The morning after game five I wrote a bit about it but then started to devolve into talking about what the Nats should do in the off-season because now it is the off-season. This is a time of year that intrigues me. It is when plans are laid and every team is trying to improve enough to accomplish their goals. The one thing I didn’t address though is how will game five be remembered. Years from now, looking back, will we tell the store of the 2012 Washington Nationals and leave off the end like the grandfather in the Princess Bride. Simply tell the listener that everyone lived happily ever after the end. Don’t mention the truly tragic ending.
The Nats season like many fine works of art is a tragedy, and that will be the take away. There is no tragedy if there is not first success. If Romeo and Juliet never become start-crossed lovers then while their deaths would be sad they would not be tragic. If Oedipus never rises to be king his downfall cannot happen. The build-up to a tragedy is success. The Nats were th greatest success of the regular season. A team that people thought could maybe, possibly contend not only did but ended up with the best record in baseball. Then in a blink of an eye it all unraveled.
That will be the take away. The Nats were one strike away from playing in the NLCS and their closer was on the mound throwing his best stuff, and somehow the Cardinals managed to win. It has come out since then that one Cardinal doesn’t believe the Cardinals won that game so much as the Nationals choked it away. He called it the worst choke he has ever seen, and that is fine. If the team that beat the Nats doesn’t believe they won then that only goes to show the Nats are feared around baseball.
As does the one mystery GM who said nothing would make him happier than seeing the Nats lose. Teams that are hated and feared are that way for a reason. Opposing team fans don’t boo a player unless he has given them a reason to, and the Nationals have given other teams a reason to dislike them.
They are built to be good for years to come, and it may be that in our story of the 2012 Nationals season that everyone will live happily ever after. That this isn’t a tragedy at all, but a mere bump in the road as the Nationals ascend to greater and greater heights. It has been said before and should be said again. 2012 was not the season the Nationals were meant to contend. This season wasn’t part of the plan. The plan was to start contending in 2013 and build from there. If you thought the Nats were scary in 2012 wait until you see what the future has in store.
That is our take away. This year it just wasn’t meant to be, but the future is coming, and the future belongs to the Nationals.