So, the Nationals hit the one-third down, two-thirds to go mark at 26-28 - Two under .500. And you're disappointed.
Had someone told you April 1 that they'd be 26-28 in early June, chances are you would've scoffed at the very notion.
"Oh, they might win 20 by then," you would've said, "but no way they'll be that close to .500."
Now, you're disappointed because at one point they were 5 games over .500, playing some very tough competition. Now that they're under .500 you feel somehow you've been duped.
I'm reminded of another team that reached the 54-game mark at 26-28: the 1969 Senators. The '68 club had lost 96 games during a very volatile summer, and the '69 club had pretty much the same cast of characters, save for a new skipper in Ted Williams. They flirted with .500 early in the season, and after 54 games they were 26-28.
A week later they were back to .500, but they'd fall back again to four under. Up to four over. Back to one under. The last day they were an even .500 - before staying over that mark the rest of the year - was August 17, the day they lost to the Twins 4-3 in 13 innings. That made them 61-61, not quite at the two-thirds point of the season. They went 25-15 the rest of the year to finish 86-76, a record that caused local fans to rejoice.
The 2010 Nationals appear to have a more talented roster than the '69 Senators. No Ted Williams at the helm, but Jim Riggleman, as a teenager, followed that team on a daily basis, saw a lot of games, and - perhaps - soaked in a little of that Teddy Ballgame karma.
The biggest thing in the Nationals' favor is the front office. They actually have one. Too many baseball decisions in '69 were being made by owner Bob Short, a trucking-and-hotel tycoon who bought a team and woke up the next morning thinking he was a baseball man.
There are 108 games left to play, and there will be more ups and downs in the W-L column. The arrival of Mr.Strasburg next week will hopefully have the desired impact, and with other arms tentatively slated for later delivery, it's a summer where local fans should really be paying attention.