“We were at the bottom of the barrel when I came over to this organization, it was in shambles,” Tyler Clippard said. “A lot of great things have happened since then. We have worked our tails off to get to this point, and it is extra special because of that.
“That is what has been great about this team. Guys have went down. Injuries have happened. Young guys have stepped up. Everyone has played a part. It has been a storybook kind of season for us so far. That is just motivation to keep it going.”
Reliever Craig Stammen had six strikeouts in a row Monday and talked afterwards about what it felt like to win an NL East crown for the first time.
“It is a tremendous feeling, more than you can put into words, just happy that we can play in the divisional series and we don’t have to play that wild card game,” he said.
Stammen said now it is really time to focus on the next prize. “From here on out, it is no holds barred, let’s have at ‘em.”
Left fielder Michael Morse said he was reminded of when he first arrived in D.C.
“While we were celebrating, I told (Mike) Rizzo, he probably didn’t hear me, but I said, ‘Thank you!’ to get me here. I was in Seattle, and he got me here, and it has been a blessing ever since.”
Morse said the team still has steps they want to take to get to their first championship.
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We worked all the way to get here to this moment. After we go to sleep tonight, tomorrow, we get ready for the postseason.”
Had the team gotten nervous as the week went on?
“It is not a nervous tension, it is an adrenaline rush,” Morse said. “It is the fans, the energy they bring, our team brings. We are going to get ready for this postseason and go for it.
Center fielder Bryce Harper, just 19 years old, certainly relished the pennant-winning moment.
“Not a better team to enjoy this with,” Harper said. “What a great group of guys. I love everybody in this team, Davey (Johnson) has done a great job all year. For the first time, this is pretty unbelievable. We give it to this town, this city, this team. (I am) speechless.
“You want to enjoy the night, but this is just a start of the road. We want to get deep in the playoffs, we want to have about three more of these (celebrations,) and at the end of this thing, kiss that trophy.”
Stammen said the fans at Nats Park turned it up a notch, and you could hear the roar at crucial parts of the game.
“Oh, it is amazing,” Stammen said. They stuck around. They came out tonight in huge numbers and supported us. They were up every time we had two strikes. They showed they can be a good playoff atmosphere and is definitely is going to be a real good home-field advantage for us in the playoffs.
Morse agreed. “It is unreal. It is great. These fans, all game they were loud, so loud. I guess this is what we get to look forward to in the postseason.”