Who'dathunk just a couple of years ago that an early-May series between the Phillies and Nationals would create this much buzz.
The Nationals did a fine job playing just awful enough baseball over the past few seasons to secure their team the ability to draft two extremely promising young studs in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Washington is unarguably a team turning things around and heading in a positive direction. They've even opened up their wallets to sign high-priced free agents like Jayson Werth (I don't think that will work out as well long-term as the two aforementioned draft picks). But they're trying, and they're currently atop the NL East after a month of play.
So this weekend should be a fun first step into what could become an exciting new rivalry. The whole Natitude thing, led by the "Take Back the Park" initiative, is quite corny, but it's basically just a franchise's marketing side of things trying to stand up for themselves and show they have a backbone. It's what they should do. And let's be honest, which of your favorite sports teams has never done something corny? That said, renaming your ballpark "Natitude Park" for the weekend is pretty laughable. That's a move a team with zero tradition makes. Oh.check out the sign atop the scoreboard
All of that said, since I won't be in DC this weekend to cheer on the Phillies and enjoy a Half Smoke -- Sixers! -- my only real interest is in who wins the series and how the Phillies handle their business. A weekend win by the Nats over the reigning champion would open some eyes.
The Nationals have a favorable pitching matchup tonight with the phenom on the hill against Kyle Kendrick. But that may not be as incredibly advantageous as you think. Here's an interesting read on the Strasburg-Kendrick duel. Basically, the Natitudinal triangle offense is still pretty damn bad.
The Phillies have awoken themselves a bit out of the doldrums of April. A series win in Atlanta followed by a series win in DC would make for a happy Phillies nation.
7:05 first pitch from Natitude Park. Nat Nat Nat Nat. Go Team.