By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
"I met a guy today who had been through 49 surgeries," said Chad Tracy. "I've been through four of five myself, just to imagine a guy going through almost 50 surgeries, to see he was still a driven, confident, leader of a man really touched me."
On a team with a lineup that requires few pinch hitters and even fewer defensive replacements, the Nationals' bench players, Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, are faced with a difficult transition.
Monday, more than four years after they earned the right to draft him, the Nationals will send Strasburg to the mound at Nationals Park to open the 2013 season. In many ways, it is the real beginning of the Strasburg Era.
A few hours before he'd start the first major league playoff game of his life, Ian Desmond leaned on the dugout railing and pondered the question of how much experience mattered in the postseason. The Washington Nationals, of course, have very little. And the reigning 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are rich with it.
From across the diamond Sunday afternoon, Ryan Zimmerman watched as Danny Espinosa sprinted to get Skip Schumaker's hard, bouncing grounder toward the hole between first and second base.
When you consider the hurdles he had to jump, the fact that Chad Tracy was on the field preparing for batting practice at Citizens Bank Park on Friday afternoon was remarkable in itself. That he was discussing the first guaranteed contract he'd signed since he was arbitration eligible with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 made it all the more astounding.
Chad Tracy singled in the 13th inning to score Danny Espinosa and lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
The ball sat on the infield grass, to the left of first base, and did not move. To the right, the Washington Nationals celebrated their 76th victory of the season. To the left, the Atlanta Braves walked quietly off the field.
Bryce Harper will not be making the trip to Kansas City for Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
Donovan Solano pulled up outside Miami International Airport on Monday night and waited. The Miami Marlins infielder had just finished the eighth full day of his major league career and here he was to pick up his brother, Jhonatan, whom the Washington Nationals had summoned for his first shot in the majors.
It won't be until Tuesday or Wednesday, but at some point this week, Ross Detwiler will take the walk from the Washington Nationals' dugout to their bullpen. After nine starts, six exceptional and three mediocre, Detwiler's current stay in the starting rotation is over.
The difference between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals since baseball returned to D.C. has been easy to spot and vast. Losing 30 more games than you win against your rival to the northeast will do that. And the Nationals spent the first few years of their existence playing doormat to the perennial National League East champions.
The moment the ball hit his bat, Wilson Ramos knew. He flung his arms out, dropped his bat and lifted his hands above his head. He held the pose all the way to first base, as his teammates poured out of the Washington Nationals' dugout, the clock inching toward 11 p.m., and the raucous Nationals Park crowd showering them with adulation.
Gio Gonzalez walked into the dugout at Petco Park Tuesday night, six more scoreless innings in the books for the left-hander, and knew his night was likely over. With the Washington Nationals scraping for every run they can get these days and the San Diego Padres doing the same, he knew his upcoming spot in the order would likely go to someone else.
The first time he did it, Chad Tracy was a good story. A journeyman infielder who'd traveled halfway around the world and back to keep his career alive. He was one of the final players to earn a place on the Washington Nationals' 25-man roster, on the second-to-last day of spring training.
"You are kind of a little nervous going in there at first," he acknowledged.
"It really shows you who the real heroes are," Tracy said.