Washington Nationals correct to embrace hump

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Willson Contreras
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Willson Contreras /

Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez has stated that the team will embrace the “hump” in 2018. Here’s why that’s the perfect mindset.

The Washington Nationals have never been the team to step too far off the beaten path. Matt Williams established a very serious clubhouse, which changed with Dusty Baker at the helm. However, even under Baker, the Nats were a fairly traditional team.

Now, with Dave Martinez in tow, this will change. Although spring training has barely begun, we have already seen signs of change. Pitchers have practiced in bucket hats, there has been music playing during workouts, and Bob Henley leads a daily “circle of trust”.

Spring training was already off to a unique start, but the oddity peaked on Wednesday. When the team arrived at the practice facility, they were greeted by Henley and Tim Bogar on camels.

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That’s right; the first and third base coaches were on top of camels. Talk about unorthodox.

Coaches on camels certainly is a bit odd, but there was reasoning behind it. For one, it was Wednesday, which is also known as “Hump Day”. The baseball-oriented reason for the camels was to embrace the proverbial “hump” that the Nats face.

Ever since Martinez was hired, he has been asked about what he will do to get the Nats over the hump. His last team, the Chicago Cubs, got over their own hump in 2016, ending a 108-year World Series drought.

Now, Martinez will attempt to help the Nats accomplish something similar.

Martinez believes that in order to overcome the proverbial hump, the Nats must embrace it. If they fear it, they will never overcome it.

Despite the fact that most people would say the Nats’ hump is the NLDS, Martinez believes otherwise. He thinks that the hump is every day. Every day provides an opportunity to improve, which, if taken advantage of, can help them in October.

The easy thing for the Nats to do would be to act lackadaisical now and fear the postseason. After all, they should win the division with relative ease but have yet to advance past the NLDS. They will get to the postseason; it is just a matter of what they accomplish then.

Under Martinez, the Nats will not have this mindset. They may be the heavy favorite to win the division, but they still have to perform in the regular season. If they do not take the regular season seriously, even if they win the division, they will not reach their goals.

Martinez’s decision to bring camels to spring training was unprecedented and partially to lighten the mood, but it carries an important message. If the Nats take this to heart, they can reach their goals and overcome the hump.

The Nats’ hump has been brought to center stage, both by the media and now Martinez himself. Fortunately, they have the perfect man to lead their journey over it. Martinez helped overcome the Cubs’ hump in 2016, and he can help the Nats conquer theirs in 2018.

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Now, the Nats must take Martinez’s message to heart. And it wouldn’t hurt if they did so while wearing shirts featuring Henley on a camel.