Don’t like baseball? Don’t feel like you know very much about it? Don’t think that should stop you from sounding like you do? Nats101 presents Talking Points, a weekly series designed to take advantage of the BSing nature of Washington D.C., and make you sound like a seamhead on your very first try. (And maybe learn ya some baseball while we’re at it).
ZOMG it’s Opening F#($*#$ Day!
- Okay, depending on where you are and who you are with, you may want to temper the language a bit. The point is, this is it: The day every baseball fanatic has been waiting for since the end of last October. (Hence my happy GIFs and Videos in the post today).
- Your Washington Nationals open the season today, Monday, in the fair city of New York. They will play their National League East rivals the New York Mets. Their first home game is Friday, against their other National League East rivals (and much better competition) the Atlanta Braves.
- The Mets are likely not to be very good. However, when you play 162 games in a year, and 18 against the Mets, the bad teams are going to win a few. The goal for the Nationals is to win 2 of the 3 games they plain in New York before they come back to DC. Winning all 3 would just be gravy.
- Try and put the radio (or TV if you can) on at work, 1 p.m., and listen to the game. Here are your TV and Radio listings.
- If you’re going Friday, great! Be sure and let everyone know that while you’re disappointed that Doug Fister’s health is stopping him from getting the start, you’re excited for Tanner Roark (Row-ark) to make a start.
- If you’re not going Friday, that stinks. Clearly it is because you can’t get off of work and you’re so jealous of the people who are going.
- There are more GIFs and videos and things below the line. Click it!
Look, I know Sports Illustrated picked the Nats to win the World Series last year and it all fell apart for them. But just because they picked them again doesn’t mean it will happen again. I know you’re from Boston-but trust me, there are no jinxes.
- This is for your friend who believes in jinxes, particularly sports jinxes. Thrown out are the number of times a person appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated and didn’t get injured-they only remember the times they did.
- So the SI prediction, and former manager Davey Johnson’s “World Series or Bust” didn’t have nearly anything to do with the Nats misfortunes in 2013. A good Braves team and a lot of Nats injuries had more to do with it than a few words in a magazine.
- Look, I’m not going to tell you what to believe and what not to believe. But Post Hoc ergo Propter Hoc is not a way to live your life. Ergo, don’t be scared of folks picking the Nats to do well. Experts aren’t always dead on right, but they are usually in the ball park. I’m much more comfortable with people picking the Nats near the top than near the bottom.
- Folks are always looking for something to blame, particularly with sports misfortune. You may be new to the concept if you’re really not a sports person, but its a pervasive and important phenomenon. It just doesn’t mean its real.
- Going forward, I think I’m going to take this last space to try and get you (the newly avid or still faking it baseball fan) to follow (or at least pretend you follow) some of the best Nats fans on twitter.
- Among the many tweeters I will commend unto you, I’m happy to call Luigi (@Ouij) my friend. He’s a brilliant baseball mind, his musical taste is impeccable, he takes hella great photographs, and can intelligently compare Bryce Harper’s swing to that of a cricketer.
- Luigi does a fun thing every year (we podcasted before about it) where he does a run expectancy evaluation of how the Nationals should do. It’s related to, but not exactly the same as, the pythagorean projections done by others.
- Last year, Luigi picked the Nats to win, like, a billion games. (okay 98 games. But that’s an insane number to pick). Like Sports Illustrated… it didn’t go according to plan.
- Following Luigi on twitter, I think its fair to say he lives by a sports-watching code along the lines of “expect the worst and be surprised when good things happen.” When the other team scores he can tell you exactly how much it reduced the Nats chances of winning, and often does so. His avatar was Dr. Doom forever. It’s like that.
- So one must imagine the dramatic scene in which a young lover (of the Nats), recovered from heartache the year before (Game 5) finally finds the courage to bare his soul and heart to another (season) and let himself believe love is possible (They can win 98 games!)….only to have that faith completely obliterated.
- Point is, if there is one guy who is apt to be cautious with what he thinks this team can do, it’s Luigi. He’s not a fool, and he’s not one to wade right back into the snake pit that bit him last time. His 98 game prediction was unfathomable. The entire weight of recent history, coupled with his already cautious disposition, would lead you to believe he couldn’t do the same again this year.
- Why am I telling you all of this? This morning Luigi projected 96 wins for the
21042014 club. “Once more into the breach…” as he said. And if he’s ready to take a chance again:
How can any of us not be? It’s spring gang. Hope springs eternal. Play ball.