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Remember When: An A To Z On How Far The Nats Have Come In Washington

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Thursday, Mar. 07/2013

Livan Hernandez leads the 2005-2012 version of the franchise in wins and Innings Pitched.  The 2005 team started out competing for the NL East with an 81-81 record.  The next 5 years in wins went (71, 73, 59, 59 and 69 respectively.  They set a franchise win mark in 2012 at 98 victories.  They have a great shot at eclipsing this mark.  Only the Nationals and Mariners teams have never appeared in the World Series

Fromer #1 Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez leads the 2005-2012 version of the franchise in Wins and Innings Pitched. The 2005 team started out competing for the NL East with an 81-81 record before falling down the stetch. The next 5 years in wins went (71, 73, 59, 59 and 69) respectively. After 80 wins in 2011 – they set a franchise win mark in 2012 at 98 victories. They are one of the favorites to win the World Series in 2013. Only the Nationals and Mariners teams have never appeared in the World Series as an organization.  Hernandez in his prime might be the #5 starter on the 2013 club.

By David Huzzard (Nationals Correspondent via Citizens of Natstown.com – view website here): 

Remember when Buster Olney went on Baseball Tonight and predicted the 2007 Nationals would just be historically bad, but they would be lucky if they could win 42 games. Or remember when columns like this one from Jeff Passan were the norm with catchy little puns like, “National Disaster.” At times it is hard to even remember the bi-gone days when Jason Simontacchi, Mike Bacsik, and Micah Bowie were key figures in the Nats rotation.    ​

What makes it even harder to hold on to those memories of the bad Nats are columns like this about how the Nats could be historically good. In the terms of history five years is nothing. The build up of World War I started with the Bosnian Crisis in 1908 and didn’t officially start until Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914. The build up to historic events is a mention in a paragraph on the actual history itself. Those five years from 2007 until 2013 are throw away lines in the book that will be written if the Nats can manage to be historically good. ​

Wil Nieves used to have the Nationals Defining Moment…. Who?

Sometimes it pays to be the worst team in the MLB because you gain the #1 pick in the Amateur Draft - whereas middle of the pack teams draft lesser players as the 1st round goes lower

Sometimes it pays to be the worst team in the MLB because you gain the #1 pick in the Amateur Draft – whereas middle of the pack teams draft lesser players as the 1st round goes lower.

It is almost head spinning to think about how quickly the Nats progressed. Mike Rizzo took over before the 2009 season and couldn’t salvage the wreck Jim Bowden left him. then in 2010 the Nats won 69 games, then 80 in 2011, and 98 last season in 2012. That is how fast history moves. Entire seasons reduced to clauses between commas. Yet here we are. Living in the moment always takes longer than remembering the moment, and from all estimations 2013 is going to be something to remember for the Washington Nationals.  ​

That doesn’t mean we should forget the past. I remember my first trip to Pittsburgh in 2009. Andrew McCutchen hit three homeruns and the Nationals were getting creamed by the Pirates, the Pirates. I had done a lot of sight seeing that day, and the cheers of the seldom happy Pirates fans around me was not helping my mood, and then Ron Villone came into the game. I turned to my wife and said, “Let’s go.” I do not walk out of baseball games.

In 2007 I sat through the Tigers putting up 13 runs against Jason Simontacchi, and a year later I would sit through Jason Marquis allowing ten runs in the first inning. Ron Villone drove me to madness, and that is worth remembering, because we fail to appreciate the now if we don’t remember what came before. ​

2010 was the real turning point. Think about all the terrible players the Nats put up with in 2008 and 2009, but before the 2010 season Elijah Dukes was cut and unlike Ron Villone or Mike MacDougal when Brian Bruney was terrible he was cut. Or he was cut after he refused an assignment to go to AAA because, “He wasn’t a minor league pitcher.” In more than a few ways Brian Bruney stands for all that was bad before 2010 and all that was good to come. The Nats were suddenly infused with a sense of responsibility and simply having a modicum of talent wasn’t enough for a player to survive. One by one the less talented and the trouble making players fell by the wayside. ​

2010 remains the height of good Nats memories. The team was good enough to be entertaining but bad enough to be fun. A trip to the ballpark was a stress free adventure where the team might win, they probably wouldn’t, but at least they would put up a fight. It also didn’t hurt that Nats fans got to witness first hand the self destruction of Nyjer Morgan and the big glimpse of the future when Stephen Strasburg debuted.

Still there to entertain and charm us were those expiring gentlemen Willie Harris, Wil Nieves, and for most of the season Cristian Guzman. 2010 was fun because it was filled with remnants of a not too distant awful past along with echos of the coming success. Strasburg, Storen, Espinosa, and Ramos all made their debuts and it was the last season of Harris, Nieves, Guzman, and Bergmann.   ​

There are very few Nationals fans who don’t have some 2010 memory they will smile about. It is the nexus of the old and the new. It was the door through which we stepped to leave behind a haunted past and arrive into the glorious future. Next time you see a Nats fan on the street walk up to them and say, “Wil Nieves.” and damn if they won’t smile fondly and respond, “Who?”​

Drafting Strasburg and Harper in back to back years expedited the franchises rebuild.

Drafting Strasburg and Harper in back to back years expedited the franchises rebuild. They have gone from predictions for their season to approach record losses – to now being the favorites to win the 2013 World Series amongst the Baseball Media.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to our ‘Nationals Correspondent’ David Huzzard for preparing today’s featured article.  David  is a Pro bono sports writer for Citizens of Natstown, We Love DC, and Blown Save Win. His also the Co-host of The Citizens of Natstown podcast.  David is from Fairfax, Va.  You can follow him on Twitter and talk about the game of baseball.  

a    david huzzard

Don’t forget to also follow the Citizens of Natstown on Twitter too.   MLB Reports has teamed up with Citizens of Natstown – to deliver the best Nats coverage we can to as many readers possible.  Check out their dedicated page we have for them at the Reports here .  They will have one additional article placed there per week, so bookmark it – and also check them out at their website for all of the Natstown archived articles here.

a     citizens of natstown

Visit the links for their 1st annual Citizens of Natstown Book:

Barnes and Noble Link here

Amazon Link here

Apple/ITunes Link here

For just $3 – you will receive all the information to go ahead on the 2013 season to your favorite reading device -plus reflect on a 98 Win year in 2012.  Don’t forget to bring your #Natitude! – #LetTeddyWinin2013 and rock #Natstown!

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on March 7, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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