I had a weekend to contemplate my entry for the Tap Room today, and, well, I couldn’t quite get beyond what happened in the baseball postseason.
Somehow, the Washington Nationals got through the Stephen Strasburg controversy, won Game 4 at Wrigley Field and then still lost the National League Division Series to the Chicago Cubs at home.
And the pesky New York Yankees, who are supposed to be a year or two away, knocked off the invincible Cleveland Indians and are in the American League Championship Series against the pre-ordained champion/sentimental favorite Houston Astros.
I love baseball. Just love it.
No professional playoffs are as much fun to watch — maybe the NHL’s, but hockey doesn’t really pick up steam for me until the Stanley Cup finals.
Anyway, while following this week’s baseball action, I was stunned by the aftermath in Washington involving Nationals fans. Watching several video pieces, it just seemed like they aren’t bitter that their exceptionally fine team exited the playoffs early again, the way Orioles fans seem to be at the end of every season.
No, it just seems like Nats fans are now numb to it. They are now expecting for the worst to happen and resigned to heartbreak – and that’s a bad place to live.
Consider that the Nationals have won 95 or more games and the National League East in four of the past six seasons, and have never won a playoff series in their history.
The Orioles haven’t had close to that kind of in-season success recently, but they’ve at least advanced to the ALCS once in the last few years (2014).
In their 13 seasons of existence, the Nationals have only had two years in which they have had a worse record than the Orioles – in 2008 and 2009. Those years, the Nats were the worst in baseball, had the top pick in the following draft and landed Strasburg and Bryce Harper, twice-in-a-lifetime talents.
And yet they’ve never won a playoff series, and have lost three of four in the final game. It made me wonder whether it’s more difficult to be a Nationals fan than an O’s fan these days.
Certainly, the Nationals are better set up for the immediate future, even though they’ll potentially lose Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez after the 2018 season. But they have stars such as Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Strasburg locked up for several more seasons.
The Orioles’ future is a little cloudier after the 2018 season – heck, even the 2018 season is a bit murky until the front office figures out what to do with a sketchy rotation. So, it’s not all cookies and cream for Orioles fans either, obviously. And let’s not forget that the Orioles finished in last in the AL East while the Nats won the NL East.
Still, the question seems appropriate: Which fan base has it worse at this moment?
The one that is basically assured a good team for the next few years, but seemingly has a black cloud around it or the one that has made the playoffs every other year in the past six but hasn’t made the World Series since 1983?
I’d say the Nationals are in a better spot to win in the future, but, at this moment, Nats fans are in a worse situation because their team – and all of the city’s sports’ franchises – are viewed as underachievers.
I’ll be interested to read what you have to say in the Tap Room today, since most people here are O’s fans, but many are jaded, too.
So, have at it.
Tap-In Question: Which fan base has it worse right now: O’s or Nats?