Sticking Up for the Nationals – Phillies Nation

Sticking Up for the Nationals

This was likely the wrong way to go about it, as the average fan struggles to see past the colors of its own team. That’s completely understandable. You pay good money to support your team – in this case, the Philadelphia Phillies – so you do not want to give props where props are due.

And you’re probably looking at that title and wondering why I’d write nice things about another team, within the division, no less. Well because we are fair and we wont be blinded by our fandom here at Phillies Nation (sometimes we will).

On Monday night via Facebook, I put up a seemingly innocuous post that read:

From the comments on that thread, you would have thought the Washington Nationals were the New Evil Empire. The reaction to that two-sentence paragraph led me to write this – and stick up for the Nationals.

(Note: this goes out to the Phillies fans who claimed they could not congratulate the Nationals for a number of reasons.)

The hate for Werth seems to run deep for Phils fans. (SI)

As fans, we often forget where we came from. In this instance, the Phillies were a floundering team playing in a hole at Veterans Stadium, turning in bottom-feeding season after bottom-feeding season. Hell, if it weren’t for a little bit of taxpayer money, and due to the fact that Philadelphia were one of the largest markets in the U.S., MLB probably would have thought long and hard about contracting the Phillies. I say that with a dash of sarcasm, but you get my point. Things were bad.

Not unlike in Montreal, where for decades, winning wasn’t an option. No one showed up to games at the old Olympic Stadium and we were forced to live in a world where Youppi! was no longer a major league mascot.

Let’s debunk some of these myths as to why WE should dislike the Nationals.

You: “I wish the Nationals nothing but failure because of the way they handled Stephen Strasburg.”

Me: Childish, but perhaps you feel as though the Nats made a mistake in sitting down their best pitcher for the postseason. I, too, believe it to be an massive error in philosophy within the organization. But you know what, it’s a move we aren’t used to.

So you almost have to applaud Nats GM Mike Rizzo in his approach, as he attempts to save the arm of a guy he hopes will be around a decade or more. By attempting to reduce the stress on his pitching arm, Rizzo would like Strasburg to be the anchor of many division titles and many trips to the World Series. Can’t fault him for that.

For those who liken this situation to that of Cole Hamels, the two don’t quite match. First off, Hamels wasn’t sidelined a year after having his elbow rebuilt. And Hamels was eased into the big-innings year of 2008 by pitching 132 in 2006 and 183 in 2007.

Strasburg basically made the jump right to the major leagues out of San Diego State University, where he had limited innings in a shorter baseball season. And Mike Rizzo doesn’t want to see Strasburg become Mark Prior or Kerry Wood, flaming out early in his career.

You: “Forget the Nats. They don’t have real fans.”

Me: Kind of hard when your stadium sits 40 miles from another baseball town, Baltimore. And it hurts when you’ve only been in town since 2005. Building a proper fan base in a city that hasn’t had a team since 1971 is a patient task.

When you saw a less-than-full crowd in D.C. last night, celebrating the Nationals clinching the division due to a Braves loss, you probably wondered why. Well, it takes winning for people to notice. The Yankees don’t have fans all over the country because they have three championships in their history. It’s because they’re perennially on the largest stage, so people want to connect with that. That hasn’t happened yet in D.C., but it could be heading that way with the young talent they’ve assembled.

You: “I hate Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper, I can’t root for them.”

Me: You’re obviously entitled to your opinions about players. Jayson Werth has certainly done his best through the media to rub the Philly fans the wrong way recently. He’s also entitled to his opinion about a city he called home for four seasons.

And if you’re still upset about him taking $126 million when the Phillies offered half, you can save that argument. No one wants to hear it. So you dislike him for what, exactly? Because he makes a lot of money? He went to the enemy? Well let’s say you worked at Wegman’s as a manager and Whole Foods liked you so much they wanted to build a new store around you and triple your salary. You’d run right through the front doors of Wegman’s and never look back.

Bryce Harper wears eye black all over his face. He’s also the center of his team on a nightly basis as people want to see what the 19-year-old will do next. He also wears eye black on his face BECAUSE HE’S 19. He’s still a child, so he might not be as grown up as you’d like him to be. But, really, other than not wanting to watch him crush the Phillies on a nightly basis, I can’t think of any reason why you’d hate the kid. He’s an incredible talent and it took years of futility for the Nationals to get him in the draft.

You: “Man, that Davey Johnson really makes me mad. He’s no Charlie Manuel.”

Me: OK, I made that up.

But seriously, the Nationals have won the division in 2012 fairly and squarely. Their young talent stepped forward and as a whole the franchise took a huge leap forward. For that, you have to tip your cap.

