Rachel Levitin: Savor Nats’ success because it’s been a long wait

Here it is, Nats fans - today is last the day of the 2012 regular season. Your Nationals secured their first-ever National League East division title and hold the best record in baseball. Can anyone honestly say this is what they thought would happen this season?

After Monday night’s clinch of the NL East title, outfielder Jayson Werth mentioned that his decision to play baseball for Washington was motivated by the desire to play for a team that had a chance to win for a long time.

“And it turned out that (Washington) was probably the best place I could’ve went,” he said.

He admitted that he didn’t totally expect to win the NL East in Year 2 of his contract with the team this year, but was definitely expecting it by Year 3. So did it come early?

“Maybe. ... I don’t know,” he said, “but after September last year, I was confident that it could happen.”

And happen it did. All those losses, all those years as the butt of baseball jokes, it may have only taken eight years, but the Nats managed to get their team out of the rut they were born into when they moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005. But it’s important that Nats fans don’t forget where the team came from so that they appreciate how special 2012 really is for this team, the franchise and the city.

D.C. truly has the potential to become a baseball kind of town and this October, and the months extending beyond it, will be the true test of whether or not this city is en route to becoming one. Team owner Mark Lerner grew up here and knew that the fans would come out to the ballpark and support baseball in Washington once there was a winner on the field.

“Obviously you can hear tonight (the fans) are as loud as any baseball stadium in the country and they’ll be here for years to come,” he said after Monday night’s clinch.

Is Lerner right? Will a NL East title satisfy Nats fans’ craving for winning baseball? And will how far they make it in the playoffs have a bearing on season attendance in 2013?

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. 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.

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