gonna start any revolution, we still have teams who have a ways to go.”

Others, like Snyder, are content savoring this year’s championship win.

“It was kinda crazy, I still don’t believe we won, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Snyder, “I hope this changes something.”