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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Diamond Dirt: How about those Washington Nationals?

  • Ever since the Montreal Expos made the move to Washington, D.C. it's been a blessing in disguise for baseball.
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  • FINALLY!
    Ever since the Montreal Expos made the move to Washington, D.C. it's been a blessing in disguise for baseball.
    Have they been the best team?
    No.
    Have they been popular?
    On a local level.
    Have they rejuvenated baseball in the nation's capital?
    Absolutely
    And now it's their year to make the national game in the nation's capital the best team around. Finally, baseball is surging in Washington, D.C. — a place where baseball should have never left.
    For the first time since 1933 a Washington baseball team is going to the postseason. That year the Washington Senators lost to the New York Giants in five games. And the Senators, who hosted games three, four and five, only won one game — Game 3 went to Washington with a 4-0 victory.
    The original Senators left for Minnesota after the 1960 season, and the new Senators — who were established in 1961 — only stayed for a decade before moving to Texas. The last Washington franchise to win the World Series was the 1991 Minnesota Twins.
    It's not a done deal yet, far from it, but this very well could be the year baseball really and truly returns to baseball.
    For years Washington was a city with a baseball past, but when Washington became a city with a baseball present they were still just one of those teams that finishes low in the standings year after year. Now things are different.
    Instead of being just a team for others to compete against for three or four games, the Washington Nationals have been a contender to reckon with all season long. Instead of having no names or veterans trying for one last hurrah, the Washington Nationals are a team of exceptional athletes with a variety of backgrounds and experience that mold together to become a group of warriors playing the greatest game offered on earth. Instead of having a manager with a popular name or looking for his big break, the Washington Nationals are lead by Davey Johnson who managed the 1986 World Champion New York Mets and the 1996 and 19097 Baltimore Orioles who also made the postseason.
    This is a team destined for the NLCS, no doubt about it.
    I love the St. Louis Cardinals. Always have, always will. They'll always be my No. 1 team, but I just can't help but put the Nationals in as my No. 2.
    Not only does baseball need a team in the nation's capital, baseball needs a competitive team in the nation's capital so their just not "another team". Thanks to this 2012 team Washington on a sports scale isn't just a football town with all the other major sports, it's a city with popular football city in love with baseball that also has hockey, basketball and soccer teams.
    Page 2 of 2 - I love the Nationals because they remind me of the New York Yankees of the '50s and '60s. They are experienced, seasoned, grizzled and young. Put all those together and you've got one heck of a baseball team.
    Gio Gonzalez is like Whitey Ford, Kurt Suzuki is like Yogi Berra, Ian Desmond is like Clete Boyer and Bryce Harper is like the most popular of them all; Mickey Mantle.
    Seriously how many ballplayers have come up at age 19 and have been compared to Mickey Mantle in recent years?
    J.D. Drew, Chipper Jones are just a couple.
    But let me tell you something about Bryce Harper, he's the real deal. If there's any comparison to Mickey Mantle he's honest and truly it. He's not complaining, he's not doing anything stupid, he's just playing ball. He's a great hitter, he's a tough-as-nails outfielder, he's a swift runner. He's the perfect kid playing a man's game.
    I can't tell you how the Nationals will finish, but I will tell you that given their season anyone who plays them for the pennant is going to have a tough battle.

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