The Washington Nationals rang in their ninth year of DC baseball on Monday afternoon in front of a record-setting regular-season crowd of 45,274. They went on to defeat the Miami Marlins 2-0. The day’s events celebrated both their historic 2012 run and the start of a highly anticipation 2013 season.
An Ideal Scenario
2012 was the most successful year in Nats history by far. The Nats touted the best record in all of baseball with 98 wins and 64 losses, four players made it to the All-Star game, several players earned Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards, Manager Davey Johnson was named Manager of the Year, Bryce Harper won the National League Rookie of the Year Award as a 19-year-old, Executive Vice Present of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo was named Executive of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA, and they won their first National League East Division Title.
Despite the inevitable growing pains endured during their first few years and the dismal losing records posted in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the Nats are headed in the right direction thanks to Rizzo building this team from the bottom up. Continue reading →
The 2012 Washington Nationals can and will be remembered in a few different ways. Some will see it as a successful season riddled with historic milestones achieved by a team who competed well beyond anyone’s spring training predictions. Others will remember it for the gut-wrenching two-run loss induced by a ninth inning collapse versus the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in Game Five of the National League Division Series after being up 6-0.
But maybe there’s a happy medium between the two extremes?
Washington baseball in the modern era organically evolved into a devotion-based fan obsession upon the May inception of #Natitude. The play-on-words marketing strategy, endorsed by the Nationals’ Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer, peaked people’s interest enough to follow the team on its journey toward becoming a contender. And this is all in addition to the incredibly devout season ticket holders and fans who’ve been supportive of the team since 2005 — the Nationals’ inaugural season.
Since that time, the already active community of voices in support of the team on Twitter has increased in size, seats in the ballpark were filled willingly, and a Photoshop trend became the norm for expressing one’s thoughts surrounding the team and its players. Record attendance numbers and television ratings were tallied. The Nats made it to the playoffs for the first time in team history. These are all positive changes when compared to season’s past.
While the Nationals toiled in San Francisco (a game they would lose 5-4 in 13 innings), the front office staff and general manager Mike Rizzo were busy in the war rooms at Nationals Park working out who they would take in the MLB Entry Draft yesterday.
The Nationals have enjoyed the first pick in each of the last two drafts, putting them in the position to take Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, two of the strongest draft picks that the sport has had to offer in a generation. The Nationals added 3B Anthony Rendon with the sixth pick in the draft after three years at Rice University where he hit .371 with 46 doubles, 52 homers and just under 200 RBI in 187 games. Rendon, whose 21st birthday was yesterday, is 6′, 190lbs and was considered to be a plus defender at third, though was quick to tell reporters he’d be happy to play anywhere, so long as it meant playing. Continue reading →
The deal came down to within the last minute, but it got done, and Bryce Harper has signed a $9.9Mmajor league contract with the Washington Nationals. The high-school and junior-college phenom is likely the most touted signing of an offensive player since Mark Teixeira in 2001. Harper will likely play right field in the Nationals organization. His first stop will be the Gulf Coast League, as soon as possible, followed by the Arizona Fall League. Before that, though, Harper will come and spend a few days with the big club next week, including a possible BP session, and get acquainted with the concept of playing professional baseball day in, day out.
The Nationals spent just under $14M yesterday signing four of their top picks. Sammy Solis, and A.J. Cole, both starting pitchers, went for $1M and $2M respectively, and also signed pitcher Robbie Ray for $799,900. All told, the Nationals signed 25 of their top 26 picks, with just one deferring entry to finish college.