Friday, October 14, 2016

The Tragedy of Washington Sports Teams

Ninety-two years.  That's a long time to wait.  1924 was the last time that a Washington baseball team won a post season series.  And it just grew by one more.  Despite winning the National League East and having one of the most formidable starting rotations in baseball, the Washington Nationals lost last night in game 5 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The season is over.

As most you all know, dear readers, I grew up in New York, rooting for the team that plays baseball in the Bronx.  I was never a big fan of the guys that played in that "purple stadium" in Queens.  When I came to DC, I signed on with the Nationals as soon as they arrived.  I went to Opening Day for the first several seasons and made it to at least half a dozen games each season.  At some point I will have season tickets for the team.  I would tell my New York friends that I was fine rooting for the Nats - it was only if they made it to the World Series against the Yankees that I would find myself in a dilemma.  With the way that both teams have been playing the last few seasons, I'm OK for now.

I stayed up to watch the entire game and sat on the edge of my seat as the Nationals put the tying and go ahead runs on base in the bottom of the night.  Then I held the remote in my hand for the final at-bat, with my finger on the power button, and turned it off seconds after the last swing.  Mrs. BA and I had allowed LBA and SoBA to watch the beginning of the game - sending them to bed when the Nationals were up 1-0.  I didn't have the heart to tell either of them this morning - though LBA had learned the outcome from his device.  We didn't discuss it.

I don't really have a solution for the team - I guess if I did, I'd be in the dugout with Dusty.  But I do think there is something to be said for the curse that afflicts the sports teams in the Capital City.  The Nationals will get there at some point, hopefully before they hit the century mark of a postseason win drought.

In related news, the National Hockey League started its season and the Washington Capitals had their first game last night, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I am not in a position to comment on that team's successes and failures, my friend ADR has lived with them much longer than I.  Again, as noted, I am a New Yorker by birth and grew up with my allegiance pledged to the New York Rangers.  It has made for some tense conversations with ADR, especially at playoff time.  I can root for the Caps, and do so, except when the Rangers face off against them, which happens a fair number of times during the season and often during the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The Rangers know of Cup droughts, going more that 40 years between Cup wins.  The Caps haven't hoisted the Cup yet and continue to perform above expectations each season.  With the dawn of each season, there is hope.  But here in Washington, sadness and anger smack us again at the end of a season, with goals unfulfilled.  Here's to another great season and that maybe, this is the year.

I won't comment on the basketball team - I'm not a big fan of the bouncy ball and the sport doesn't really do it for me.  I do like college basketball and will watch March Madness.  But other than that, I can't get excited about it.  As to the Washington football team, I don't particularly care about that sport either, I was never a big football fan growing up, but as I will say, if you pin me down, I was a fan of the Giants over the Jets.  Now, while the team that currently plays football here has won the Super Bowl, I really believe that they won't (or can't) win again until the weasel owner of the team is gone.  I don't really care about the name controversy, I suppose it should change, but he's not in favor of that, so that sort of puts me on the other side of that issue, if only to be in opposition to him.

Finally, as a parent of two boys engaged in soccer for their fall sport, this is one that I really don't get.  Maybe I just don't understand it well enough - but there is nothing more mind numbing that watching players run up and down a field, with the occasional (and infrequent) goal here and there.  But I'll root for the Cheverly teams any day of the week and twice on Sundays (which is usually the case with both of them playing games on Saturdays and Sundays for the next few weeks.

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