- - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Not everything is worth the wait.

Folks can spend hours waiting in line to enter a new establishment but proceed to have a terrible time once inside. A person can invest weeks getting to know someone via phone and cyberspace, only to experience a first date that couldn’t end fast enough. Or, there might be something they looked forward to for decades — maybe landing a particular job or moving to a certain city — only to learn that the reality isn’t close to their fantasy.

But in sports, the reward is often sweeter the longer the delay.


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The Cubs went 108 years between World Series wins, and no one in Chicago felt unfulfilled after the wait. The Red Sox won World Series 86 years apart, and New Englanders toasted the drought along with the trophy. If the Cleveland Indians eventually break through (they haven’t won a title in 71 years), their fans would be overcome with too much joy to fret about the lag.

Such is the case for Washington baseball fans today. The Nationals have won the pennant. The D.C. team has advanced to the World Series. The pain endured in the 86 years along the way no longer matters. All is well; all is forgiven.



Remember when the Nationals won the NL East, in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, but failed to win a playoff series in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017? That was an awful feeling, right? It made you wonder if the Nats would ever advance … assuming they ever reached the postseason again, after missing it altogether last year.

The first round had become an albatross that threatened to choke belief. But, now, that notion causes hysterical laughter. Raise a glass to whoever looked at the record and said the Nationals fall apart in October.

“I think there’s a misconception,” first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said Tuesday after Washington completed a sweep in the NL Championship Series against St. Louis with a 7-4 victory. “People think it’s easy to win in the playoffs.

“First of all, it’s really hard to get to the playoffs, and second of all, you’re playing against the elite teams of the elite league. You’ve got to catch some breaks. … I think we caught some breaks this year, but more importantly, we took advantage of those breaks,” he said.

Reaching the playoffs might not be easy, but the Nationals have made it expected, with five trips in eight seasons. That feat alone almost atones the franchise’s first seven seasons in D.C., which featured 91 losses on average and five last-place finishes.

The Nationals had replaced the Washington Senators all too well, including the noncompetitive disposition. The Sens were mostly lousy through their 71 years and two incarnations dating to 1901. But even bad baseball beat none at all, which was the case in D.C. for 34 years after the Senators became the Twins and the Senators II became the Rangers.

Washington’s designation as a baseball desert created double agony for fans. There was the heartache of what was lost and the false hope of what was rumored. We no longer had a team, but the Padres would be here soon. When that never materialized, the Giants were on their way. Attempts to relocate the Orioles fizzled.

Two rounds of expansion provided openings that were filled by Florida and Colorado, and then Tampa Bay and Phoenix. The Astros were supposed to move and play in Virginia near Dulles Airport, which for D.C. would’ve been a wound more than a salve.

Before this postseason run to the Fall Classic, everything about Washington baseball hurt, except the World Series victory in 1924.

Now, 95 years later, nothing since then is relevant.

Losing to the Houston Astros or New York Yankees wouldn’t change a thing about our feelings toward this Nationals club. Reaching the Series isn’t the ultimate goal, but it’s the next-best-thing. Of the NL’s 15 clubs, 14 must look up and bow down to the Nats.

Those NLDS against St. Louis, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles? They don’t sting so much anymore. The dreadful record in elimination games at Nationals Park? It’s no longer an issue? The 19-31 record, #FireDaveyMartinez tweets, and calls for a fire sale? They’re just logs on the fire, fuel for an unbelievable story that continues next week.

When outfielder Victor Robles settled under a fly ball Tuesday night in the top of the ninth, the final out was recorded.

And just like that, the pain of a long wait was erased.

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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