The Nationals Won the World Series but still have a long winter ahead

Wesley Shoemaker, Sports Editor

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On October 30, 2019 at 11:50, as fans all around the Washington D.C. area watched their televisions, and as Daniel Hudson’s pitch rifled into Yan Gomes’ glove, the Washington Nationals stood atop of the baseball world. 

Fifteen years ago, when the team came from Montreal to Washington this moment seemed like just a dream. Even this year when the team was the second worst in the National League this moment seemed far away. But throughout the summer, as the Nationals kept winning, a playoff berth felt possible. This Cinderella story was furthered throughout the Nationals whole playoff run. 

In the Wild Card game it was Juan Soto, a twenty year old who hit a 2 out three-run double to give the Nationals the win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Then after the Nationals were down in the 8th inning at Dodger Stadium in a decisive Game 5 of the National League Division Series, it was Rendon and Soto who hit back to back home runs, followed by Howie Kendrick who hit a go ahead grand slam. That was the first playoff series the Nationals ever won. Then in the National League Championship series, the Nationals were again led by Rendon, and Kendrick sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals. Then for the first time in 95 years, a World Series game would be played in the District. Nationals fan senior Katherine Badia said “[the Nationals] had the smallest chance of making it at the beginning of the season and they defied all odds and made it. ”

The Nationals World Series run started off to a great start winning the first two games in Houston, led by pitchers Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg. As the Nats came home the excitement built, as a three game series in Washington was going to give the Nationals to win the World Series at home. Nationals Park filled up with 44,000 plus each night, but it was the Astros fans that went home happy, as they swept all three games. Badilla explained that she felt “when they were down 3-2 I had some doubt but I knew that if we made it this far it wasn’t for nothing so we would overcome it and tie [the series].”

While Nationals fans had doubt Sophomore Rebekah Pase said “when [the Astros] won the fifth game, [she] was ecstatic, and thinking maybe [the Astros] will win again” after the Astros previously took home the title in 2017. 

In Game Six, the Nationals won on the back of Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg pitched 8 ⅓ inning allowing only 2 runs, and forcing a crucial game seven. 

Game seven, many call it the greatest two words in sports. The Astros dominated the whole game, but in the seventh inning the Nationals prevailed yet again. Rendon, hit a crucial home run to make the game 2-1, followed later by Kendrick who hit the most infamous home run in franchise history, hitting a two-run home run off of the right field foul pole, giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. The Nationals never looked back, winning 6-2, and bringing joy to everyone in the Washington DC area. 

Many Nationals fans around the school rejoiced, bringing another title team to the area. Senior Chase van der Have said “it was euphoric.” Sophomore Caroline Lehman said that “it felt surreal, like I could breathe again but also like I was going to explode with joy.” 

While the victory brought one team joy, it brought another team agony, blowing a late game lead in Game seven. Pase said “what went wrong was just not enough drive” but she was “excit[ed] to see my home team being [in] the World Series” to begin with. 

As the Nationals season came to an end so did many contracts. Rendon, who finished third in National League Most Valuable Player voting and who has spent his whole baseball career in a Nationals uniform is the biggest free agent this winter. Strasburg who won the World Series MVP, opted out of his contract becoming a free agent as well. Along with them Kendrick, Hudson, Gomes, and face of the franchise Ryan Zimmerman all became free agents. Fans also felt that Strasburg and Rendon were the most important to the Nationals success. Badilla said “I think they were equally as important because we had moments where our offense and defense weren’t doing too good and they both stepped up and did their part to help us get to where we did.” At the Nationals Championship Parade, shortstop Trea Turner asked the whole world “can we bring back Anthony Rendon?” 

Players and fans alike agree that Rendon and Strasburg were crucial to the title run. In addition to them, many people knew the name Gerrardo Parra. Many people knew the Nationals for Parra’s walk up song “Baby Shark.” Parra was very influential in the team’s success, being a leader and helped relax the whole team. Parra recently signed with the Yomiuri Giants, a professional team in Japan. 

In order for the Nationals to compete in a tough National League East next season, many think Rendon or Strasburg has to be in their plans. As for now all fans can do is wait for the bombshell of a contract, ending in Rendon or Strasburg either wearing a Nationals uniform, or a new uniform for the first time in their career.