All anybody could talk about before Saturday’s Game Two of the NLDS in Washington, D.C. was the pitching match-up scheduled to start the game – San Francisco’s Tim Hudson versus Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann. Six hours and twenty-three minutes plus eighteen innings later, the longest game in recorded playoff history wrapped up and the San Francisco Giants advanced to game three with a 2-0 lead in the five-game series by beating the Nationals 2-1.
Hudson – who is notorious for his successful and often dominant outings against the Nationals – was going to be a struggle for the Nats but Washington went into the game planning to be patient with him. On the other hand, Zimmermann was fresh and just six days removed from his historical no-hitter on the final day of the 2014 regular season. The match-up made the first nine innings what they were but the final nine innings played are the reason the evening’s game turned into the longest playoff game ever played.
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.