Are you performing your civic duty and cheering for whoever occupies the dugout across from the Washington Nationals? (Okay, so that's difficult considering it's the Cardinals, and wouldn't get much easier if it were the Giants next.) Turns out you're not alone.
Baseball's general managers are united with Phillies fans in their opposition to Washington's success.
According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the drama stems from the Nationals' decision to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg over a month ago. Now Washington is down 2-1 in their series, and Strasburg's replacement Ross Detwiler is pitching with the NLDS on the line. Opposing GMs couldn't be more thrilled, hoping counterpart Mike Rizzo is about to be served a plate of humble pie.
Said a National League GM: "I hope they go down in flames. I hope it takes another 79 years before they get back to the playoffs. That's how strongly I feel about it."
The Nationals, baseball executives say, brought this on themselves. They were the defiant ones. They were the ones telling the world they were smarter than everyone else, shutting down ace Stephen Strasburg after 159 1/3 innings, believing they were protecting their prized asset for a lot of playoff games in their future.
"We'll be back," Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said after they clinched the National League East title, "and doing this a couple more times."
That was the quote heard 'round the baseball world, with general managers and executives making sure everyone saw it. Who do they think they are, the Yankees? Are the Philadelphia Phillies going to defect from the NL East? Are the Atlanta Braves retiring with Chipper Jones?
Obviously our distaste for the Nationals is a lot more organic, but I have no problem if general managers from around the league -- or heck, folks in general -- want to hop on the Haterade bandwagon.
It's easy to understand why the organization would want to protect
Strasburg, but as we've witnessed in recent years, the opportunity to win a
World Series doesn't come around as often as you believe it should, and is never as easy as it looks. Soon we might be able to make the case the Nationals turned their back on one.
>> Nationals despised for sitting Strasburg [USA Today]