Opinion: One Year Later, It’s Time To Let Go of Game 5

WARNING:  The following post goes against conventional fan logic and feelings, asking readers to consider a viewpoint they likely do not agree with.  The post espouses an opinion on what you, the reader, may care to adopt as an attitude, or feeling, toward the sport of baseball and, in particular, the Washington Nationals.  It is not, however, an attempt at fan police or making you do something you don’t want to do.  

It’s just an opinion piece. It’s meant to be agreed and disagreed with.  I’m not sure why I feel I need to explain that, but I do. 

So, for your consideration…

Dear Natstown,

With the World Series over, and Boston victorious it’s time we had a talk.

It’s time to let go of the Cardinals.  It’s time let go of Pete F. Kozma. It’s time to move on, and move up and move forward.  It’s time for a little self reflection and a lot  of honesty.  While I understand the instinct to root against the Cardinals (The enemy of my enemy…) it is time to accept the the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t do anything to you, they were just there when it happened.

This is not the Hatfield and McCoys.

One year later, it’s time to be honest with ourselves:  Hating the Cards (and PFK) is more about hating that the Nats lost Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS.    While an emotional lightning rod can be good during the storm, at some point it’s just a bunch of displaced anger-and that’s not good for anyone.  Displaced Anger is not something worth holding on to.  (Or any anger, but one step at a time I suppose).

At first, all the jokes were great.  #ThingsPeteKozmaDoes was fantastic. And rooting for them to lose?  Sure.  They collapsed against the Giants in 2012, and many Nats fans were delighted the Boston Red Sox dispatched with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th game of the 2013 World Series.  Surrogate big brothers, righting a wrong done by a bully on the school yard.

But let’s be clear-those teams weren’t fightin’ for ol’ DC.  Nor were the Cardinals thinking they needed to win those series to prove that beating DC wasn’t a fluke.  When the Sox were up 6-0 in Game 6, despite all of our tweets to “be careful!”, no one was thinking about DC.  That was just our own particular brand of Shell Shock kicking in.

There is no rational person (or team) who’d shy away from a 6-0 lead over anyone in any inning.  Why? Because the Cardinals, just like every other team, loses nearly all the games they are down 6-0 in.

Sorry-but in the grand scheme of things our “Game 5” is a footnote.  It’s nothing in the sweep of baseball history.  It was a really exciting, improbable game that happened-just like a million other exciting, improbably baseball games.  Game 5 of the NLDS just happened to end the Nats season.  Cardinals fans rejoiced, Nats fans lamented.  Some Cubs and Pirates fans were annoyed, some Braves and Phillies fans laughed-and the rest of the baseball world just went on without us.

What’s that saying? Nothing is quite like your first love?  Well, nothing is quite like your first heartbreak either.  Washington D.C. was broken up bad over that game, and it stewed and stewed all off-season.  It went from making jokes about their ex, to obsessing about who they were dating and how they were doing.  We Facebook stalked the Cardinals right up until we met up with them both in DC and St. Louis.

It didn’t go so well when the teams played this year.

Now look-you can go on hating the Cardinals. I can’t tell you what to do.  You can say Pete EFFING Kozma every time someone brings him up.  But tell me: What do you think of that friend that can’t get over the ex?  Yeah.  That’s what I thought.

More to the point, it’s about facing reality for what it is.  You can be mad at the Cards all you want-but there is little doubt that St. Louis didn’t take that game away from DC. Washington blew that game.  From cold bats in the middle of the game, to Gio Gonzalez failing to throw strikes with a 6-0 lead (Compare John Lackey who informed the whole team that “This is My Guy!”), to Davey Johnson playing fast and loose with Edwin Jackson when Ryan Mattheus was available, all the way to the local scapegoat, Drew Storen.

The Cardinals didn’t lose a ball in the LF corner. The Cardinals didn’t fail to check the runner at first for what should have been a very easy out.  The Nationals did all that.  They lost a baseball game they should have won. Simple as that.

And because we, as fans, identify so closely with the team, it is real easy to take all that anger and hurt and what not and put it inside and then back out at a guy who is, by nearly all accounts, AAAA baseball player who just happened to be holding the bat.

The people in St. Louis hate Pete Kozma…why be like that, here?

It’s time for the healing, DC, and the healing don’t happen to you let go of the stuff that holds you back.  2012 was fun, but it wasn’t everything.  Every franchise has losses like that, even in the playoffs.  They don’t get easier, but they don’t last for ever either.

We aren’t special snowflakes.  We aren’t the only people to be disappointed in sports.  This isn’t UNC v Duke, or Dallas v. Washington.  It wasn’t wide-right or Buckner or even Bartman (talk about misplaced anger!).

It was just a game.  Listen up Will, It’s Not Your Fault, okay?

The monsters are dead.  The Cardinals lost, again, and it didn’t bring anything back.  It didn’t make anything better. It’s over.  2012 is over and most of us spent all of 2013 dwelling on 2012, making the struggles of the club all the worse to experience.

Let’s not all make the same mistake in 2014.  Maybe if we leave 2012 in the past, the team will too.  Onward and Upward, Natstown!

6 thoughts on “Opinion: One Year Later, It’s Time To Let Go of Game 5

    • Oh, totally agree here. Tho I’d rather not blame the Cardinals for Joe Strauss OR BestFansStLouis directly on the Cardinals.

      But yeah, I think JS is deserving of the grief given him since he keeps courting it.

  1. Pingback: Get to Know a Nat 2014: Drew Storen | Nationals 101

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