It had been longer than I could remember since I last sat in the stands at Nationals Park, so on Sunday I changed that. Maybe it was the fact that it was "Sunday Night Baseball" on the eve of Labor Day or maybe it was the fact that I was feeling slightly burned out. But either way, I went to that game.
The unfortunate part is that I missed the eighth-inning comeback due to having to catch the Metro in the bottom of the seventh. The superstitious voice in my head said, "You know, the second you leave, they're gonna come back." That voice was right. But despite that, it was nice to bask in the humid D.C. air on an early September night, knowing full well that I had nowhere to be the next day.
Families surrounded me as I sat in Section 238. There were young kids keeping score in pen while sporting their little league caps, teenagers scarfing down hot dogs and cracking jokes with each other, and parents encouraging their kids to raise their gloves in the hope of catching a fly ball during Mets batting practice. And while that was going on, it got me thinking about the Nats.
As I watched from atop the scoreboard walk seats in right field, I got a closer look at Nats' pregame routine on the field. Tyler Moore and Ian Desmond started out with some routine stretches, while Anthony Rendon followed suit a few minutes later. After loosening up, Ryan Zimmerman joined them and started tossing around the ball with Rendon. That's the image that stuck with me.
Last year, while being introduced to Rendon by the Nats brass in the press conference room at the ballpark, I can honestly say that I didn't think Washington would see Rendon on the 25-man roster as early as we did in 2013. Based on his credentials, I figured the earliest he'd see playing time at the major league level would be this September, with the rest of the call-ups. I was wrong.
Think about this - Rendon's been playing second base, third base or filling other roles as needed since April 21. He did get sent back down to the minors in early May after Zimmerman's stint on the disabled list came to an end, but with Danny Espinosa underperforming, the Nats were left with no choice. Go to the guy who's getting the job done. Go with Rendon.
That's what I was thinking about while watching Zimmerman and Rendon play catch. The Nats may have faced their fair share of adversity in a season that most predicted would end in a drastically different fashion than what the odds are saying these days, but they did get Rendon on the diamond and in the lineup.
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.