Washington Nationals: More Than Just a Spoiler, a Proud Team at Its Best

Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 17:  John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals deals a pitch against the New York Yankees on June 17, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Here we are in the first week of August, teams that are trying to contend and the legitimate contenders have just acquired the players that they needed to fill out their rosters at the trade deadline.

But teams like the Washington Nationals, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates do what they have to do to contend at a future time.

They either undergo fire sales, making their rosters leaner, cheaper and more ready for the future. Like the Pirates did last month, they basically traded their entire opening day roster in return for what? We don't know yet.

But then there are teams like the Nationals, that despite being in the cellar, they never give up and since they are professional ball players, they try to make the most of the rest of their season. The Nats are a team full of quality Major Leaguers.

Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Cristian Guzman, Ryan Zimmerman, Nyjer Morgan. That is a very good core for a Major League team, it's possible to build upon that sort of talent to hopefully someday build a contender sometime in the future.

In the pitching side of the story, Tuesday's starter for the Nats' John Lannan is very good, I see some real potential in him. He has a .500 record despite his team being so deep in the cellar they're finding old casks of Amontillado and dead people.

Jordan Zimmerman is only 23 years old and was named in Baseball America's, Top 10 prospects for 2008.

So when fans, pundits, random spectators and especially people that don't know anything about baseball. Call bottom dwellers "spoilers;" that moniker is dismaying to me.

I think we need to give teams like the Nats more respect and credit than they're given, even if they aren't good enough to be competitive. Major Leaguers are proud, professionals they don't give up no matter what.

I like that sort of spirit when millionaires are mentioned, complacency is the biggest enemy of success. So when teams make positive progress despite losing is a heartening sign.

So as a Marlins fan, I'm angry that the Marlins were swept by a team that we've beaten 8 out of 8 times previous meetings. But I still respect the Nationals for not giving up. In the words of Jimmy V: "Don't give up, Don't ever give up."