A few years ago we would have laughed at the thought of the Nationals winning the NL East and being one of the Phillies biggest challangers. But heading into 2013 the Nationals are the reigning division Champs and are favored to repeat by many. For years they weren't even good enough to gain our attention, but now it is time for Philadelphia fans to learn to hate the Nationals. Here are ten reasons why you should!
Any team name is going to be shortened by fans and I don't think they thought about this when they picked out out the name. Every time I heard the word "Gnats", I think of the annoying and pesky bug. Hopefully the Phillies can swat these pesky things away this year.
2. Bryce Harper
Contrary to what ESPN has lead you to believe, Bryce Harper did not invent the game of baseball. He was just a teenager but he was cocky punk at times last year. And he infamously blew a kiss to a minor league pitcher as he crossed home plate after a home run. Maybe he will become more mature as he gets older but he's still annoying! I'm not blind and I will say that the kid as a lot of natural talent and has tons of potential. But I don't think its unreasonable to wait for the guy to hit over .270 or drive in more than 60 runs before we put him in the Hall of Fame.
3. Jayson Werth
Werth was generally liked as a Phillie but he had some bad moments. Nothing sticks out more than when he cursed out a fan for interfering with a foul ball (the ball was in the stands but Werth had a chance to catch it), while his young son stood there watching in horror. I understand Werth plays with emotion, but swear to yourself while walking back to your postion. Don't take your anger out on the fans and especially not on young fans.
No matter what Werth said at the time, he didn't go to Washington because they had some good young players, he went there because they could offer him the most money. Werth had a good run in Philly and I thank him for that. He deserved and received a standing ovation in his first at-bat back in Philly, but after that he is now the enemy. Ever since he has left, he has seemed bitter that the Phillies didn't pay him. He even said "I hate the Phillies too" while talking to the Nationals GM.
4. OverHyped Starting Pitchers
This one is for GNC Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler. Gonzalez has been linked to the PED clinic in Miami but it remains to be seen what kind of tie has to the clinic. Even if he is clean, I doubt he can duplicate he impressive season last year. There are two reasons why I don't think he can sustain it.
The first one is BABIP, last season his BABIP was .267. His career average and the MLB average is slightly under .300. Baseball is a game of luck and this suggest that a lot of balls were hit at people last year. This won't happen every season The 2nd one is HR/FB, last season it was 5.8% (2011 it was 8.9%). This generally fluctuates a lot from year to year as none of the top 10 in this category in 2011 were in the top 10 in 2012. I'm not saying that Gonzlez is a bum but don't expect another season with a 5.4 WAR. I'll take Hamels or Lee any day.
Detwiler had 10 wins and 3.40 ERA last season for the Nationals. But the advanced statistics would tell you it was a fluke. SIERRA would take too long to explain but it takes several other statistics and gives you a better view of how a pitcher has performed Of the 128 SP with atleast 100 innings pitched last season, Detwiler ranked 104!
I'm not sure what goes on in the Nationals promtotional staff's meetings, but is this really the best they could come up with?!? You had to invent some fake weird word President Bush style to energize your fan base? I think they were trying to be hip and cool but I personally don't get it. "If we combine Nationals and Attitude, can we make a cool word"? Seriously Natitude?!?
6. Take Back the Park
I guess the Nationals got embarrassed when Phillies Phans would migrate south and take over there ball park. It reached its peak on Opening Day in 2010 when the Philly Phaithful conducted a takeover never done before on Opening Day. It was at least a 50/50 split and the "away" fans were definitly louder. By the end of a blowout win, it seemed a lot like a home game. Nationals Park was unofficially renamed Citzens Bank Park South.
Last year the National's thought they would put a stop to this and "Take Back the Park." They only allowed people in Maryland and the DC area to buy tickets to some selected Phillies games.
Honestly the Nationals should be thankful for Phillies fans as they were responsible to buying a lot of tickets during there first few years. If you can't sell tickets in your stadium, maybe its because your "fanbase" doesn't care?
7. The Ball Park
I may seem like I'm getting picky, but Nationals Park is just dull. They could have done A LOT, even with the location. Its a nice stadium, but there isn't any wow with it. Once the "new factor" wears off, it is just another ball park. I will admit that the Presidents run is interesting but that leads me to my next point.
8. The Curse of Teddy
The Presidents Race is the one unique thing that is done in DC and President Rosevelt went 525 straight races without winning. It became part of the experience as Teddy would always find a way to lose the race. But then on October 3 they made a huge mistake. First they let Teddy win. They were rolling with the best record in the National League but flopped in the playoffs. I think it was the start of a curse that will last a long time.
9. They Made Fun of the Phanatic!
While Teddy won his first race, the Nationals took a shot at the Phanatic. A weird horrible impostor aided Teddy buy blocking the other Presidents. Did you seriously take a shot at the best mascot in the world? You can bust on Philly for a lot of things, but the Phanatic is not one of them. He is what all other mascots aspire to be!
10. they are a divsional Rival!
If you didn't think the 1st 9 were good reasons to hate the Nationals. This should be good enough by itself. Even though I've bashed them a lot, they have talent on their team and will be a tough team to beat over the next few years. As we found with the Mets recently, a rivalry is made so much better when the team's beat each other up. The Nationals weren't rivals before because they were the door mat of baseball. You can't hate a team that can't beat you! But the Nationals recent success, their annoying roster and much more make them a very hatable team for Phillies Phans!