Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 10

As 2012 became 2013 there was hype around the Washington Nationals. All the talk was how this could be the best team in baseball history. Bryce Harper was another year older, the Nats were going to have Strasburg for an entire season, Anthony Rendon would eventually take over at second base, Jayson Werth was going to be healed fully from his broken wrist, Ryan Zimmerman had finished 2012 ridiculously hot, and the Nationals had traded Michel Morse and traded for Denard Span to improve the lead-off spot and outfield defense. Everything looked great and then there was Rafael Soriano. A completely unnecessary move that at the time I thought was good to shore up the bullpen, but little did I know that Drew Storen wasn’t mentally tough enough to have his job taken away. He just wasn’t good enough to attempt to earn the role back and floundered every time he made an appearance that wasn’t in the ninth inning. The 2013 Nationals were a disappointment but they still could have made a run. The big problem is manager Davey Johnson gave up on his players early on.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of eing a DC Sports Fan Part 9

I will never forget that moment. My seats for game five of the 2012 NLDS were right across from the Nationals dugout and as soon as there were two outs they all stood on the top step ready to jump the rail and mob Drew Storen on the mound. That would never happen and as Storen walked Molina and gave up a game tying hit to Daniel Descalso and the go ahead hit to Pete Kozma the players shrank back into the dugout. I stood there that entire inning mutter, “Let’s go Drew. You’ve got this Drew.” It is the worst of my unanswered prayers because Drew did not got this and he had no interest in going. I don’t know if any loss has ever felt as bad as this or if anything ever will again. It is the closest I’ve come to knowing what death feels like. In front of me where players that had fought and won and given us the best season we’d ever seen. It was the first division title in Washington Baseball history and they had fought back in game four off of a Jayson Werth walk-off homerun. They jumped out early to a 6-0 lead and then a series of very unfortunate events took it all away, and the NLCS that was all but assumed earlier in the night remains a phantom limb.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 8

Haynesworth laying on the field wasn’t the only embarrassing on field moment from 2010. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nyjer Morgan’s glove throwing incident. Describing Nyjer Morgan the baseball player is close to impossible. He was a centerfielder that thought he should be a superstar but had the talent of a fringe average baseball player. He couldn’t hit a cut off man to save his life and while he was fast he had no instincts on the base paths. And so it was in a game against the Baltimore Orioles and on ball off the bat of Adam Jones he ran back towards the wall to make what would have been a spectacular catch. When he missed the ball he threw his glove down in frustration and seemed to have no idea that the play was going on while he threw a tantrum and left fielder Josh Willingham was left to retrieve the ball and throw it in too late as Adam Jones scored an inside the park homerun.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 7

The Wizards in short order had gone from perineal playoff team to laughing stock quicker than anyone imagined possible. The big three were still together but there was hardly a team around them, and nothing causes dissention in locker rooms faster than failing to live up to expectations. In an effort to recapture the magic of previous season GM Ernie Grunfield traded three players and the fifth overall pick to the Minnesota Timber Wolves for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. It was an act of desperation and worked as well as an act of desperation should. With the team crumbling and tumbling down the standings and the weight of expectations crushing any team unity that might remain Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas got into an argument over a card game. Arenas essentially stole $1,100.00 of Crittenton’s money and refused to give it back. The problem was Gilbert Arenas fancied himself a prankster but didn’t quite know how pranks worked and so he thought he and Crittenton were having a rib and Crittenton felt his money had been stolen. Arenas and Crittenton argued for the entire flight home from a December 19 loss to the Phoenix Suns. Before parting on that evening Arenas threatened Crittenton by saying he plays with guns and that he’d see him at practice.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 6

Here we are. The 2008 and 2009 seasons. The low point of our existence as DC sports fans. The funny thing is my personal life was at an all time high. I was engaged to be married to the woman that I loved and who is loved by everyone who has met here. In fact whenever I see anyone they always ask me where my wife is. People will tolerate me but they want to see my wife. I am simply the price they have to pay. I am something to be endured in order to be in the company of my wife who is loved by everyone.

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Citizens of Natstown Podcast Episode 161

O'Hara and TJ are back to discuss the NLDS...in excruciating detail. Any other offseason discussion will be in an upcoming show, for now it's all NLDS all the time.

Our annual Extra Life campaign benefiting Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC is coming up on November 4th. Help us help sick kids! More information can be found here and if you'd like to donate please go here.

Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 5

The Redskins are bad in a way that is both all encompassing and incomprehensible. They are bad on the field, off the field, in the media, and behind the scenes. Things have a way of coming out about the Redskins years later that shine a new light on already bad moments and somehow make them worse. If the failures of the Wizards, Nationals, and Capitals are about getting close but never finishing the job the Redskins is about never being close and getting even further away. The other three teams are seemingly never able to be as good as their advertised to be and the Redskins are somehow worse than they’re thought to be. If the other teams are Sisyphus never able to get the boulder up the hill then the Redskins are Prometheus chained to the mountains and eternally pecked to pieces.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 4

In typical 2005 Nationals fashion the only runs were scored on a Nick Johnson homerun and Livan Hernandez gave way to the Washington bullpen for Chad Cordero to close it out. I would go to a couple more games that season, the Nats would lose both, and watch many more on TV. I still curse the name of Khalil Green and wonder what would’ve happened if Nick Johnson didn’t bruise his heel against the Toronto Blue Jays. Still 81-81 in their first season in town, and exciting first half, and a ten game winning streak. I had a baseball team and at the age of 24 I felt like my sports fandom was complete.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 3

So here we are with Jordan coming in and the Wizards having a number one overall pick and then they bring in Kwame Brown. As a rookie Brown averaged 4.5 points, 0.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds a game. I don’t even think disappointing sums up his career. It was an abysmal failure, and yet it was a precursor for good things to come. Really what it was is that Jordan left and Ernie Grunfield signed Gilbert Arenas and then traded Jerry Stackhouse of Antwan Jamison and then in the most miraculous deal in NBA history Grunfield was able to trade Kwame Brown, and not only did he trade Kwame Brown he got in return Caron Butler. Jamison, Arenas, and Butler would form what would be come to known for the Wizards as the big three, and this is when I started to really root for them. When they become more to me than an image of failure symbolized by a giant poster of Chris Webber in a uniform he wore for one season.

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Night Terrors and Day Drinking: The Self Inflicted Trauma of Being a DC Sports Fan Part 2

At one point in time in my past my father owned the most successful photography story in the Washington DC area. I once asked my dad where the original building was and he said, “The floor of the convention center.” The company had moved from DC to Fairfax in the 1970’s but had existed in the area since 1915. Because of this Kodak, Keronite, and Fuji were always giving my father gifts and trips. We went to Disney World with the only stipulation being we had to go on a 4D ride featuring Michael Jackson sponsored by Kodak. I’m currently wearing a watch my father earned by selling the most Hassleblad in 1982. So it was that at some point around 1997 or 1998 we got free tickets to the club section of the MCI Center to watch the Washington Capitals take on the Carolina Hurricanes. I remember it so well because I’ve been in that building so many times since then and I’ve seen many hockey games. This was the beginning of a rising. We didn’t know it then but we were about to be sucked in and my father was going to milk the free tickets for all they were worth.

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