Photo by Ian Koski / Nationals Daily News
The Washington Nationals have never done much to acknowledge their baseball heritage. Those who deem themselves the “Locals Only” group perish and cringe at the thought of associating themselves with the Montreal Expos. Others, more notably known as District transplants, appease the “Locals Only” folks by stating it would be a shame to not honor the days of baseball’s past.
Both sides are right in their own respects because there is no wrong answer here. Baseball is supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to cause a fuss or commotion among a new and growing fan base. The Expos are the past, the Nationals are the future, and it’s time to coexist in a place within the baseball space-time continuum where everyone involved shows signs of mutual respect for each other.
With that said, I would strongly recommend attending tonight’s Nationals home game against the Florida Marlins. Why? The Nationals are taking a step toward remembering those who came before them in their franchise by unveiling the Hall of Fame Ring of Honor above the Lexus President’s Club seats.
The guidelines to be added to the ring are that the player had to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the player had to be associated with the Montreal Expos, Homestead Grays, Washington Senators or Washington Nationals, and the player had to have had significant years with those teams.
Players including Joe Cronin, Rick Ferrell, Goose Goslin, Clark Griffith, Bucky Harris, Walter Johnson, Harmon Killebrew, Heinie Manush, Sam Rice, and Early Wynn of the Washington Senators as well as Cool Papa Bell, Ray Brown, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Cumberland Posey, and Jud Wilson of the Homestead Grays are featured, but so are two Hall of Famers who will be in attendance at tonight’s game.
The newly inducted Hall of Fame outfielder Andre Dawson (who went into the hall as an Expo) will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Gary Carter (who was inducted as an Expo in 2003).
This is a step forward, not back, for a franchise looking to solidify themselves in the hearts of the baseball faithful and is the first can’t-miss event since Stephen Strasburg’s Major League debut June 8. If you need an added incentive, young Strasburg is scheduled to make his first start since coming off the 15 day disabled list.
The reason you show up remains insignificant to the history taking place. It should be quite a night.
Tickets are still available. Game starts at 7:05, but get there early. Events should start around 6:30 or so.