However, something tells me the Phillies will be right in the thick of things once again next season.

Click to comment


  1. Lefty

    October 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Bob Carpenter, the most pompous condescending ass to ever broadcast a baseball game. That’s my reason for wishing them failure. Where I live, just south of Baltimore, I am forced to hear that jerk 18 times a year when we play them, or turn the sound off.

    If this seems a silly reason to hate a team, think of it like being water-boarded 18 times a summer, you’d despise the guy doing it you and everything he represents, too.

    • chappdaddy

      October 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      I feel your pain l live in the middle of DC and Baltimore, and can’t stand Carpenter not a big fan of F.P either.

  2. Pat Gallen

    October 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Lefty, I hear you. But does that mean you don’t respect the team and what they’ve done this year?

    • Lefty

      October 2, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Grudgingly, I’ll admit I respect what they have done as an organization, and understand your point.

      Also you didn’t mention the Scott Boras factor in this, the guy that when interviewed said “Mike and I built this team” Is that really a player agent’s job? I seriously question the ethics of Mr. Boras, Rizzo, and the Lerner family. Is he a dynasty builder now? IMO- He should be reprimanded by MLB.

  3. Chuck A.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I don’t dislike Jayson Werth at all ( loved him when he was here and would have taken that contract in a heartbeat!) and Davey Johnson has my full respect. However….I will NOT be rooting for the Nats….even if they face the Yankees.

  4. Pat Gallen

    October 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Nowhere in there did I say ROOT for them. I’m basically saying respect.

    • Rowsdower

      October 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      I love how you proclaim that wishing failure on the Nationals for how they handled Strasburg is “childish”….but then you promptly agree with the sentiment that benching Strasburg was foolish. (and it is hubristic as well as presumptious. To sit Strasburg is to assume they will be as competitive and successful in future seasons; Foolhardy mentality and deserving of failure.

      • Pat Gallen

        October 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm

        I don’t think it’s the right move, but I wouldn’t wish the team failure because they made an outside-the-box choice. They’re trying to protect their biggest asset in a way no other team has before. I get that. Would I have done the same? No. But I understand it.

        Glad you loved it.

    • Smash Cut

      October 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Pat, All good points. You’re a gentleman and a scholar.
      I wish you only the best of luck next season with your new “Nationals Nation” blog.

      • Ken Bland

        October 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm


        that was funny!

        amazing how much trouble a blogger can get in trying to be fair and objective.

  5. Chuck A.

    October 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Pat – fair point. Ok…I respect what they did. Gotta give them that. The scary thing is that they are a YOUNG team. We could be dealing with this for many years to come.

    • Lisa Schrack

      October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      I love the Phillies and I will back them 100% win or lose. But the Nationals did win the NLeast far and square. Congrats to them! We always have next year.

  6. Phylan

    October 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    That’s a good point Lefty, I could never root for a team with a terrible TV crew

  7. Manny

    October 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I’m hoping they fizzle in the Division Series. Swept, ideally. However, when I lived in DC I sorely missed living in a baseball town… and maybe this recent success will make it better (silver lining, I know).

    Rooting for the As all the way. Baltimore, too. In the NL, not the Cardinals, Braves, or Nats… so I guess the Reds?

  8. kjeantet17

    October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I do not like them because the front office has had an all-out war on Phillies fans that live in the DC Metro area. I go to games with a Phillies hat on and I’m cursed out be employees. I stopped going to Nats games because I just can’t stand how i am treated.

    I do NOT like Harper at all. I respect the talent. The kid is packed with it, but his attitude needs to be checked. There is a difference between confidence and cockiness. Harper is cocky. Even last night, he was mouthing off to KK after he hit a double. Don’t tell me that’s an age thing, because I don’t buy it. It’s a respect thing. He has no respect for anyone else.

    I wasn’t a Werth fan when he was in Philly, and I’m still not. However, I didn’t begrudge him for taking the money. That’s a no brainer. He just needs to keep his mouth shut about Philly though, that’s when my dislike for him grows.

    The team is talented. Zim is one of my favorite 3B’s in the game. Strasburg is about as composed of a pitcher that you will find at his age. Zimmermann is a silent force. But overall, they are not a likeable bunch.

    • Manny

      October 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      You pretty much summed up how I feel about the Nats. Well stated.

  9. Jeff

    October 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I’d still rather the Nats win than the Braves.

