Washington Nationals: One Last Look Back At 2016
A Postseason Game To Never Forget
I make an effort to go to as many Nats games as I can every year. Back when I was afforded the luxury of long, lazy summers, I’d hop on the Metro and ride over to Nats Park a couple times a month.
This past season, however, I spent a majority of the year either in college or working a full-time job. It only meant all the more to me after missing so many games that I was able to go drive up to D.C. for the Friday night NLDS Game 1 between the Nats and Dodgers.
Now the Nationals didn’t end up winning that game, but what happened later that weekend made the trip very much worth it. Game 2 was supposed to be played the following day, but my dad and I had been unable to secure tickets. However, a poor weather forecast forced StubHub to lower the prices. My dad, brother and I each bought tickets before the impending weather prompted the MLB to postpone it to Sunday.
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At first pitch, the weather was beautiful. The three of us had seats on the first base side with a great view of the ballpark. Corey Seager hit his second first inning homer in as many games, and Josh Reddick brought Justin Turner around to score on a RBI single in the third. The Nats, meanwhile, were struggling to get anything going offensively.
Enter the bottom of the fourth inning. Washington had yet to lead so far in the series, but that was all about to change. Daniel Murphy led off the frame with a walk, but back-to-back fly outs by Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman didn’t give any of us much hope for scoring that inning.
Danny Espinosa then stepped to the plate and was promptly hit by the first pitch he saw. That brought up Jose Lobaton, who was doubted by many — myself included — for his ability to fill in for the injured Wilson Ramos. He silenced the critics in the biggest way he could, by crushing a go-ahead home run into the left field seats that sent Nats Park into a frenzy.
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The loudest I’ve ever heard that stadium was when Jayson Werth hit the walk-off home run in the 2012 NLDS Game 4 against the Cardinals, but this came pretty close. Washington would remain in the lead for the rest of the game and the crowd was electric. The Nats may not have advanced deeper into the playoffs, but that was a day I’m never going to forget.