The MLB offseason can be hard to swallow. It’s cold, boring and gut wrenchingly long—especially for teams whose season ended in a painful way. The Washington Nationals’ season ended in a postseason disaster, which made baseball’s five-month hiatus even harder to survive.
But fear not, because the long wait is over. Three weeks ago Nationals fans living in the D.C. area were digging their way out of a foot of snow, with a miserable winter showing no end in sight. But today, with a sunny 77° in the forecast, a sold-out crowd will be lining up at Nationals Park for a baseball game. It may seem hard to believe, but it’s true: Opening Day is here.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the Nationals, not just today’s game but also the rest of the season. For one, the Nationals are expected to dominate this year. They have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the game and they have a rotation that has the potential to go down as one of the best in baseball history. The Nationals are fully expected to repeat as NL East champions, and there’s a good chance they’ll see some success in the playoffs as well.
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With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that many fans and pundits alike have predicted the Nationals to shine this season, with some even predicting a World Series championship in the nation’s capital. The Nationals may have suffered a barrage of Spring Traing injuries, but most still expect them to be one of the best teams in the game this season, even in the injury-filled early days of the season.
In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Alyson Footer discusses MLB.com’s first weekly ‘Power Ranking’ of the season. Not surprisingly, the Nationals came out on top in this week’s rankings, followed by the Dodgers, the Mariners and, well, everyone else.
Although rankings determined before any baseball is actually played should be taken with a grain of salt, the fact that MLB.com puts the Nationals on top even as they enter the season with a depleted roster is a testament to the talent and depth of this ball club—a depth that should be strong enough to help the Nationals survive their early-season injuries. We’ll see where the Nationals end up in next week’s rankings, but right now, they’re on top.
Also in today’s Daily, Steve Ginsburg from Reuters (via Business Insider) discusses how some of Washington’s most high-profile powerbroker go to Nationals Park on a regular basis. While Washington isn’t Los Angeles and we’re unlikely to see George Clooney wearing a Nats jersey this season, there are certain advantages to living in the nation’s capital, and running into some of the country’s most powerful politicians and government officials at baseball games is certainly one of them.
Be sure to check out Ginsburg’s article below, and if you’re heading to the Park this season, be on the lookout for some of the faces that make this city the political juggernaut (and mess) that it is. And as always, stay tuned to DoD throughout the season for all your Washington Nationals needs.
Power Rankings: Pitching-rich Nationals open on top
Happy Opening Week, baseball fans. This is a time when stress levels are low, optimism is high and most teams, save for a very few, are feeling pretty good about their chances for good things to happen during the season ahead.
But let’s be honest — even though everyone is starting out 0-0, we don’t need a crystal ball to help us separate the elite from those who have, shall we say, room for improvement. Welcome to round one of MLB.com’s weekly Power Rankings, where we poll a handful of our writers and then open the floor to you.
This week’s top 20 list is based on predictions, observations and overall health coming out of Spring Training. Actual games played? That’ll come soon enough. Until then, here’s what we’ve got … how about you? Read full article here.
Washington’s Nationals Park is a popular spot for the nation’s power brokers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) – While the Los Angeles Lakers have Jack Nicholson and the Hollywood crowd sitting courtside for their games, the Washington Nationals have attracted a set of high-profile groupies of their own: the nation’s powerbrokers.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is a frequent visitor to Nationals Park in the nation’s capital. So is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic counterpart Harry Reid.
Even former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben Bernanke let off steam after a rough day by putting their feet up at the ballpark, where the Nationals open their season on Monday against the New York Mets. Read full article here.