  10. Stanley_Goodspeed

    October 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Pat this is a fantastic article. It’s well thought out and is a dash of mild, reasonable thinking that we as Philadelphia fans should sometimes embrace
    I grew up in SJ and moved to DC one year ago. You can imagine how hard it is living down here, listening to that god awful duo of Carpenter and Santangelo and seeing the wrong type of red. However, it is hard not to respect what the Nationals have done and give them credit where it is due, like you have.
    The Phils had no business winning the NL East this year and the Nationals did; it is a tough pill to swallow but it’s the truth.

  11. George

    October 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    One can respect a team, but still be aggravated by that team and hope that that team loses.

    What really gets me, though, is not that the Nationals were good this year, but that the Phils weren’t.

  12. Brain

    October 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    The nats fans are why that team is so hated in philly. Remember those two jackasses that posted that shitty youtube “take back the park” video they filmed in moms basement? The crowd was full of asshats wearing NL East Division Champs hats and shirts before they even won. One good year does not constitute a great or even good team.

    If the Nats contend next year, then theyll be respected. Right now, I still think this year was the perfect storm of a failing NL East division with the Phils injured all year, the marlins and mets performing as usual.

    Basically, a whole lot of luck.

  13. Brain

    October 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Remember, it wasnt too many years the Astros won their division too. Now look at them. Philly has suffered 100 years of bad baseball, and Ive lived through 20+ of just pathetic baseball. Fans in philly have grinded out. Nats have been around a few years, been awful and now have won the division. I dont respect a one hit wonder. I give the Giants props because they keep coming back. The nats have a few years to prove this wasnt just a single year anomaly

    • schmenkman

      October 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Agree with your overall point, although if I had to guess I think the Nats will be good for at least the next 3-4 years.

      I just want to throw out two things against the “oh woe is me to be a Phillies fan” litany.

      First, the Phillies have been over .500 since 1961 (52 years).

      Secondly, the Phillies have had 130 years of history, and you can separate it into two periods:
      1) 1919-1948 (30 years) when they had an abominably bad .371 W-L%
      2) The other 100 years, when they’ve been over .500

      Grasping, I know, but as the season winds down no postseason to look forward to, it at least helps me to avoid the “losingest franchise” mentality.

  14. EricL

    October 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Yeah, I don’t really *hate* any team, I just don’t give a crap about them.

    Well, maybe the Yankees I hate a little. But really, if a team is winning and it’s not the Phillies I just hope they lose. This year, I hope the Nationals lose because I want to see Rizzo’s terrible handling of Strasburg come back to bite them in the ass, just so I can laugh at him and his big stupid head. But I liked Werth, I think Mike Morse is kind of fun to watch, and Zimmerman’s arm amuses me.

    As for Bryce, well, yeah, he was kind of a pompous assbag. And you know what, if I was a millionaire 19 year old and posting a .270/.340/.477 line (and .330/.402/.651 since Sept 1) with 22 jacks and another 9 triples, I’d be an arrogant ass as well. I mean, hell, I’m already one except I have none of those talents or money. I don’t begrudge him for acting like most humans would in his situation.

    Anyway, this year I’ll kind of be pulling for Cincinnati, just because they’ve been nice and rolled over for the Phillies for the last few years, including that time they went out of their way to get zero hits in the playoffs. I’ll also be sort of rooting for Baltimore, because (1) they’re not the Yankees, and (2) they’ve got Gentleman Jim Thome on the roster, and if you’re not a Thome fan you’re probably history’s greatest monster.

    But if neither of those teams win, it won’t bother me too much, and I’m not going to hate on whoever does because in the end I know that the playoffs are just a silly tournament which doesn’t really do a good job of determining the best team in baseball, and we’ve got next year which should be a decent year for the Phils again.

  15. frank

    October 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I don’t literally hate guys on other teams. This is sports and if my team doesn’t make it I do root against and in a sports context dislike the team or teams that beat them out. I think Bryce Harper is very talented but probably the most disliked player in baseball so I totally root against the nationals because of him. I don’t buy that he’s young. Look at Mike trout. He’s young and great and very well liked. Bryce Harper is so unprofessional. I wouldn’t be surprised if his own team didn’t like him. So I root against teams like the cardinals who had no right winning a ring last year. If the phillies can’t go to the series I root for an American league team. So go orioles.

  16. Brooks

    October 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    There have been a lot of teams with good if not great talent. It takes a general to put it all together.

    Davey Johnson. He is the man and he is the reason I would like to see the Nats in the WS – winning? No, I would like to see the Rangers take it this year.

