It looks as though I might have finally found my favorite National League team. As a huge Boston Red Sox fan I find it difficult to root for another team, especially one in the American League, but as a baseball fan the more knowledge I have of the sport the more I respect other teams.

For instance, one cannot over look the Minnesota Twins. Unless you are a Chicago White Sox fan, a Detroit Tigers fan or just plain hate the Twin cities it is hard not to appreciate, like and respect that organization.

Having had an opportunity to speak with Ron Gardenhire and Justin Morneau as well as current Twins commentator Bert Blyleven, I have come to garner such respect for these guys that I now have a second favorite American League team.

But what about the National League, don’t they deserve some love?

I would like to have a team for which to pull on the other side so that I can have a stake in the NL playoff race as well. It would be ideal to hope that the Red Sox would meet my NL team in the World Series and then thoroughly embarrass them.

I tried the Colorado Rockies on for size after the 2007 World Series. I am a huge fan of Todd Helton. He is the consummate athlete and some would argue the face of the Rockies. But then I visited my best friend Bog in Denver and went to a game at Coors Field.

I realize that I may have been asking for some snide remarks by wearing my Red Sox hat to the game but in fairness it was the only baseball cap I brought on my trip and I was rooting loudly for Colorado. None of that seemed to matter however to the 80-year old usher standing at the top of the staircase between me, my friend and our seats behind the dugout.

First off, he would not let us walk down the stairs to our seats because the first inning had just begun and we were told that we would have to wait until the middle of the inning. I looked to my left and my right to see no other usher enforcing this same very strange rule. Baseball is not like an NHL game where there is a whistle every 30 seconds. This guy expected us to wait an entire half inning.

I pointed out that none of his other usher friends were making people wait to get to the seats that they paid $100 for, and his reply was something along the lines of—well you aren’t sitting in their section now are you? You’re lucky I even let you go to your seat at all with that hat on.

Now if he were joking or ribbing me in a good-natured kind of way then I would have laughed and thought it was pretty funny. But this guy was serious. He literally made us wait about 10 minutes for the middle of the first inning before we were allowed to walk down to the seats we paid for, the seats that we owned for that first half inning. But what can you do in a situation like this? He was 80 years old?

The usher was angry with me for wearing a Red Sox hat as if it were my fault that his team lost in ’07 and was swept by Boston who won the Championship on the Rockies home turf. Color me ridiculous, but that encounter knocked the Rockies out of the running for my favorite NL team.

I grew up in Northern Virginia and the closest MLB team to me at the time was the Baltimore Orioles. I was never a huge fan of them, however, I had tremendous respect for Cal Ripken Jr. and loved what he did for the game. Hell, I even went to a game with my Pops when I was a child, signed a piece of paper, took it home to my step-mom and tried to pawn it off as the Orioles manager, Earl Weaver’s, autograph. Still, the birds from Baltimore could not capture my heart.

A few years back when the Washington Nationals became a franchise based in the District of Columbia I toyed with the idea of rooting for them. They were, in fact, based 20 minutes from where I grew up.

So I decided that I was going to follow them for a little while and see if I liked and agreed with their management style and philosophy. You see there is nothing worse then pledging your allegiance and giving your heart to a team whose owner and management squander your hopes and dreams for years on end.

Yes, I am talking about you Dan Snyder. The Redskins had me at hello and you have stomped on my heart every year since you bought the team. But I am too invested, in too deep, I am the idiot who keeps coming back for more. Thank you sir may I have another.

I apologize for the above tangent, as I am a page and a half into this column and have still not yet reached the point of the piece. This offseason, this week in particular, I had seen enough. The culmination of the decisions made by the Washington Nationals staff over the past few years finally hit a boiling point with me.

The Nats acquired Jayson Werth with a seven-year deal. Washington inked Werth to the 13th largest contract in MLB history totalling $126 million ($66 million more than what the Phillies thought Werth was worth). I now have a favorite National League team that I would very much like to see lose to my Red Sox in the World Series.

The Nats have done quite a bit lately. Yes, they have been given the gift of being absolutely horrible and thus getting the first pick in the draft for a few years but what they did with those picks is what has gotten my attention.

Stephen James Strasburg could be the most phenomenal pitcher in the league. Give him a full season of throwing without injury (once he returns successfully from Tommy John surgery) and I believe you are looking at the next Tim Lincecum, except better, with shorter hair and no vested interest in voting yes on prop 19.

Couple that with the other first round pick Bryce Harper and you have had two great years of drafting. Arguably the best arm in the league in Strasburg and one of the best bats in college baseball in Harper.

Add in the Nationals current players Nyjer Morgan, Ivan Rodriguez, Josh Willingham, Ryan Zimmerman and another solid young arm coming off surgery in Jordan Zimmerman and the Nats have an amazingly solid base from which to build a playoff caliber team.

All of these draft decisions, trades and young players with potential have proven to me that Washington’s management and ownership are committed to taking this NL basement dweller to a playoff contender. But what sealed the deal, what put the cherry on top, what brought me to the precipice and pushed me over the edge was when the Nats brass snaked Jayson Werth from signing with the Boston Red Sox and locked him into a seven-year deal.

This guy has been an outfielder on my fantasy radar for the past several years. I have been trying every which way possible to acquire his bat for at least one of my fantasy teams but I’ve failed miserably every single time.

What I have yet to be able to do for the past several years, the Washington Nationals were able to do this offseason. Plus they were able to do it when going up against Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox, no less.

My hat is off to you Washington and now I must go buy a Nats cap to tip in your direction this upcoming season. I have found my National League team and I hope that someday soon they too will have the opportunity to be swept by the Red Sox in the World Series. 

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