The Washington Nationals may be the most interesting team in the area. In what has been a largely apathetic fan base upon their move from Montreal, the Nats have definitely struggled (excluding two .500 seasons in the first and last year).
I have claimed over the past year that if the Nationals become a good team, fans will come in excess.
Currently, the Washington Capitals have gone from an underground following to everyone and anyone “rockin’ the red," which goes to show you what will happen when a home team starts winning. I feel the same could be applied for the Nats, but with greater magnitude.
There is such a familiarity with baseball: the rules are widely understood, the majority of kids out there at least played tee ball and Nationals Park is a great atmosphere, with relatively cheap ticket prices as well as its convenient accessibility.
So once again, I stand by my statement: If the Washington Nationals become a playoff team, they will start generating a major fan base, or if you would like to say, “If you build it, we will come.”
Last year’s Nats finished with a respectable record and a tremendous amount of improvement was made. Relief pitchers Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen formed one of the best young 1-2 punches in the eight and ninth innings. Danny Espinosa showed flashes of power, athleticism and defense. Mike Morse came out of nowhere to become the team’s best offensive threat and Jordan Zimmerman pitched at an All-Star level.
With a healthy Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg returning, the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez and the possibility of phenom Bryce Harper reaching the majors this season, the Nationals have suddenly become a dark horse in the playoff race.
What needs to happen for the Nationals to go to the playoffs this year? The answer is simple: You need a little bit of luck and things need to go as planned. That means no more devastating injuries, free agent busts, and instead the development of young talent. That seems easy, but in an unpredictable sport like baseball, stranger things have happened.
Below you will find a set of questions that I feel are contingent on the Nationals success this year, which are not in any particular order.