  17. betasigmadeltashag

    October 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    My big problem with the nats outside the fact that I can not cheer for a NL east team outside the Phillies, is the fact that it proves if you are bad enough for long enough and have money to spend eventually you can be good. K, City does not have this path to take I do not care how many #1 they can pick they can not afford the pay the best so they can not draft them. THen they overpay to get a bat in Wreth who still has not performed for the money, and is a mouthy cocky mid level outfielder. I know I am biased and that the Nats are young but I do not think they will maitained 90+ wins over a long period of time, mainly outside of Zimmerman they have no class, and I am pretty sure that outside their ace I do not see Gio continuing his success next year. That is just me, and i think Bryce is going to have a few years that he willnot equal what he did this year why? because I said so LOL. that is why I do not respect them for what they did this year, do it again next year and I will dis like them for being good.

  18. DCmikey

    October 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Great article. I love the Phillies.

    But Jayson Werth has taken enough abuse from Phillies “fans.” Mocking him as he walked off the field after breaking his wrist???- really?!?! Classless.

    Sometimes we boo just to boo. And it’s quite frankly stupid!!

    Sad season for us…but I love our heart and determination battling back!!! We had such a good bench too!!! Too bad those players were forced to start.

    Keep Ruf on the roster in 2013.

    Who cares who wins the WS, out of our hands.

  19. Joe a

    October 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Isn’t anyone ticked off about the Take back the Park nonsense. And isn’t anyone ticked about Rizzos comments about Cole? I won’t be rooting for the Nats anytime soon. It’s good to despise another team, it makes a good rivalry.

  20. Jeff Dowder

    October 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Nice job by Washington. With so much young (and inexpensive) talent they should be favorites in the division for the next four or five years. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to afford some of these guys as they reach free agency though. As I said back in spring training, this year presented the perfect storm for the changing of the guard in the NL East.

  21. bacardipr

    October 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I have to agree Jeff. Though the writing was on the wall last year as well despite the 102 wins.

  22. 1st in War 1st in Peace 1st in NL East

    October 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Hey, Nats fan here. Just wanted to say that after reading the garbage printed by David Murphy today, it’s nice to see a Phillies blog piece that gives our Nats some respect. As a Nats fan that has looked up to the Phillies for the past half-decade, I’ve perused these blogs often and have always found this to be the best written and most reasonable. Yes, our fans hate Phillies fans, but that’s mostly for the small contingent of knuckle heads that give you all a bad name. I get the feeling most of you don’t like those folks either. I know it seems unfair to have a team this talented in a city that hasn’t followed baseball and seems rather unknowledgeable, but give us a few seasons of good baseball and I think you’ll see that turn around.

    Best of luck to your Phils next year. You have a team that may be a bit long in the tooth, but is still very talented when healthy and may be just a couple of pieces away from wrestling that crown away from us – I wouldn’t bet on it though.

    And to the guy who hates the Nats because of Carpenter, please remember that most of us aren’t too fond of him either.

    Again, best of luck in 2013.
    P.S. I still hate every last one of you.

    • Lefty

      October 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Great comment, and welcome 1st inWar. Honestly, I like David Murphy’s work, but didn’t care very much for his piece today either. I don’t think he was taking into account that you didn’t have a major league team for such a long time. I actually thought the on field celebration was refreshing. Fans who didn’t have a team for thirty years and then get one and pay for tickets for years watching a garbage team deserve to have that when they win.

      Enjoy it while it lasts, you’re team is going into the playoffs kind of cold, that’s not a good sign. We hate you too 🙂

  23. bloodclotter

    October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

    The only way I could justify ‘sticking up’ for the Nats is if the post season concludes with a game 7 vs. the Orioles

  24. Smash Cut

    October 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    No one should congratulate Mike Morse for anything…ever. What an awful face.

  25. Boris

    October 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Oh I’m sticking up something for the Nats, alright. 2 of them, in fact.

  26. Jeff of Nova

    October 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Well I live and teach 8 miles from DC in Va, I am surrounded by Nats fans and players, some of the kids in my class play on the same little league team as Jayson Werth’s and Adma LaRoche’s kids.

    I am a diehard Phillies fan always. I respect what the Nats have done, not going to become a Nats fan, but will pool for them to do well as it is good for our Region and economy. Actually I am hoping for a Nats/O’s series would be good for promoting Baseball in the region as well. Since the Deadskins are still that it is time to get baseball more pub here.

    I agree with Lefty, I hate Carpenter, and F.P is an idiot. Having to listen to those ignorant fools is hard.

    The Nats have to win it all to make themselves a bigger rival with the Phils in my opinion.
    Braves are that since they won a Series title and a bazillion NL east titles in a row and we all know the story with the Mets.

    If the Nats are out in the first round then they are just an up and coming team.

    In repsonse to the ‘losing franchise’ mentality, I agree since the 60’s we have really only had some bad dry spells, late 80’s mid to late 90’s. but an average to above franchise in the last 50 years

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