No Joy In Mudville
If you haven’t noticed, there’s just a tiny “tease” of Fall in the air this week both literally and figuratively, as another season of High School football begins tonight around the area. Anticipation runs high as everyone is undefeated in week one, and hot Summer days give way to Friday Night lights. Here’s to successful and safe seasons for our area teams!
If you’re really “itchin'” for some college football, there are some games this weekend in so-called Week Zero. The major teams and conferences will lace ’em up next weekend. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for actual football to replace all the off-field news of 2018…
Well, it looks like we can finally stick a fork in the Washington Nationals for the 2018 season. As of this writing, the Nats are 8 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, and after a 12-1 drubbing last weekend against Miami, finally saw the writing on the wall, this week trading Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams for prospects and cash.
As the nonwaiver trade deadline approached, the Nationals made a decision (I think rightfully so) to stand pat, keep it’s team intact for a run at it’s third consecutive division crown. But the promised “run” never came as the Nats continued to take one step forward and two steps back, hovering around .500, while upstarts Atlanta and Philly have pulled away.
As for the trades, Adams and Murphy will be missed. Murphy was arguably one of the most popular Nationals players, grinding out every at-bat like it was Game 7 of the World Series, and gaining the nickname “Hits” for his many baseknocks. Adams was a pleasant surprise, filling in admirably for the injured Ryan Zimmerman.
I certainly get that the Nats had reached the point of this season being a lost cause, and had to start looking ahead to 2019 and beyond. Murphy and Adams were two players who were going to be free agents after this year, and surely would have tested the waters. The Nationals decided to get something for them now , than nothing later.
The problem I have is the way the moves were presented to the fan base. In a hastily-called press conference, Nats GM Mike Rizzo straddled the line between what is said and what is seen. Rizzo stuttered and stammered his way through the presser, telling us all that the ship was not sinking while the band was playing “Nearer My God To Thee.” Meanwhile, the Lerners were releasing an open letter to the fans, basically saying that the team had decided to look ahead to 2019. (For his part, Murphy looked like a man who was trying to identify the license number of the truck that had just hit him).
The National’s season has been the perfect storm of bad moves, bad breaks, and bad baseball. From the firing of Dusty Baker, the hiring of inexperienced Davey Martinez, to the underachieving mess of a team on-the-field, the 2018 campaign has been one of “what should have been” and “what will not be.”
I guess it’s only fitting that this week is the anniversary of the famous baseball poem “Casey At The Bat.” To paraphrase,
“There is no joy in DC…The mighty Nats have struck out.”
That’s it from The Booth. Next week, a preview of the Shenandoah University football opener against Methodist as we head to Fayetteville , NC. Until then…enjoy your high school football games…and GO HORNETS!