Saturday, June 11, 2005

First-place Nationals: happy to have a home

"Washington's latest love affair with baseball may still be young and, like all romances, fraught with peril. So far, though, it's outlasted both the cherry blossoms and the threatened mother-of-them-all filibuster in the U.S. Senate over judicial nominations.

"On this weekday night, nearly 30,000 came to aging RFK stadium to watch the Nationals put on a rare power display and beat the Oakland A's. They cheered for players they hadn't heard of six months ago, and wore shirts bearing a team name that was just as unfamiliar.

"It didn't hurt that these were the first-place Washington Nationals. The last time a team bearing the name Washington was on top of the standings this late in a season, the nation was in the midst of the Great Depression." ...

"It's a success story for baseball, which certainly could use one these days. Thirty-four years after the Senators left town, the Nationals seem destined for a long stay.

"That's just fine with the players, who like the fact they are settled. First place is nice, but they're just happy to be wanted."

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