FIVE SERIES FOR NATS FANS TO WATCH THIS SEASON:
1. March 30 vs. Braves — OK, it’s only one game and not an actual series. But it’s Opening Night at Nationals Park, President Bush will be on hand and ESPN will showcase it all for the world.
2. April 25-27 vs. Cubs — Chicago makes its one and only visit of the season, which always produces an energetic scene at the ballpark. Will fans still cheer/boo Alfonso Soriano, or is he old history at this point?
3. June 20-22 vs. Rangers — The ex-Senators make their first trip back to the District since Bob Short bolted town in 1971. There aren’t really any Senators connections with these guys anymore, but they do have a former Nat: outfielder Marlon Byrd.
4. June 27-29 vs. Orioles — The annual Battle of the Beltways makes its Nationals Park debut. Given the O’s dour chances this season, this could turn into a Washington rout.
5. Sept. 15-18 vs. Mets — We all saw how the scrappy Nats destroyed New York’s playoff chances last season. This four-game series in September could once again play a key role in determining the NL East champion.
— Mark Zuckerman