I went to the Cubs @ Nats game earlier tonight. I know the Nats aren’t playing too well and have the worst record in the MLB, but I still LOVE having major league baseball back in town. I was at the Red Sox – Nats series a couple of weeks ago where Nats Park was completely sold out — Red Sox Nation travels well. I was expecting the same thing from Cubs fans but that wasn’t the case. There were about 27,000 fans at tonight’s game.
Tonight was Game 1 under the new management regime of Jim Riggleman. Unfortunately, they played just like they did under Manny Acta. Overall, they played pretty well but they had a couple of errors and a bad mistake on the base paths (getting picked off 1st base in a 2-run game is inexcusable).
But, I firmly believe in what the Nats are doing. I like the foundation they’re building with the pitching staff. Pitching and defense are keys to building a winning club. And, I like the young arms they have in the current rotation as well as the minors. Yes, they HAVE to sign the number one pick, Strasburg. I know his agent is going to try to hold the team ransom but I think they’ll be able to work something out.
They also have a legitimate line-up, unlike last year’s squad. They have a number of major league caliber hitters up and down the line-up … Morgan, Guzman, Johnson, Zimmy, Dunn, Willingham, etc. Dunn is among the league leaders in homers and Zimmy, Johnson and Guzman are hitting above .300.
It takes a while to build a winning club. The Expos had their minor league system completely depleted. It’s smart to build the foundation first, then let the younger players develop. This is much than trying to add older, expensive free agents (what both the Orioles and Redskins have tried to do but without much success on the field). Give it time, DC, the Nats will come around. We’ll have a winning, competitive team on the field in a couple of years. For now, appreciate the beautiful ballpark and enjoy watching MLB action (it’s much better than not having any baseball here – as was the case for the previous 35+ years).