This series takes a look at all 10 MLB teams to qualify for the postseason. We'll give them a ranking on a scale of 1-to-10 (1 being the Yankees, 10 being the Mets) to determine who best deserves Mets fans' casual support in the playoffs this year.
The Team: The Washington Nationals
The Case: They used to be the Expos, and the Expos were a lot of fun.
That’s pretty much it.
Why to Hate Them: Okay, now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries: There are oh, so many reasons to hate the Nats. Let’s start with Das Wunderkind. The walking, talking Under Armor logo himself, Bryce Harper. It’s pretty difficult to find a better baseball villain without enlisting the help of central casting. He’s cocky and brash. He’s got this almost-too-well-kempt quaff, and made Ultimate Warrior eye black a thing. He thought you pronounce meme “meh-MAY” (actually, that’s sort of endearing). Put this guy on the Bad News Bears and I’d want to punt each of those kids by their bob-cuts. If Bryce Harper told me to eat organic, I'd invest in Monsanto. MY HATRED KNOWS NO DEPTHS!
But wait, there’s more! Jayson Werth, who frankly, is one of the most underrated reasons why the late-aughts Phillies were so detestable, is here. Did you know Werth has the most famous Washington Nationals home run in franchise history? Do you know that it was walk off in a playoff series they lost. Yup, one day after this, the Cardinals stormed back from an early 6-0 deficit and hung a four-spot on Drew Storen in the ninth.
Oh yeeeeeah. That’s the stuff. Do you know what it takes to get me to root for the Cardinals? But you better believe when Pete Kozma got that single, I was damn near erect. So good.
Yeah, Nationals fans are going to find this post and tell me all about their four division titles in six years. Guess what? Zero. Playoff. Series. Wins. They’re the Washington Capitals of baseball. How can you have two perennial, underachieving good teams in the same city. It’d be like if the Cleveland Browns moved to Detroit and sat on the Lions’ shoulders to form one mega-letdown.
The very best thing Major League Baseball can do is up and move the Rays to Montreal and officially bring back the Expos so that I can divorce any feelings of adoration I have from this insufferable sack of swamp people. Oh, and next time you build a stadium, try not putting the press box in the top of a light stanchion. I swear, I had vertigo from the first two years of watching games from Nationals Park.
Look, I have nothing against Daniel Murphy. To the contrary, he was one of my favorite Mets of all time. I’ve probably spent far too much of my life defending his worth on social media to fellow Mets fans, only to see my faith pay off spectacularly en route to an NL pennant, and then this…
All that aside, it hurts to see Murphy, he of the 7.0 WAR in 277 games with the Nationals (12.5 in 903 with the Mets) become such a dynamic force for a rival. But if we do somehow enter darkest timeline and are encountered with a Yankees-Nationals World Series (and hey, the way the last 12 months have gone, I’m certainly not putting any money against it), there’s a sliver of light in Murph proving the "net-negative" stuff wrong.
This f’n guy. Remember when Omar Minaya overpaid this dude with a three-year, $36 million contract (ironically, practically an identical contract value that Murphy got from Washington that turned out to be an absolute steal)? Yeah, good times.
I would like to remind everyone that, while Ollie was hot fire in Seattle and Arizona, he’s been nothing more than ordinary (4.54 ERA, 3.94 FIP) with the Nats. Can you imagine when Cody Bellinger takes this guy deep in a close spot in the NLCS? Or even better, when he drops the ball on the rubber and balks in the tying run in Game 5 of the NLDS or something. I’ll throw a damn parade.
Also, remember Alejandro de Aza? If you don't, he's the human embodiment of the cardboard batter Rick Vaughn decapitated that started over Michael Conforto last year. For some reason, the Nats looked at their roster in June and thought, “You know what we’re missing? Someone who will flail at any breaking ball in the dirt!” and brought in de Aza to beef up their bench. If he makes the postseason roster, it will be because Dusty Baker knows I’ve felt pain in my life and wants me to be happy.
Rating: 1.5/10. Hell-to-the-no. The only redeemable quality they have is Murph, who played his balls off for the Mets, and had Sandy offered anything longer in term than the qualifying offer, still would be here right now. I'm holding out so much hope for another NLDS disappointment.