SNYDER: The week Washington baseball grew up

  • Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11), right, walks off the field as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate their win over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11), right, walks off the field as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate their win over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • A fan walks though centerfield plaza with an enlarged poster head of starting Nats pitcher Gio Gonzalez before Gamee 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)A fan walks though centerfield plaza with an enlarged poster head of starting Nats pitcher Gio Gonzalez before Gamee 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)
  • Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, throws out the first pitch before Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, throws out the first pitch before Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Fans wave their rally towels before Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)Fans wave their rally towels before Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) starts Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. Gonzalez would pitch five innings, giving up 3 earned runs.(Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) starts Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. Gonzalez would pitch five innings, giving up 3 earned runs.(Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) rounds second before safely siding into third in the first inning in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) rounds second before safely siding into third in the first inning in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Thursday, October 11, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20), left, celebrates as Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits a two run homer to bring Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34), right, home in the first inning to put the Washington Nationals up 3-0  against the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20), left, celebrates as Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits a two run homer to bring Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34), right, home in the first inning to put the Washington Nationals up 3-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning to put the Washington Nationals up 4-0  over the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34) hits a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning to put the Washington Nationals up 4-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals left fielder Michael Morse (38) its a two run homer to left center in the bottom of the third inning to put the Washington Nationals up 6-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals left fielder Michael Morse (38) its a two run homer to left center in the bottom of the third inning to put the Washington Nationals up 6-0 over the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) gets St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma (38) out at home on a fielders choice in at the top of the fifth inning as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) gets St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma (38) out at home on a fielders choice in at the top of the fifth inning as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) is pulled after the fifth inning after giving up 3 runs as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) is pulled after the fifth inning after giving up 3 runs as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Friday, October 12, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • The Nationals celebrate an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki that gave the team a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning that Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)The Nationals celebrate an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki that gave the team a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning that Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) chases a two-run single by St. Louis Cardinals Daniel Descalso in the top of the 9th inning that tied the game 7-7 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) chases a two-run single by St. Louis CardinalsDaniel Descalso in the top of the 9th inning that tied the game 7-7 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso (33) drives in two run after hitting a hard single to center to tie the game 7-7 as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso (33) drives in two run after hitting a hard single to center to tie the game 7-7 as the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen (22) shows his frustration after giving up four runs in the top of the 9th to relinquish the lead to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen (22) shows his frustration after giving up four runs in the top of the 9th to relinquish the lead to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) celebrates with Jon Jay (19) after scoring in the top of the 9th inning, giving his team a 9-7 lead in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) celebrates with Jon Jay (19) after scoring in the top of the 9th inning, giving his team a 9-7 lead in Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals relief pitcher Drew Storen (22) sits on the bench in the bottom of the ninth inning after giving up four runs to put the St. Louis Cardinals up 9-7 over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals relief pitcher Drew Storen (22) sits on the bench in the bottom of the ninth inning after giving up four runs to put the St. Louis Cardinals up 9-7 over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso (33) celebrates after catching a pop up for the final out of the game as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Daniel Descalso (33) celebrates after catching a pop up for the final out of the game as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) and Bryce Harper (34) head to the clubhouse after Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) and Bryce Harper (34) head to the clubhouse after Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals fans watch as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals fans watch as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • (L to R) Paul Hefner, 16, and Isabel Hefner, 18, from Great Falls, Va., sit dejected in the stands after the Washington Nationals loss to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)(L to R) Paul Hefner, 16, and Isabel Hefner, 18, from Great Falls, Va., sit dejected in the stands after the Washington Nationals loss to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in Game 5 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Friday, October 12, 2012. (Preston Keres/Special to The Washington Times)
  • Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34), left, and right fielder Jayson Werth (28), right, watch as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate their win over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper (34), left, and right fielder Jayson Werth (28), right, watch as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate their win over the Washington Nationals in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • A fan covers his face as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)A fan covers his face as the Washington Nationals lose to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 in game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park, Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 13, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
Story Topics

Outside of Game 3 and the ninth inning of Game 5, they had an absolute blast and were into every second of the action. But they didn’t constitute the most-savvy baseball crowd. They howled when St. Louis batters took a pitch, whether it was close or missed by a mile. They hooted in attempts to startle the Cardinals’ fielders as they settled under fly balls. At least they never got the wave going.

“Obviously this year we gave them some fun times and some good memories,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “But I think this is only the start. Hopefully they’ll be as excited for next year as they were this year and we’ll continue to grow as a team and give them something like this every year to look forward to.”

The fact is, Washington baseball grew up this week, from the team on the field to the folks in the stands. It rode the emotional rollercoaster of postseason play, where moments fluctuate from tight and tense to delightful and delirious.

The Cardinals are moving on, but not before initiating the Nats and fans to the next level.

It’s nice up here. Don’t be surprised if D.C. sticks around for awhile.

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About the Author

Deron Snyder

Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at deronsnyder@gmail.com.

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