Florida Marlins @ Washington Nationals
2011 Regular Season at Nationals Park; home of the Washington Nationals since 2009. The smoke from the grill in the restaurant beyond the outfield rolled across the field with the rich smell of barbecue, a huge distraction. Phenom right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg was starting. He had recently returned from Tommy John Surgery and rehabbing to pitch 24 innings in 2011. Wilson Ramos was the starting catcher. He would be kidnaped in his home country of Venezuela the following November and later rescued alive and well. Alex Cora played his final season here with the Nationals. He came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 13th. If that at-bat were today, there would have been a runner at second base at the start of the inning Nationals lost to Marlins 4-1. Right Fielder Jaysen Werth, who signed for $126 million with the Nationals, was playing the first of seven years in his contract, leaving the still relevant Philadelphia Phillies raised eyebrows in baseball. Aside from making him the 14th richest player, there was a real push for the World Championship in Washington D.C. The 2010 first round draftee Bryce Harper was at the Arizona Fall League and would debut the next year.
GM Mike Rizzo continued his push to rebuild when he drafted Rice University 3rd baseman Anthony Rendon in June of 2011. Perhaps the team was too careful with their ace when they ultimately shut-down Stephen Strasburg in mid-September of 2012 and excluded him from the post season roster. Reasoning for the decision came partially from his doctor who suggested it, in lieu of the short amount of innings he pitched in 2011. The team went on to a series of disappointments in the post season; 2012, 2014, 2016, & 2017. Their adversity ended last year when they beat the Houston Astros to win the World Series. Anthony Rendon had a great seat on that tour from the beginning while Bryce Harper mirrored Jaysen Werth’s move by signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $330 million over 13 years in 2019.
Originally the Montreal Expos, the Washington Nationals landed in Washington D.C. in 2006. There have been four MLB teams that called Washington D.C. home.
- Washington Senators, Washington Statesmen (1891-1899)
- Washington Senators (1901-1960) moved to Minneapolis to become the Minnesota Twins
- Washington Senators (1961-1970) moved to Arlington to become the Texas Rangers
- Montreal Expos (1969-2005) moved in 2006 to become the Washington Nationals
RFK Stadium, where games were played between 1961 and 2008, is scheduled for demolition in 2022. Nationals Park is in south-east Washington D.C., minutes from the monuments. The dome of the Capital is visible behind Left Field. Although it’s a year like none other, the fan-base is enjoying a renaissance period as the 2019 World Champions.