Continued from page 1

Everybody loves a winner

Maybe it was the lingering disappointment that Major League Baseball chose to move the Montreal Expos to the District rather than Northern Virginia in 2005, but the Old Dominion had been slow to embrace the District’s baseball club.

Sure, The Washington Post cited team officials before the season who said the Nationals drew 60 percent of their fans from Virginia, compared to 25 percent from Maryland and 15 percent from the District.

But a poll last year by Raleigh, N.C.-based Public Policy Polling showed that the Nationals ranked well below the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees when Virginia residents were asked to name their favorite baseball team. At that time, 19 percent picked the Braves, 14 percent picked the Yankees, and the Nationals could manage only a third-place tie with the Red Sox at 11 percent.

A year later with a playoff-bound team? The same polling firm last week said the Nationals now lead the way for most popular team honors with 19 percent, compared with 13 percent each for the Braves and Yankees, and 11 percent for the Orioles. The Red Sox have slipped back to 7 percent.

That’s what winning will do.

Tom Howell Jr. and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.