Finding reasons to be thankful in spite of a difficult season

Are we really going to try to find something to be thankful about the 2021 Nationals? Yes, yes we are. That’s what this day is all about.

It may seem like a daunting task, looking for silver linings in a 97-loss season that included injuries, agonizing losses and emotional departures of some beloved players. But if you dig a little deeper, think a little more critically, you can indeed find reasons to be thankful.

For starters, we all got to attend baseball games in person again this year. We may have taken that entirely for granted prior to 2020, but we sure don’t anymore, do we?

We got to enjoy moments like Kyle Schwarber’s three-homer game, Trea Turner’s third career cycle, Paolo Espino’s first career win and Ryan Zimmerman’s 1,799th (and possibly final) career game.

We got to watch Max Scherzer throw a 106-pitch complete game, then race straight for the hospital for the birth of his son, perhaps the last great start in D.C. in a curly W cap from the man who will be the first to be enshrined in Cooperstown wearing said cap.

We got to see Josh Harrison play the game with joy, Josh Rogers pitch with energy and Josh Bell conduct himself with grace on and off the field.

Adon-Throws-White-Debut-Sidebar.jpgWe saw Alcides Escobar, Lane Thomas and Joan Adon get unexpected opportunities, each for differing reasons, but each of them welcome developments for them as individuals and the Nationals as an organization.

And, of course, we got to watch Juan Soto step to the plate four times every single night and do things nobody else in baseball can do. Forget about wins and losses for just a moment if you can. How many current players can you say you drop whatever you’re doing to watch when they’re in the batter’s box or on the pitcher’s mound? It’s an awfully short list, and Soto stands right near the top of it.

We can be thankful for having been able to enjoy competitive baseball for the better part of a decade, something only a handful of fan bases can claim, not only in this sport but in all sports where there’s no tougher task than sustaining success.

And, to be honest, we can be thankful that once it became clear this era’s best days were in the past, the powers that be recognized it and made the moves (unpopular as they may have been in the moment) necessary to try to start another era of success sooner rather than later.

It was a season unlike any we’d experienced in these parts in a long time, but it came with the promise of better seasons to come. Now it’s on the organization to make good on that promise, and to do it before everyone gets too antsy.

It wasn’t an easy year to be a Nationals fan, to be sure. But on this Thanksgiving Day, can’t we all agree that we’ve been blessed to witness some great players and some great seasons here in our nation’s capital, and recognize not everyone has had it so good.

If nothing else, can’t we all be supremely thankful this morning we don’t cover or root for the Mets?

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