Some initial post-clinch reactions

There’s a ton to digest and type up after the Nationals clinched the National League East, setting off a wild celebration in the clubhouse and on the field tonight, and I’ll have plenty for you throughout the next couple hours and into tomorrow.

For now, here are some quotes from the guys who got to do all the celebrating to hold you over, transcribed by a reporter who now reeks like beer:

Drew Storen

On clinching: “Speechless. It’s something you really dream for and ever since I got drafted by the Nationals, this is what I wanted. So to come out here enjoying it with the fans, it’s pretty incredible. ... There’s still a lot left to do, but we’re through the gate now. Now we just need to get it done. Like I said, I’m speechless, and I’ll never forget this.”

On it not mattering that they lost tonight: “No! We’re the division champs, that’s all that matters. That’s what we wanted to do.”

On people not believing the Nats could win the division: “We believed it. We have a great clubhouse, we have guys in there that everyone will go to battle for. Day One of spring training, everybody came in there, and we’ve got unbelievable camaraderie in there. That’s how we got it done.”

On if this moment lives up to what he imagined as a kid: “You can’t even imagine it, to be honest with you. As much as you want to dream and see it on TV, there’s nothing like being soaked and freezing and smelling like beer and champagne. There’s no better feeling in the world.”

Tyler Clippard

tyler-clippard-sidebar.jpgOn overcoming obstacles: “We started off hot and got a lot of confidence. Some guys went down, guys stepped up. It’s been like that all year, and lately we’ve been playing great. It’s been a snowball effect all season long.”

On clinching: “It’s surreal. It’s hard to put into words. You play this game for these moments, and when they’re here, you just try to enjoy them as much as you can. But by the same token, it’s definitely motivation to keep it going, because these are fun times right now.”

On if the losing years in D.C. makes this sweeter: “No doubt about it. I tell people all the time - I’d rather be in a situation like this coming from the bottom of the barrel, working our tails off to get where we’re at right now, it’s just that much more gratifying, and we only want to keep it going.”

Jayson Werth

On clinching: “I’m just glad to get it over with. We’ve had a long, hard-fought season. We overcame a lot of adversity, a lot of injuries and to end up in this spot, I couldn’t be happier. We’ve got a great club and we had a tough stretch of games against a lot of good teams here at the end, and Atlanta battled a lot of teams that were out of it. We’d like to end it on a win, but I’ll take it.”

On when they knew the Braves had lost: “Everyone was going nuts, so we just assumed. They delayed it on the board, but we just knew.”

On people doubting that the Nats could win when he signed here last year: “It’s gratifying. It’s quite an accomplishment. We’ve come a long way in a very short time. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a good young club. I think we should do this every year.”

On the dugout celebration while they were losing: “Kind of odd. We’re getting beat but we’re celebrating. It was cool. This team deserves this. We’ve come a long way, and this is great. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of tough games ahead of us, but this is quite an accomplishment and I’m glad the guys could go through it.”

Adam LaRoche

On the late-inning scoreboard watching: “We kind of know what’s going on. We know obviously it’d be nice to come back and win the game, score some runs, but we’ll take ‘em anyway we can get ‘em.”

On how much it means to accomplish this goal: “A lot. This is the goal in spring training. This was the goal last year when they started to put this team together, and I think at some point during the year, I don’t know when it was, guys started to think we were really good. And that started floating through the clubhouse, that, ‘Boys, we are the team to beat.’ And we’ve proven it here in the second half. To keep up with what we did in the first half, it means a lot to me, but it means a lot more to these guys that have been here a long time and had to put up with some pretty rough seasons.”

On if he can pinpoint when he knew the Nats were this good: “I don’t know when the day was. I think early on when our pitching was so dominant and we weren’t producing offensively and still winning games, I think we knew offensively it was going to click and we were going to put up some more runs. So that may have been it there, the fact that we were still winning games and not doing offensively what we were capable of. Came back and started doing it, and you see what happens.”

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