Live from Nationals Park! Battle of the Beltways!

As I sit here in the press box at Nationals Park, a sea of orange and red surrounds me. The close proximity of the two teams gives no remedy for the animosity that seems tense enough to be cut with a plastic butter knife. Although the Nationals have not been in the league for long, a small rivalry has seemed to manifest itself between Nats fans and O’s fans. Even when the jumbo-tron sparks a generic “Lets Go Nats” chant, it is easy to see that there are just as many O’s fans here as there are Nats fans. Although the score may not be to the liking of Washington fans, it has no reflection of the pure dedication and love that these fans have for their team.

Being lucky enough to attend Press Day here at Nationals Park today, I was able to see first hand the strenuous efforts that go into producing a single game. Seeing as how the Nationals are competing for first place, and the Orioles are cruising in first place atop the American League East, the stadium is at full capacity. A fan in every seat, and a beer in every hand; that is what makes the ballpark such a special place.

[caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignright" width="286" caption="Bryce Harper taking batting practice before the Nationals vs. Orioles game on May 19th"][/caption]

The one thing that seems to stand out the most is the amount of potential that the Nationals have in their young stars, as well as their veterans. Bryce Harper, Steve Lombardozzi and Stephen Strasburg have all taken leadership roles as rookies, while Ryan Zimmerman, Rick Ankiel and Adam LaRoche continue their wonderful careers as veterans.

Given that Father’s day is quickly approaching, I was able to ask rookie outfielder Tyler Moore what one piece of advice was that his father gave to him that he still remembers today, and he responded by saying that his father “always told [him] to be a man of integrity. To always follow through on what you say you are going to do.” The sense of integrity seems to be a common occurrence among Nationals players. Young stars that promised to deliver have been doing such, as well as the older ones who are still being able to be relied on.

[caption id="attachment_1162" align="alignleft" width="269" caption="Inside Pitch with Gio Gonzalez at Nationals Park"][/caption]

The core foundations that make a good team are all here. Veteran players mixed with young studs, coached by experienced coaches. What more could you ask for on a professional sports team? While being interviewed, starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez stated that, “we have a great team with a lot of potential that isn’t going anywhere. That should lead to great baseball in Washington for the next couple of years.” I sure hope that Gio speaks the truth, because I would like nothing more than to join my fellow Washingtonians in the streets of D.C. with a World Series trophy on our belts.

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