Despite being considered among the most powerful cities in the world, and certainly the most powerful politically, when it comes to sports, DC has long been considered a city filled with lovable losers. Something is certainly shifting, as the Capitals and Wizards have both advanced to the second round of their respective playoffs, and the Redskins are finally showing sense in the front office. Logic would suggest that these positive experiences should be rubbing off on the Nationals, right? Well, not exactly, but for the most part, yes.
If you were to pick the song that symbolized D.C. sports the most, “Hail to the Redskins” would be the answer from almost anyone. Just not me.
As D.C. counts down the days until the 2014 Draft, where the Redskins have lost their first-round pick, again to the Rams, still owing them for the R.G.3 trade, and will in all likelihood, if history repeats itself, go away from the idea they need to pick a pass defense or an offensive line. But we don’t care – who doesn’t love the Redskins in this city, and consider the Spring and Summer “The dark months”? No matter how good the Caps, Wizards and Nats are, most Washingtonians have a little thought in the back of their head, “This is our year – this is the year the Redskins win it all”. While we’ve had that thought many times, the closest we’ve ever gotten (this century) is two first round playoff losses to Seattle.
I understand the longing for a possible championship team. However, that team is already here. That team is the Washington Nationals.
As pitchers and catchers report this thursday, the disappointment that was the 2013 season is no longer in the heads of Nats fans. The boys of summer are heading down to Viera, Florida as we read, and hope is full in our hearts. But this isn’t like saying that the Redskins are going to win the Super Bowl this year, just because of a winning record. The Nats have every single piece ready and waiting – there is no hole visible in the roster. They proved two years ago that they have the potential to go, and to win the World Series. After a humbling experience last year, I believe this year, they can have the season everybody expects of them.
But this isn’t the problem. The problem does not lie in new manager Matt Williams or in twenty one year old left fielder Bryce Harper. No, we are the problem.
Two years ago, the slogan was “Ignite your Natitude”. And oh, we ignited it, with record crowds and a division title. However, D.C. has still yet to “Embrace their Natitude”. Embracing your Natitude does not mean going to fifty games a year or going down to Viera, F.L. for all of Spring Training, but bringing your most excited and most enthusiastic attitude to the ballpark, and cheering as loud as possible. It does not mean watching Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo each night (although I personally enjoy that). Instead, it means just talking about the Nats at school or work or wherever you spend your time, or just simply sticking a Nats bumper sticker on your car. Embracing your Natitude means believing that the Nats can win a championship, just being excited, and until November, silencing that Redskins voice inside your head.
The Nats have a great chance this year. However, with this city’s attitude, it feels like it could be wasted on the majority of us. So go ahead. It’s time to embrace your Natitude.