Since Ian Desmond became the everyday starting shortstop for the Nationals, he has been plagued by a small but vocal minority of Nats fans who disliked him and wanted him off the team. Ian has been criticized for the last three years for his hitting and fielding. For some fans, Ian could do nothing right.
When there were rumors that teams were talking to the Nats in the offseason about trading for Desmond, there were commenters who were lobbying for that to happen–let some other team put up with his errors and terrible average. Ever since Danny Espinosa became the everyday second baseman for the team, there has been constant rumbling by some who wanted the Nats to move Espinosa to short and bring up Steve Lombardozzi to play second. Folks were lobbying for that move last year, and the chatter just got worse early in the season when Lombardozzi made the team.
A funny thing has happened on the way to Desmond being named an All Star this year. The comment sections of the blogs have gradually seen the end of comments by anyone demanding that the Nats get rid of Ian Desmond, or complaining he is not good enough to play on this team. The assertions of the Desmond haters that he’s a terrible player, that he can’t hit, can’t field, and that the team would be better off without him have stopped.
I could never understand the vocal fans who could not see from the very beginning of Desmond’s career with the Nats that he was going to be a very good shortstop and a great player on this team. Desmond, like many young players, has grown into his job. Each year, his average has improved and the number of errors he has committed has gone down. Some of Desmond’s “errors” have been charged to him because of his incredible range. Desmond gets a glove on balls that would go right by most shortstops. If the ball gets past the shortstop without the player getting a glove on it, it’s a hit. If the shortstop gets a glove on the ball but can’t field it cleanly, it is often scored as an error. That happens to Desmond–he knocks down balls that other shortstops would not be able to get to.
Ian has become the captain of the infield. This team would follow Desmond into a fire if that is where he lead them. Christian Guzman, the former Nats shortshop, couldn’t have gotten his teammates to follow him to the buffet.
I hope that the Desmond haters out there have finally been converted. The blog chat seems to indicate that they have.