The wait is over

Anything going on today? Anyone got any afternoon plans?

Myself, I’m thinking about just going back to sleep and hitting the links a little later on. Maybe I’ll stop by Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t know; I don’t know if I’m going to have enough time.

What’s that? Today will mark the first big league postseason game in D.C. in 79 years, a sellout crowd will be on hand to watch and the Nationals have a chance to move within one win of the National League Championship Series?

OK, I guess I’ll head down to South Capitol Street and check out all that action.

Today has been a long time coming for baseball fans in the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas. D.C. sports fans have seen a lot of bad teams over the years, a lot of sloppy play and a lot of empty seats at games.

The interest in the Nationals has grown slowly, but it’s peaked as this season has gone on. Attendance has risen, as have the decibel levels at Nats Park.

adam-laroche-swinging-through-sidebar.jpg“You could tell early on, it was almost more of a social gathering,” Adam LaRoche said. “Come out, nothing else to do, we’ll just go hang out at the park. And now it’s turned into some die-hard fans, some people probably skipping work and skipping school to come see the Nats. Our last few regular season home games, I think were about as close to playoff atmosphere as you could get.”

The fact that today’s game will represent an end to the D.C. playoff baseball drought is nice and all, but the location of the game will do more than just serve a sentimental purpose or give fans an opportunity to wave red towels in the air.

The Nationals went 50-31 at home this season, tied for the best home record in the majors. The vast majority of their offensive numbers are superior at home (batting average, OPS, home runs), as is the overall team ERA (3.29 at home, 3.40 on the road).

Essentially, this is now a three-game series. First team to two games wins. The Nats took 11 of the 16 three-game sets they played at Nats Park this season, giving them confidence that they can go out there and do it one more time, albeit with a bit more on the line.

“They don’t call it home-field advantage for nothing,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “We feel very comfortable playing at home. We’re a good home team and we put ourselves in a good position to come home and just win a series. If we can do that like we’ve done a lot of times this year, then we’ll be sitting pretty.”

By the way, if you need something to pump you up before today’s start, or even if you don’t, head over to our MASN Nationals Facebook page and check out this excellent video put together by our staff. That should get you plenty fired up.

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