On June 21st, I had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Dave Jageler. You might know him from the Nationals radio broadcasts on 106.7 The Fan or player interviews at occasions such as NatsFest. He had a lot of interesting things to say and knows lots about the Nats, and is also a pretty funny guy. So without any further ado…
This was the team that made D.C. dream. We cheered with them, cried with them, and sung “Take on Me” with them. 2012 was an incredible year for the Nationals.
Today, Mariano Rivera announced he will retire after this season, and the first season in quite a while will not have Chipper Jones on the Atlanta Braves’ lineup. Meanwhile, the two rookies of the year who started last year in the minors are the stars of their respective opening day lineups. Slowly but surely, a new era is emerging.
There are many players considered “The future of baseball.” Stephen Strasburg, Kris Medlen, Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel, and so many more. But none are more visible and prominent than these two, Trout and Harper.
They are the headliners for a new baseball player era that is beginning pretty much this year.
The game has changed so much, so by that definition, so have the players.
Sluggers are a rarity. The new superstars are players that can do it all. While you have to say that it is sad to see these legends go, you have to say baseball is changing – and I agree with people who say it’s changing for the better.
Harper at age 19, stole home in his second week of baseball at the major league level, hit .270, and 22 home runs. Trout was close to taking the MVP instead of the first Triple-Crown winner since 1969 – nearly dethroning him on average. That shows you the potential of these players. And players like Kimbrel, Medlen and Strasburg should be expected to have ace-caliber seasons. The minor leagues are stronger than ever – so don’t try and fight it.
These players are going to define the new age. All we can do is sit back and watch.
It’s looked promising for the past two or three years. The promised land was close. The ship was sailing, and others recognized the threat. Last year, only a last second blow from an eastern force kept them from destiny. Now the only thing lying between them and destiny – is the brother.
This isn’t a story of David and Goliath. There is no “Real” favorite. While one team looks a bit stronger then the other, you can’t pick this game right away.
Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh grew up competitors. But I don’t think they ever got to this level of competition in the backyard. The parents will be watching, that’s for sure. I don’t think they’ll be picking sides.
Both the Ravens and 49ers came painfully close last year. And now, one is going to come even more painfully close – and fall.
I am very excited for the super bowl, even though my Patriots aren’t there. Kapernick will add a second dimension to it – the first non “Power arm” quarterback in the super bowl for quite a while.
For Ray Lewis, this is his swansong. A loss here would mean eternal pain for him later on – to come so close in that final season only to lose. This isn’t just his battle though – he’s a general in the battle of the defenses.
It will be a slugfest, no doubt. But this game will mean even more than usual for the coaches – they could win, but send their brother home with pain. However, I think they both don’t care about that yet. Last year hurt too much to be sympathizing for the other. Right now, I think all they care about – and maybe all they will ever care about – is replacing those 2012 memories with 2013 victories.
Sidenote: I will do more pieces on the Harbowl, and will be doing the same thing with my super bowl prediction as last year, 4 quarters, 4 posts, 4 days, all ending on Super Bowl Sunday.
Sources say the Washington Nationals have signed Rafael Soriano to a 2 year, 28 million dollar contract. Don’t be surprised if next year’s slogan is World Series or bust.
This is just another signing for the Nats, like Denard Span, Dan Haren and others. But this is the biggest yet. Soriano is a great fit for the Nats, but it also shows that the Nats aren’t settling for “Good enough”. While last year was an incredible year for DC baseball, boasting baseball’s best record and a NL East division championship, this year looks even better.
Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann,, Gio Gonzalez, Ross Detwiler and more will have playoff experience, and look like a recipe for success.
Here’s another reason they look pretty darn good – 4 or 5 of their bench players could be starting on almost any other team, like Tyler Moore, Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina.
Also, injuries won’t be haunting them. Strasburg will be pitching an entire season, and presumably the playoffs, Zimmerman’s rest and surgery will mean he is ready to go, plus other players.
Also, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Miami do not look good at all this year, at all. The Nats’ young talent and veteran powers should make it extremely easy to propel them to another NL East division title.
But here’s the biggest thing this year: Everyone on the Nats knows they can do it. There is no doubt in any of their minds about this season. It isn’t a “Trial” – it’s real. They have the swagger and the team now.
So do I think the Nats are going to win the World Series?
That’s a clown question bro.