Well – today marks the end of the 2016 regular season. It feels like just yesterday that the season was getting underway and baseball commentators everywhere seemed unsure what the Nationals would do this season. They did seem pretty sure that the Mets would be the team to beat in the National League East…and to that prediction, I’d like to offer a hearty laugh, complete with tears of joy streaming down my face. The Nationals entered the 2016 season as something of an underdog…
The postseason is upon us and once again, the baseball community at large seems to want to count the Nationals out already. I think there is still plenty of chance for hope and in the spirit of the post-season, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments from the 2016 season!
1. The longest game in Nationals history on April 24th clocks in at five hours and fifty-six minutes and is ended by a home run hit by Chris Heisey in the sixteenth inning! And I was there to witness it all!
2. Max Scherzer struck out 20 Tigers; battling against his former team and Nationals teammate/pitcher Jordan Zimmerman and joined just four other pitchers who have recorded 20 strikeouts in a nine inning game. Guess what – I was at this one too!
3. Danny Espinosa hits a Grand Slam…and then did it again four days later; the first grand slam came on June 30, 2016 (I was there!) against the Cincinnati Reds and the second followed on July 3, 2016; also against the Cincinnati Reds. Danny contributed 15 RBI’s during the four game series.
4. The Nationals Have a Record Breaking Five All-Stars – July 11-14, 2016; the Nationals had a splendid showing at the 2016 All Star Game in San Diego. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy, Stephen Strasburg and Wilson Ramos represented the Nats and with the exception of Stephen Strasburg (who elected not to play) all of them got to play.
5. Tanner Roark Becomes Something of a Big Deal – Tanner was not nearly so hyped as Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer going into 2016 but Roark went seven innings deep in something like…fifteen starts (I’m not 100% on that, sorry). Roark made a name and place for himself in 2016.
6. Daniel Murphy joined the Nationals; coming over from the Dark Side (the Mets) and blew everyone’s mind…and the cover off quite a few balls. Early in the season, Murphy’s batting average hovered right at or just over .400 and if the Nationals were playing the Mets, you could bet Daniel would get a hit…or two…or three. He also introduced “FWWAAHH” to the Nationals lexicon.
7. Jayson Werth proved the haters wrong this season; everyone was sure at 37 that Jayson didn’t have much more left in the tank. Werth stepped in and showed everyone why they were wrong; walking off the team twice in just four days in June; first against the Phillies and then against the Cubs. Werth also had some choice words for those who said he couldn’t get it done in 2016: “they can all kiss my ass!”
8. Ben Revere makes a wild catch while the Nationals best the Braves and proves that maybe he can fly a little bit. While playing the Braves; Freddie Freeman, usually nicknamed the “Nats Killer” lofted a ball out toward the warning track…and Revere leapt into the air, seeming to fly and snatched the ball before it left the park. In one word: Amazing.
9. Trea Turner joined the Nationals line-up this season; a little later than most imagined, but once he arrived on the scene he never looked back! Turner has “sneaky pop” and a speed that is near blinding and allows him to race around the bases at rocket speed. Turner is one of only four players in history to have 30 stolen bases and 10 home runs in one season…and he didn’t even play the entire season. Something tells me that’s just the tip of the iceberg….
10. Wilson Ramos returned to the Nationals in 2016 after having lasik surgery and it would seem new eyes = new man. The Buffalo went on a tear with a batting average over .300 and stellar plays from behind the plate. Wilson earned a much deserved trip to the All Star Game and the fanbase fell even more in love with the Buffalo!
The Nationals ended their season with a win that put them at 95-67; 14 games over 500!
I can’t wait to see what the post season has in store!