Sunday, September 2, 2007

MAO of the Week 8-31, and the Nats are Back

As we unofficially close out the summer, and as clutch Ryan Zimmerman and the Nats close out the Giants for that desperately needed series win, we present a late Manny Acta Optimist of the Week award to all those who ever, even briefly, believed in this maligned baseball team. Back in those dark days of April and early May (we all remember 9-25), when it was easy to pile on this team (and many did), it was equally as hard to think or say anything positive. But to all those who did, and more so to all those who dared to be part of the 25,000/night to cheer the Nats, this pre-Labor Day MAO of the Week (summer?) is for you.

Maybe on May 11 you guranteed to somebody (as we did) that the Nationals would not lose 100 games. Maybe that somebody laughed at you (as they did at us) and even proposed a wager to try to take advantage of your blind homerism optimism (as they did to us). Maybe a few weeks later, as the wins and 'tism piled up at RFK, you saw something more than a 120-loss team taking shape, and credited the ultimate font of optimism, Man Act, and called for his instant recognition as Manager of the Year.

During that rough little strech in late June, with teams like the Tigers really pounding on our fragile team, perhaps you found something nice to say, even during a, say, 15-1 deluge. Maybe you got your necessary shots and traveled to Baltimore to outcheer Charm City's finest during a sweep of the soon-to-be-historic Orioles. All of you can tell your future generations, "I saw that team lose to the Nats before they lost by 27 runs." Doing our own piling on for the moment, now that they've been swept at home by the team they did not want to exist, crushed by almost four touchdowns, scored on 11 times in one inning by the worst team in baseball, and no-hit by a rookie 23-year-old,can anything worse happen to the Orioles? This is not a rhetorical question. We would really like to know the - even hypothetical - situations in which Ballmer could be humiliated again. We're running out of scenarios here.

So this MAO's for you, 'tism-spreading Nats fans. Just a few wins away from clinching <100 losses and, once again, in fourth place.

To the specifics of this series against the Giants, was it needed or what? Not that we at the DCO ever had a doubt that the Nats would turn it around, even during those blown-save, big-blown-lead debacles out west, but it was getting....slightly more feel 100% optimistic. All that was wiped away, though, by last night's masterful game (perhaps the most pefect game I've had the pleasure to attend this season), and today's triumphant return of Matt Chico (dare we say we knew it would happen?) and the sure glove of Nook Logan plus even more sure bat of Zim. The only blight on those two games would have to be the robbing of Teddy R. of his first-ever Presidents' race. DCO knows why. Is there any doubt? Who was, coincidentally enough, umpiring first base, with a clear view, and thus influence of, the race? Why our buddy Hunter Wendelstedt. This known optimism-hater had the gall enough to toss Manny from a game back in July, so he is certainly not above denying Teddy his due. Wendelstedt was also seen to be conspiring conversing with Giants' 1B Ryan Klesko on numerous occasions in the innings prior to the race, so Klesko's involvment in all of this cannot be conclusively denied.

It's been slower than usual here at DCO for the last couple of weeks, but we'll get the 'tism blazing again in the coming weeks as the Redskins and their rejuvinated first-string offense and resurrected suffocating defense get rolling, the Nationals look to ruin sombody's NL East dreams (whether those dreams are for first place or fourth), the Caps get ready for a return to the postseason, the healthy Wizards gear up to settle scores after one of the most freakish injustices of all time, and the United, with their own stalwart defense, prepare to add another banner to the wall at RFK.

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