OK, Nationals fans, a friendly reminder from your friends at MASN: We’re all psyched that pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach in six days, and that the Nats’ first spring training game - which you can watch on MASN - takes place in two weeks and change, on Feb. 23. But we’d hate to see you neglect your sweetheart in the excitement.
Valentine’s Day is one week from today, and if you forget to pick up those chocolates, order those flowers or get that Alfa Romeo in the driveway - some lovers can be more demanding, y’know - you could find yourself in the doghouse. Without a TV!
That concludes our little public service announcement. Now back to our scheduled programming, which of course includes rebroadcasts of “Nationals Classics” that will take you back to some of your team’s most thrilling moments. You’ll see a budding star come to flower in his rookie season, near perfection from a Nationals hurler, a big win over a regional rival and, as usual, plenty of walk-off glory.
You’ll fall in love all over again.
Thursday, Feb. 7, 1 p.m. - Ryan Zimmerman only needed to see one pitch in the ninth to turn a one-run deficit into a walk-off, series-clinching win over the Yankees on June 18, 2006. Yankees skipper Joe Torre apparently left starter Chien-Ming Wang in at least one batter too many. Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson trotted home ahead of Zimmerman after the third baseman’s two-run blast. Zimmerman also singled in the fifth and scored on a Brendan Harris single in the 3-2 Nationals victory.
Sunday, Feb. 10, 4 p.m. - Say you’re sitting in Nationals Park and doze off before gametime. Say you slumber on through the end of the game (an unlikely scenario, I know, but play along). When you wake up, it’s all over. Rubbing your eyes, you glance up at the scoreboard and see a long line of zeros on the visitors’ line. Even in your still disoriented state, you’d have a pretty good idea who had been on the hill for the Nats. Max Scherzer spent June 20, 2015 tying the Pirates in knots at the Nationals notched a 6-0 win. Mad Max might’ve been a little mad at himself that Saturday, as he had only himself to blame for missing a chance at a perfect game. With the Bucs down to their last out, the ace plunked pinch-hitter José Tabata, who would be the visitors’ only baserunner. Bryce Harper and Tyler Moore each had a pair of RBIs.
Monday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. - Aug. 4, 2017 was a Friday, but as it was Wrigley Field, it was a day game as the Cubs hosted the Nats for the first of three. Daniel Murphy’s two-run homer in the first inning gave the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. The second baseman had a solo shot in the sixth. In the eighth, Murphy’s single sent Howie Kendrick from first to third, and Kendrick then scored on a sac fly from Anthony Rendon. Tanner Roark went 6 1/3 innings, giving up just two runs on five hits. Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle took care of the rest. The Nats won 4-2.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m. - It was his first full season in the big leagues, but Zimmerman was already making a habit of the late-inning heroics we’ve come to expect from him. With two out in the 11th Zimmerman hit a single to bring catcher Brian Schneider home and give the Nats an instant 8-7 win over the Marlins on July 6, 2006. Before the scoreless eighth, ninth and 10th innings, both clubs offenses had enjoyed long rallies, the Nats in the first for five runs and the Fish in the second for seven. Zimmerman and Nick Johnson were the only Nationals with more than one hit during the getaway Thursday day game, however. Chad Cordero pitched two full innings to get the win.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 12 p.m. - The Orioles took the bus down from Baltimore for three in D.C. in May 2010, and the game on Friday, May 23, would decide the series. The O’s jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but in the bottom half, Roger Bernadina’s bases-loaded triple put the Nats on top. Then things got quiet offensively until the top of the ninth, when future National Matt Wieters brought home a run with a grounder and Julio Lugo’s RBI single tied the score. After Alfredo Simón got Willie Harris to ground out in the bottom of the 10th, O’s skipper Dave Trembley brought in Cla Meredith to face left fielder Josh Willingham. It might not have been Trembley’s best move. Willingham launched Meredith’s 2-1 pitch and gave the Nats the game and series wins, walk-off style.