The Nationals are putting the wild into Wild Card team. And that’s a great thing.
It turns out four runaway division titles from 2012-17 weren’t the best path through the playoffs for the Nats. They lacked the needed fight in deciding games because things came too easily all season. Three Game 5 heart-breakers overshadowed a stellar half-decade of baseball.
This is a new Natitude. Two homers on two pitches thrown by one of the game’s great contemporary pitchers, Clayton Kershaw, made it 3-3 in the eighth. Suddenly, an evening of misery turned into an opportunity to steal the series.
And maybe we’ll soon no longer talk about Walter Johnson from nearly a century ago winning the city’s only World Series in 1924. There will be new tales of triumph in a town that so desperately needs them. Maybe even a Kendrick High School in the suburbs.
It won’t be easy. It’s St. Louis’ fifth NLCS in nine years. They posted 10 runs in the first inning hours before the Nationals started to turn the Cardinals’ deciding fifth game into a 13-1 rout of Atlanta. The Cards know how to win in October. The Nats are just learning.
Maybe the Nats have already made it a successful season by finally winning a playoff series. But, suddenly, that’s not enough. The hunger grows. A pennant. A title. A parade down Constitution Ave.
Title Town comes to Washington. Man does that sound good.