Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Why We Like The Washington Nationals
This is the time of year that I start looking for surrogate teams to root for during the upcoming Major League Baseball Playoffs.
This is because, once again, despite the infusion of money and great players, my two favorite MLB teams, the Dodgers and the Angels, will probably not make the playoffs...again.
Although, I must say, I am a die hard Angel and Dodger fan, and with a few precious days of the regular season left, I am not giving up hope that one of my favorite teams will still sneak in.
I keep on telling myself that ten years ago when my Angels won the World Series that they did actually go through the Wild Card route. Anything can happen.
But, just in case, I already have my "other" team to root for this year.
I like the Washington Nationals this year because first of all, Washington DC has not won a World Series since 1924. Taking a 30 year break from having a team in the nation's capitol probably didn't help.
1924 is the year when the greatest pitcher of all time from my hometown of Fullerton, CA.... Walter "The Big Train" Johnson pitched and led them the Washington Senators (or Nationals) to the title.
Then there was the whole Steven Strasburg story this year. Strasburg, the young pitching sensation out of San Diego State, coming off Tommy John surgery had a wonderful year and has helped the Nationals to get to the post season. It was predetermined before the season started that no matter what happened that the team would limit his pitch count for 2012 and sure enough on September 12, they shut him down for the season.
You have to admire the organization for doing that....for looking to the young man's future. But still, I would keep Strasburg on the playoff roster so the team could have him in case they need him in the post season.
This year, there is another Fullerton connection for a Washington team. This is because last month the Nats went out and acquired Kurt Suzuki from Oakland.
Kurt was our catcher and one of the most popular players of all time at Cal State Fullerton. After working with Nats Manager Davey Johnson, Suzuki, who has always been an outstanding defensive catcher got his hitting stroke back and is helping the Nationals both offensively and defensively as they head into the playoffs.
Of course, this sets up a lot of potential drama for the World Series. Could you imagine a Beltway World Series between Baltimore and Washington. Davey Johnson, the current manager for the Nats could potentially be facing the team he played for when he was an outstanding player for those great Oriole teams of the 70's.
Or what would happen if Oakland, the team that traded Suzuki to Washington faced the Nats? That could be interesting. Also would be great for baseball to see two teams without the biggest payrolls face each other.
That's what makes baseball so great. It doesn't matter how much money you throw at a team...if you can get hot in September and October, get together as a team and get good pitching down the stretch anything could happen.
Of course, I am really hoping for the Washington-Angels series. This would be a showdown of two old foes going back to when Suzuki used to terrorize Jared Weaver, the great Angels pitcher, when the two played at Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State respectively.
Weaver could get everybody and anybody out except Suzuki. True story...I saw them face each other in a minor league game in the Cal League and of course Suzuki hit a homerun off of Weaver his first time up.
Whatever happens this playoff season, it's going to be fun. Link and listen to all the MLB playoff games in October in our Bosco Radio Sports Section.