Sunday, October 02, 2005

Say It Ain't So

Argh! The Nats finished the year with a loss (and a sweep) to the hated Phillies. The Phillies and their fans disgust me.

But never mind...the season has ended and the Nats went 81-81. I think that record is so appropriate given the dichotomy between the first and second halves. The team went 50-31 the first half and 31-50 the second half...night and day, X and Y, etc.

My emotions are so mixed right now. It was such an amazing, special summer to have this team in DC playing the way they did with the circumstances they were faced with. It was magical seeing old RFK brought back to life and such a pleasant surprise to see a large, die-hard fan base come out of the woodwork. But the season was so heartbreaking! The first half had us dreaming big dreams, dreams that would die a slow, frustrating death in July, August and September. I think the low point for me was Cordero's grand slam in San Diego.

And now I'm even more heartbroken that the season is over. There are so many open-ended developments just waiting to be resolved, and now we'll have to wait weeks or months at a time, instead of hours at a time, to find out what's new with the Nats. For my part, I don't want it to end. It's all been so magical. I've enjoyed going to RFK, watching the games on TV and checking the score each night before bed to find out the night's outcome. But hey, it's only 182 days until Opening Day.

Part of the reason that I don't want the season to end is a deep unease I feel with this ownership situation. I dread that we haven't seen the last of the battles between Linda Cropp and MLB. My nightmare scenario plays out like this: baseball gives the team to Smulyan. DC council, led by Cropp (in an election year) decides to counter-attack by refusing to pony up for the new park. Smulyan/MLB retaliate by moving the team. Does anyone else share this fear? I don't think this will happen, but I won't breathe easy until the team puts down some deeper roots in this area. The deepest roots of all would be getting a new owner with strong local ties and a construction crew digging on the banks of the Anacostia this spring.

In any event, it's been a hell of a season, and I'm proud to be a Nationals fan.