Even though I'm using downtime from my vacation to get a move-on with "The Other 29", I took all of the pictures I'm using a while back, so at this point, it's really just adding words to the pictures. The easy part is taken care of. Trust me, I'm not one of those guys who's missing out on the fun stuff to take care stupid stuff like writing about the Nationals.
Speaking of the team in our nation's capital, we are now at the halfway mark of our countdown.
Just in case you were wondering when this was all going to end.
DO I LIKE 'EM?
Better than most, less than others
SHARE MY FEELINGS?
I love rooting for the underdog, and the Nationals have been the underdog for a while. With the young crop of star players, the underdog moniker may not fit them any longer, so we'll see if my feelings change about them. I will say this... despite the hype around Stephen Strasburg, I didn't get tired of hearing about him. The same goes for all the hype surrounding Bryce Harper. Still, if it turns out that last year was their best shot at going deep into the postseason and they blew it by not using Stras, somebody should be fired.
One of my most memorable baseball moments was a game that I went to with my grandpa, where the Padres got destroyed by the Expos by something like 13-1. Despite the incredibly lopsided score, my grandpa remained overly optimistic, cheering as loud as he could for even the most routine of occurrences. "Nice hit!" "Great pitch!" "At least it wasn't a home run!" That game may have instilled in me an irrational optimism that is required to be a true Padres fan. For that, I kinda liked the Expos, and it's spilled over into the recent incarnation of the Nationals.
As far as player connections, Stephen Strasburg was on a San Diego State team managed by Tony Gwynn. Xavier Nady, who played for the Nats, was originally drafted by the Padres. Plenty of players have gone from Montreal to San Diego, but none more awesome than Archi Cianfrocco. Cliff Floyd and Jason Bay also spent time on both clubs.
Former: Dennis Martinez
Current: Bryce Harper
LEAST FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Ugueth Urbina
Current: Jayson Werth
I would put these three cards up against any other three cards from "The Other 29". I'm not sure that I have a better trio from another team. Awesome fielding shot from a pitcher with his eyes closed? Check. Another pitcher with a bunch of candy and a sheepish grin? Check. Three powder blue rookies that actually turned out to be pretty good? Check, check, check.
I just love seeing these two cards side by side, from the original 1977 set and from last year's Archives set. Long live The Kid.
From left to right; a former Friar, a Cal State Fullerton alum, a player with a first name similar to mine, and a current coach for the Round Rock Express. Never enough excuses to show cards from '92 Pinnacle and '91 Fleer.
Now onto the Nationals side of things. Kurt Suzuki, another Cal State Fullerton alum, is my second favorite player on the team, although I still wish he was on the A's. Xavier Nady looks good in the patriotic uniforms in the top left. The bottom three cards from last year's Archives set look sharp, with Ryan Zimmerman winning the award for most legible signature, with Drew Storen placing last in the competition.
As long as we're talking about different incarnations of teams related to Washington, here's yet another card from last year's Archives set showing Frank Howard during his Washington Senators days. I think this post sets the record for five cards from the Archives set. Go crazy.
I say that they repeat as NL East Champions, Bryce Harper has an even better sophomore season, and Stephen Strasburg is a legit Cy Young contender.