The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and I think it's fair to say the most drama centered around whether Nationals' closer Drew Storen would stay with the team or be traded with who knows who else to the Minnesota Twins for center fielder Denard Span.
Oversimplifying a bit, the debate in NatsTown about this potential transaction boiled down to: "Of course you should trade Storen for the right return"; versus "Oh no! Don't trade Drew. He's a talented, homegrown closer and a terrific young man who wants to play for the Nationals."
My take on the situation? Hey NatsTown, I love the passion! I love that despite what sometimes feels like many lifetimes of futility, the Nationals have a lot of core fans who watch every day and are invested in every move the team makes or does not make.
Because let's face it, being a Nationals fan can be hard work. Over the past few years, sometimes it's been very hard work. You hear interviews with baseball sages, even players from other teams, who say the Nationals are closer than they seem. Just a few more pieces and they'll complete the transition from embarrassment to competitor. You monitor progress in Washington and down on the farm. And you want to believe the team is close to turning the corner, but you've been burned before and are a little tired from all the losing.
Through it all, you keep watching and rooting for the Nationals and the triumph of hope over experience.
If you're like me, you cheer both for the team and its players. That way, you can be happy when the Nationals win; and happy for the players, both when they're winning with teammates and when they do something terrific, such as launching a baseball into the upper deck, mowing down batters with nasty pitches, or simply taking the mound or field after elbow or shoulder surgery and months or years of rehabilitation.
When you make a commitment both to the name on the front of the jersey and the name on the back, things like the trade deadline can be agonizing. You watched Nook Logan and Lastings Milledge, and you know the team needs a long-term solution in center field. Denard Span can field, get on base, has a reasonable contract and by all reports is a model citizen, but Storen has become part of the family.
This round of changes is over and I'm glad that Storen is still on my team, although I would have welcomed Span. Nationals fans waved goodbye to Jason Marquis and Jerry Hairston Jr., and more changes are coming. Even though it will sometimes be tough, I'm looking forward to endless debate that highlights fans' passion for my team and its players.
Jenn Jenson blogs about the Nationals at Nationals Fangirl and has joined MASNsports.com's initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.