There’s so much baseball copy in today’s paper that I didn’t want any of it to get lost in the shuffle as we prepare to wait and see who the Nationals will play in the National League Division Series, beginning Sunday.
So here’s a quick-link guide to all of it, starting with a link to the PDF version of our fantastic playoff preview section: But don’t forget to buy a copy, the entire paper’s only 50 cents.
* Ryan Zimmerman’s spirit persisted over the years – Before the 2012 season began, Ryan Zimmerman had witnessed 573 of the Nationals‘ 640 losses. He spent his formative years in the major leagues around plenty of players who saw winning as a lower priority than filling their coffers and were beaten down by years of mediocrity or worse And yet there he was Monday, the man those closest to him say is largely unchanged from the day he reached the majors in September 2005 as a baby-faced 20-year-old, enjoying the moment he’d only seen in his vague visions of the future. “It was, without question, the most satisfied and content he’s ever been in my time knowing him,” said Brodie Van Wagenen, Zimmerman’s agent and co-head of CAA baseball. His even-keeled demeanor finally gave way to pure joy. He’d never let the losing beat him. He’d never let himself fall victim to those around him with lower aspirations. Read the full story here.
* 2012 memorable moments – From Opening Day through their champagne showers Monday night, a look at some of the most memorable moments form the 2012 season.
* D.C. was a different place the last time Washington played in the postseason – On the last day, hope and desperation swirled through Washington like the October breeze that forced men to don double-breasted topcoats and tug down their fedoras under bright sun. Past the Navy Yard, where 7,000 men in a double line four blocks long camped out at 10 p.m. a few days earlier to apply for 500 jobs as laborers. Pay started at 43 cents per hour when nearly a quarter of the country sat unemployed. Nearby, in the forgotten grit off South Capitol Street, where a celebration drenched in beer and shaving cream would rage almost 79 years later, sat Schindler Peanut Products and Isadore Kobler’s grocery and an undertaker’s office, interspersed with a lumberyard, coal yard and Standard Oil’s fuel plant.Read Nathan Fenno’s full fantastic look into the past here.
* The Nationals are in wait-and-see mode on their NLDS opponent – After 162 games that earned baseball’s best record, the Washington Nationals have to wait. Their National League Division Series opponent hinges on the outcome of Friday’s wild card game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. On the ground in Atlanta, Nathan Fenno covers the play-in game as the Nationals wait and watch.Read the full story here.
* Braves ace Kris Medlen is a quirk in progress – Either wild card team will face one disadvantage by winning: they won’t have the services of their ace until at least Game 3 of the NLDS. Nathan Fenno writes on the Braves’ right-hander going, Kris Medlen, and what a “different bird” the guy who has led the Braves to 22 consecutive victories is. Read the full story here.
* Some old Orioles fans have adopted the Nationals – When D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams donned an old Washington Senators hat and announced in September 2004 that Major League Baseball was returning to the District, there was euphoria. The nation’s capital, the national pastime: It seemed to be a perfect fit. Not for Andy Krauss. Growing up in Silver Spring, Krauss was a Washington sports fan who rooted for the Baltimore Orioles in the absence of a D.C. team. “It irks me that they kept saying, ‘D.C. needs a team.’ As far as I was concerned, D.C. had a team, and it just happened to be in Baltimore,” Krauss told Steve Whyno. “In the ‘80s and in the ‘90s, Baltimore was Washington’s baseball team, and people forget that very quickly.” Read the full story here.
* Nationals rise to postseason actually quick – The Nats have posted their first winning record and captured their first playoff berth in their eighth season. That’s molasses compared to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who accomplished both feats in their second season (1999), or the Colorado Rockies, who turned that double play in their third season (1995). But it’s still pretty quick overall, Deron Snyder writes. Read the full story here.