The World Series is over, and the countdown to spring training has begun. As we enter the void, remember two things: The Nationals’ facility in West Palm Beach will start getting busy in just three and a half months, and MASN is here to fill the baseball vacuum.
The first two entries in this week’s “Nationals Classics” lineup take us back to the cavernous confines of the Nats’ first home on East Capitol Street, and you’ll see some faces that will jog your memory, including a young Ryan Zimmerman.
A couple of sudden-death Nationals wins of more recent vintages round out the schedule, including one in which the most recent addition to the Nats Park Ring of Honor puts the game on ice.
So cheer up! It’s always baseball season on MASN.
Thursday, Nov. 1, 9 a.m. - The Nationals - who for the previous 35 years had played home games in Montreal as the Expos - played 10 games of the reborn franchise’s inaurgural season before their first contest in Washington. The first opportunity the Nats had to play host was on April 14, 2005 at RFK Stadium, in the first of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They broke in their new home and fans with a 5-3 win, but had to hold off a ninth-inning surge from the visitors before Chad Cordero relieved starter Liván Hernández to record his second save of the young season.
Friday, Nov. 2, noon - The Nats wrapped the aforementioned series with the D-backs on April 17, 2005, riding a six-run seventh to a 7-3 victory. José Vidro singled twice that inning as the Nats batted around, collecting two of his three RBIs that day. José Guillén and and Nick Johnson also had multi-hit games.
Monday, Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m. - Fast forward to June 15, 2016, when the Nationals went toe to-toe with the Cubs - who would win the World Series that year - for better than four hours at Nationals Park. The Nats scored a run in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie, but the Northsiders scored two in the ninth to flip the script. With two outs in the home half, Wilson Ramos drove in Bryce Harper to knot the score at 3-3. The Nats trailed again going into the bottom of the 12th, but RBI singles from Michael A. Taylor and Jayson Werth secured the 5-4 walk-off win.
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1 p.m. - The 2010 season was a rough ride for the Nats, who finished the year in the National League East cellar at 69-93. But the beauty of baseball is that there’s another game tomorrow, and even during the most dismal season, a team will have its moments of glory. Such was the case on July 6 of that year. This time it was Mr. National himself, Zimmerman, who got to walk it off. Leading off the bottom of the ninth with the score tied 5-5, Zimmerman sent an 0-1 pitch from Padres reliever Luke Gregerson over the wall in center field to end it.