From Hero’s to Zero’s?
The year is 2019, your team is 19-31 with a .01% chance of making the playoffs, and all of a sudden, BAM it just clicks. You sneak into the playoffs with a wild card spot and come back in the bottom of the 8th to advance to face the dodgers. You are down and out in game five, falling behind early 3-0 in the first two innings, but just like the season, you fight back and give them hell tying the game up in the 8th inning again. In extra innings, you have bases loaded. With Kendrick stepping up already 0-4 for the day, he needs to put the ball in play, just put the ball in play and let the bullpen handle it. Joe Kelly delivers an 0-1 pitch middle in 97 MPH fastball, Howie swings, and the ball cracks off the bat and sends it deep to center field over Bellinger's head to give the Nationals a 7-3, and they advance to the NLCS. The series with the Cardinals is pretty cut and dry. They sweep the Cardinals in four, winning game four at home to go to their first-ever World Series. The club starts the series off hot,returning taking the first two games in Houston before coming back home and losing the next three games at home. Now you have to go back to Houston, losing down in the series three games to two, against the winningest team of the season. To make matters worse, you will be facing Justin Verlander in six in seven genuine they somehow first-ever you most everything came 6 and Zack Greinke game 7 if you win game 6. In true Nationals fashion they do pull off the win in game 6 winning 7-2 after falling behind early in the first inning 2-1. Against all odds and once again falling behind early in game 7 1-0 in the second the Nationals somehow pulled it off and beat the Houston Astros to win their first-ever World Series. Stephan Strasburg is named The World Series MVP respectfully going 2-0 with 14 batters struck out in 14 1/3 innings pitched while only giving up 12 hits and carrying a 1.98 ERA. Life seems great, you are on top of the world, a majority of the players will be coming back the following season and you just pulled off one of the greatest seasons in sports history. Well, that is where you are wrong; everything in the organization snowballs out of control.
Tony two bags leaves for LA, and the system implodes on itself, and the collapse starts to happen before our eyes. Nothing special about the 2020 season, it’s the year of Covid, and nothing counts. Good job Dodgers you won The World Series in a short season. 2021 comes around, and the season isn’t going much better; the Nationals are losing close games by a couple of runs, and the bullpen can’t hold a lead if their lives depended on it. So what do we do? WE TRADE THE WHOLE DAMN TEAM AWAY instead of trying to find some bullpen help. Trea Turner and Mad Max are sent to the Dodgers for a pretty solid return with Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray (two other players as well.) Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison, gone to Oakland. Hudson, Strasburg, and Harris can’t stay healthy. Patrick Corbin can’t stop giving up runs, Victor Robles can’t put the bat on the ball for the life of him, and we are a team full of players your average fan has no idea who they are, but there’s a silver lining. We still have Juan Soto and Josh Bell they can rebuild around. You’d hope, as a fan, some big moves would happen over the offseason with signings. The National's big singings, NELSON CRUZ and Dee Dee strange… To their credit, they did try to resign Juan Soto long-term, but couldn’t reach an agreement with Boras, and we all know how Scott is, money-grabbing for his players. 2022 starts, and who would have guessed the Nationals are pretty damn horrible again? The Bullpen still can't find their way out of an open box, Strasburg isn’t healthy still and ends up only pitching one game with the outing last only 4, and 2/3rds before being pulled to never return for the season. Corbin and Robles have gotten worse than the season before, which no one thought was possible, but somehow they both pulled it off. Cruz is looking like his age and that it’s time for him to hang it up. Dee is facing off-the-field issues which end up to him being released by the team. As Billy Mays always said, but wait, there's more, and things get even worse. There are rumors of the Lerner family wanting to sell the team, and now they are going to start dumping payroll to try and Max out their profit. Talks of Soto being traded start to surface, but deep down, we, the fans, want to believe there isn’t a chance they will do this to us. You cannot trade away a once-in-a-lifetime player that you can rebuild around. The jokes on all us fans, the Lerners sure as hell can, and they did. On August 2nd, 2022, Josh Bell and Juan Soto were sent to the Padres for Luke Voit, Mackenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Robert Haskell, James Wood, and Jarlin Susana. There could have been a silver lining in this if they were able to send Corbin in the mix to open up salary cap space. Still, the Padres wouldn’t take on his salary of 24 million in 2023, 35 million in 2024, and an additional 10 million in deferred for the 2025 season. The season came and went, with Nationals fans not really having anything to be excited about the rest of the year. You were lucky to catch a game that they won. Finishing the season with a wonderful 55-107 record coming in dead last in all of the MLB. There’s a lot of hope for the team moving forward, with a lot of young talent for some years to come. The big question is will this talent develop into the MLB stars that we have seen come out of the Nationals organization in the past, or will they have blown up the whole system for no reason? I think one thing we all can agree on as Nationals fans is that, hopefully the Lerners sell the team soon so money can be spent to turn this club around. Only time will tell, and as a die-hard Nationals fan, I can only cross my fingers and believe that Mike Rizzo knows what he is doing.