© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Got Nationals Fever? There's A Cure For That

No doubt, there are many of you, hundreds, maybe even thousands who are a little conflicted about the latest goings-on in Washington.

No, not that stuff, but the fact that that city’s baseball team, the Nationals are heading for the World Series.

You probably know someone who claims to have gone to a Nationals game. If you work on that end of the Parkway, you might have a colleague who says they’ve backed the Nats since they landed here all those 14 years ago.

You might even have a relative in the Washington suburbs who knows somebody who knows somebody who got an autograph from Ryan Zimmerman’s babysitter.  

All of that is swirling around in your head to make you wonder if you, too, should pay homage to the curly W, the letter that appears on the Nationals’ cap.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s alright if you haven’t gotten a case of Nats fever. Indeed, it’s even OK if you don’t like the Nationals.

I’m frankly feeling a little indifferent about the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong; I applaud the effort. You have to.

After all, the Nationals were 12 games under .500 in late May, with as many losses as the Detroit Tigers.

But while the Tigers went on to baseball’s worst record, the Nats went on a four-month tear, landing in the National League wild card game.

There, they were four outs away from elimination, before they stormed back in the eighth inning to beat Milwaukee and advance to the Division Series, where they met Los Angeles, the defending National League champion.

In the LA series, the Nationals split the first four games with the Dodgers, who had the best record in the National League and were heavily favored.

In the decisive fifth game, Washington smashed home runs off ace Clayton Kershaw, then broke it open in the 10th inning with a grand slam from Howie Kendrick to advance in a postseason series for the first time in franchise history, dating back to when the team was founded as the Montreal Expos in 1969.

The Nationals dispatched the St. Louis Cardinals with a sweep in the League Championship Series, setting the stage for the first appearance by a Washington franchise in the World Series since 1933.

The gracious thing would be to show support for a fanbase that hasn’t tasted a World Series since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, or at least in a sports sense,

The thing is, it’s hard to show a lot of grace to folks who only seem to be interested in their local team when they’re winning.

There are typically plenty of good seats available for the football team and for the Wizards, the NBA team that hasn’t tasted success since the late 70s.

The Capitals only became a hot item when they won the Stanley Cup year before last. And most of Washington has managed to avoid Nats fever until it got trendy, as in last week.

I suppose, under the circumstances, we here in Charm City, should, at least doff our civic caps to our neighbors to the south.

Because those circumstances could have been a Yankees-Nationals World Series. Oh, the pretentiousness! Oh, the horror!

And that’s how I see it for this week. 

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse. He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.