1933 is a long time. And I nor most other people were around then, so I can’t even explain what it will be like to be in Washington’s National Park today as the home crowd finally has a chance to get a look at postseason baseball after Major League Baseball’s last-minute scheduling gave the first two games to the lower seed.
There has been a lot said about how good the Nationals have been at home. It makes sense. Most of your games are there as opposed to anywhere else. You’re in a routine, you know what to expect. That added comfort helps a lot when you are dealing with different things. Like playoff baseball for the first time. Or, a 1:00 start on a Wednesday. Things happen that you can’t control but you can bet that Nationals Park will be loud, it will be red and it will be a sight to see despite the controversy surrounding several decisions by Major League Baseball.
Nationals fans get a ribbing for allegedly being bandwagon fans and just discovering that they had a baseball team. But they are passionate, and let’s be honest. There aren’t many cities where people live and die with a losing team. Look for the crowd to bring all of the energy surrounding scheduling and television coverage to come out in loud, powerful screams. I’m sure Davey Johnson and the rest of the Nationals would like it no other way.
To say that Edwin Jackson struggled in his last start against the Cardinals would be a gross understatement. In fact, he couldn’t have been much worse. But this is also why the Nationals signed the free agent this offseason. He helped the same Cardinals win a World Series last season and now is armed with the task to give the Nationals their second lead in the series. There has been more talk both within the team and outside of the team about Washington missing Stephen Strasburg. The only way to make sure people stop talking about that is by winning.
Having come here after the decision was made, I haven’t let my personal opinion be heard. Truth is, I think the way that the Nationals handled it was poor. I understand limiting his workload, but when they saw the team was on their way to the playoffs, why not stretch out his usage to allow him to perform in the playoffs. Sure there were struggles as his season came to an end. He now says he was tipping his pitches. Either way, this decision will be the talk of the offseason unless the Nationals win the World Series. People looked at the way that the Atlanta Braves handled Kris Medlen as the way to go, but even that didn’t help the Braves any (not that it was necessarily Medlen’s fault). The truth is, there would be the same second guessing happening if Strasburg were to get hurt or if he were to struggle. There was no right answer for Mike Rizzo and company unless they were to win everything. Then no one could say anything.
Nationals players know that. Sure there was one that told Ken Rosenthal that they would be up 2-0 with him. But there was also the one that said this all goes away with winning. It’s time for the Nationals to show up and what better place for that to happen then at home.