The Washington Nationals are playing in the World Series for the first time in their short existence. If you add in their time as the Montreal Expos, it’s not so short. If you tie the Nats Fall Classic appearance in relation to the last time there was a World Series in D.C., 1933, it feels like a very, very long time. In fact, it’s a lifetime. The World Series has not been played in Washington, D.C. in a very, very long time. Most of us were not alive. All of this to say, it might not happen again in your lifetime.
This isn’t fatalistic approach to sports. It’s realistic thinking for most sports fans. And I think it’s the healthiest attitude because when things finally work out, it’s much sweeter.
I am a Chicago Cubs fan. I grew up a Cubs fan because my grandfather was a Cubs fan. He lived through one Cubs World Series appearance in 1945 and did not live to see a Cubs World Series championship. When the Cubs won it all in 2016 I was happy. Very happy. So happy I cried. And cried and cried like I won the World Series. I most likely cried more than any players on the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. This is common, it has to be. I spent 30+ years as a fan, watching and listening to games through mostly bad seasons and a handful of hopeful seasons. The players did not. But every real fan felt like a champion and therefore, we were and are.
This happens in every major sports championship but even more when it’s been a while. For the Cubs, it had been a while. The longest while in baseball history. And while the Nats potential World Series championship wouldn’t be that long, fans will cry and it will feel great.
But I’m putting the championship parade before the first pitch. Here’s some unsolicited World Series advice from a World Series Champion*.
Brag. Brag and gloat and showboat as much as you can. This may not happen in your lifetime ever again. I can not stress this enough. It’s extremely difficult to win a league pennant let alone the WS. Hell, the New York Yankees, who the Astros just beat to win the American League Pennant, aren’t going to the World Series in the 2010s, the first time they’ve missed playing in the most important series in a decade since the 1910s. So brag. If the Yankees, baseball’s most dominant club in the history of the sport, can’t make it to the final series of the year after winning 100+ games with a 200+ million payroll, nothing is guaranteed.
Jump on the bandwagon. Nats fans will not judge you. It’s much more fun to cheer along with others than be the only one cheering.
Specifically, jump on the Max Scherzer bandwagon. The game 1 pitcher deserves to win another Cy Young award, he has David Bowie eyes and his dog also has David Bowie eyes. If you can’t get behind a dominant player with two different colored eyes that helps raise money for shelter pets, don’t watch baseball.
Wear that red hat for the next week. I own a few red hats and actively avoided wearing them since fall 2016. It’s OK this week but you still may want to invest in the Nats alternate navy hat.
Wear that World Series championship gear whenever you want. I’m currently wearing a Cubs World Series Champions t-shirt. I own four of the same shirt. Why? I purchased three of them this year since it became clearer and clearer the Cubs were unlikely to return to the World Series for the foreseeable future and Fanatics will sell super discounted former championship glory merch rather than donate anything to anyone, so why not?
I’ll be rooting for the Nats this week. In addition to my appreciation for Scherzer, I’m a big fan of Nats manager/former Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez. Martinez had a pretty serious heart scare last month, as in 30 days ago. Since then his team has gone from Wild Card hopeful to beating the Brewers in a one game Wild Card playoff game to upsetting the Dodgers in the NLDS to sweeping the heavily favored Cardinals in the NLCS. This sounds like the feel good sports story of the year and it has potential to be if the Nationals are able to defeat the also heavily favored Astros.
Go Nats! At least for the next week, go Nats!
*Yes, I am a champion. If the Nats win the World Series and you’re a real** Nats fan, you’ll be a champion too. If they don’t win it all, you still won the Pennant and that’s no easy feat. Congrats!
**Only you know if you’re a real fan.