A True Nats Comeback Story
Greetings from The Booth!
This week’s VFB was to have been a preview of the Shenandoah University Hornets football opener with Methodist University. Hurricane Dorian had other ideas, as the monster storm forced the Monarchs to close their Fayetteville (NC) campus. Instead, the Hornets will open their 2019 season a week late, as we travel to NC Wesleyan next Saturday. Seeing the incredible damage that Dorian inflicted on the Bahamas reminded us all that there are more important things than football…
So, this week I want to talk about not one, but two comebacks that happened in DC this week. The first is the epic 9th inning comeback by the Nationals on Tuesday night. Trailing 10-4 in the bottom of the ninth , the Nats scored 7 runs to walk off the New York Mets. It was the biggest comeback in franchise history, and erased what was up to that point a miserable night for the Nationals filled with base running blunders and fielding faux pas.
Heading into that memorable bottom of the ninth, the Mets were given a 99.9 percent probabililty of winning that game. In franchise history, the Nats had never won a game trailing by 6 runs or more in the 9th inning. and the Mets had never lost one. If you believe in the phrase “team of destiny”, this game was fuel for your fire.
But, almost predictably, the Nationals, seemingly hung over from the giddy celebration of the night before, came back to Earth in an 8-4 loss to the dreaded Metropolitans.
The Tuesday night miracle was not the week’s only comeback for the Nats, though. An even bigger comeback might have been that of Aaron Barrett, who fought his way back to the major leagues after 2 horrific arm injuries, not to mention ankle surgery.
Barrett hadn’t pitched in the “show” since 2015 when he was a reliever for the Nationals. Then came the injuries, the Tommy John surgery, the 16 screws in his arm, and the painful rehab. Most would have called it a career, but the 31 year-old Barrett never gave up, playing alongside teenagers in Class-A ball, eventually getting to Double-A Harrisburg, about 2 and a half hours from Washington, but light years from the majors. All along he would say “why not me?” instead of “why me?”
Someone was watching. The Nationals noticed his 31 saves, most in the Eastern League, and early this week Barrett got The Call. In an emotional Wednesday filled with hugs and tears, Aaron Barrett made his way through the Nationals clubhouse, greeted by his teammates. He was back in the Bigs.
If you were writing a Hollywood script, no one would buy these two comeback stories. But in a season that started out so badly at 19-31 but is now looking like there will be postseason baseball in the Nation’s Capital, reality is better than fantasy.
Until next week, when we revisit SU football…GO NATS! GO HORNETS!