Friday, April 08, 2005

 

How about them Nats!

I find myself strangely attracted to the Washington Nationals.

When you think about it, that's just weird. Last year, and indeed since 1969, they were the Montreal Expos, the team that should never have been in the National League. Montreal did have a AAA team in earlier days -- the Royals, a Brooklyn Dodger farm team on which Jackie Robinson played for a season before joining the Dodgers in 1947. But that didn't make the Expos worth rooting for. Nor did the amusing fact that you could pick up Expos broadcasts in French.

Also, I'm not terribly fond of baseball team relocation, and don't like to root for moved teams.

As you might surmise from the upper left corner of my blog, I'm a lifelong New York Mets fan. The Mets are an expansion team -- not a "traditional" one -- but they are compensation to the city of New York for the outrage of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moving out of the city. I love the fact that the Mets uniforms are Royal blue, symbolizing the Brooklyn Dodgers, with an orange gothic (or whatever font that is) "NY," the same logo as that of the New York Giants (though the latter was orange on black).

Well, I guess the Nationals are compensation for the loss of the traditional Seantors franchise (to Minnesota) and the expansion Senators (to Texas). And although the city of Washington has switched leagues, there's something right about that. The old Senators used to be nicknamed the "Nationals" for some reason ("Nats" for short), and the new Nationals tap into tradition further by adopting the Senators bright red colors with the curly W logo. (The Nationals road uniforms are black.) An irresistable flashback to my DC area childhood.

I also love the fact that little 7-year old kids who start becoming baseball fans this season and after, will ask their parents whether the Washington Nationals are in some sense the "official" team of the National League -- not only do they share the League's name, but their road uniform Logo looks kind of like a National League All Star team jersey.

"Nationals" is not the easiest three-syllable word for broadcasters and, more importantly, fans to say: "Hey, how did the Nationals do today?" The name cries out for a one-syllable nickname and "Nats" is the obvious choice. I don't know if this has happened already, in this new season.*

There's another good candidate, if you don't object to collective noun team names like "the Utah Jazz" on the ground that they're "not baseball." How about.... "The Nash." This could be good, because the team is not likely to play well, and frustrated fans can morph that into "the Gnash."

So there it is. Although they are division rivals to my beloved Mets, I will also (secondarily) root for the Nationals. I'm a Mets fan, and a Nats fan (or "Gnash" fan).
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*UPDATE: Either it has, or it's well on its way: the team is advertizing for people to join the "Nat Pack", the organization's cutesy name for its stadium workers!

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Comments:
I like the Washington Nationals b/c their name reminds me of the Washington Senators from Damn Yankees. After all, life is a caberet.
 
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