Author Topic: Boswell's Latest Nats Newsletter  (Read 824 times)

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Boswell's Latest Nats Newsletter
« Topic Start: September 28, 2005, 01:23:31 PM »
From Tom Boswell of the Washington Post:

Why Does This Magical Season Have to End?

They say you don't miss your water 'til the well runs dry, but perhaps the opposite is also truly. Many of us never knew how much we missed baseball until we got it back.

Sitting in the backyard this week a breeze blew through the trees, a shower of leaves fell and I thought, "Fall's coming. It's almost over."

Of course, the "it" was the continuous baseball pleasure and misery that the Nationals provided, beginning in frigid February and lasting until this Sunday autumn afternoon in RFK. Misery? Oh, certainly. We got lucky, you see. Instead of the tepid satisfaction of merely possessing a team, the Nats dared to be The Story of Baseball in their first season with us.

They couldn't pull it off, of course. In first place on the Fourth of July, they fell like a heart-breaking paper airplane -- banking on the summer air, plunging suddenly, sometimes even gaining a bit of altitude against gravity and common sense, but always headed to earth, pulled back down to the harsh, though dignified reality of being an average major league team.

So, for the first time in generations, we got to experience the night-after-night dementia of a baseball team that mixes infernal anguish with just enough delight and hope to keep us hooked. No season truly fulfills its purpose unless your team leaves you with a sense of loss, a gnawing what-might-have-been. Unless, at some fanciful point, you imagine you team in October, you aren't really getting the full adult dosage. Richard III would've traded his kingdom for a horse. (And a knight to be named later.) By September, Washington might've hocked a major monument to get Tomo Ohka and Claudio Vargas back in its rotation.

Sometimes, the simplest clich?d expression is exactly correct: "They ran out of gas." That's all. Too many players lost too much time to injury. Too many players rushed back too soon, always to plug some dire new leaking dike. Too many personnel moves were made to keep postseason hopes alive until, one day, everybody looked around and said, "Ooops, we just ran out of pitchers with a month left in the season." And there's no Hollywood answer for that.

Closing Day will, no doubt, be a relief to many a weary National. Chad Cordero's young arm and Vinny Castilla's old knees both need rest. Jose Vidro and Jose Guillen don't know which joint to ice first. Brad Wilkerson hasn't been whole since May. Brian Schneider and Luis Ayala are too banged up even to play out the string. If a ground ball is hit to Nick Johnson with Livan Hernandez pitching, there's a pool in the press box on whether either of them can hobble all the way to first base.

They've given us enough. And much more, all things considered. But as these final days of the first baseball season in Washington since 1971 come to an end, you wonder why the sport chose such an abbreviated schedule -- only 162 games.

Doesn't quite make up for the 5,346 we missed, does it? (Not counting postseason.) So, I'll be listening Wednesday to the last road game from Florida. I'm sure my car will find its ways to RFK during the last series against the Phils this weekend. Lots of seasons lie ahead. But, no matter how good they are, will any be like the first?

Because we never really knew we'd ever get a team back again, did we?

Someday, it will seem irrelevant whether the Nationals end up winning 80, 81 or 82 games in their first season. Were they a hair under .500, a tad over .500 or right at .500? In a few years, their record will be a footnote to far more important matters. Who bought the team? Who did they choose to run it -- sages or fools? Did the Anacostia ballpark prove to be genius or joke?

But, right now, these games feel fairly significant. Before the season, the Nats set their own goals, which seemed unrealistic for a team that won only 67 games in '04, yet matched their sense of their own potential: Have a .500 season and escape last place in the National League East. Now, those seem like precisely the proper benchmarks.

After all they're provided us, you'd think the Nationals ought to be granted such a small request. That, however, is not the real reason that many of us will watch these final games with more interest than they deserve. We'll pretend it's about .500 and finishing third, fourth or fifth in the division. But, among ourselves, we can tell the truth. We just don't want it to end.

Offline JMW IV

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Boswell's Latest Nats Newsletter
« Reply #1: September 28, 2005, 01:27:31 PM »
Nice column.

one thing you can say about Boz, he knows what it is to be a fan.

perhaps too much so, at times, though.

Offline The Chief

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« Reply #2: September 28, 2005, 01:40:51 PM »
here here.  I don't know what I'm going to do with myself during the offseason!

Offline tomterp

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« Reply #3: September 28, 2005, 02:27:47 PM »
Quote from: "The Chief"
here here.  I don't know what I'm going to do with myself during the offseason!

I was thinking you'd be organizing free happy hours for your dedicated members!

Maybe show videos of Nats over the Braves at RFK (8-6, Bennett bases clearing double) or Guillen/Robinson vs. the Angels, 12 rounds fight.

I'm getting thirsty just thinking about it!

Offline UMDNats

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Boswell's Latest Nats Newsletter
« Reply #4: September 28, 2005, 08:53:04 PM »
Quote from: "The Chief"
here here.  I don't know what I'm going to do with myself during the offseason!

go to some caps games!