Washington Nationals and Bush: second term problems?
July 28, 2005 3:09 PM   Subscribe

The Washington Nationals were one of the biggest surprises of the first half of the 2005 baseball season. On July 3, the team formerly known as the Expos had a 50-31 record. Everybody in DC was feeling good, especially the Republicans. Not only did Washington have a baseball team for the first time in decades, but that surprisingly good baseball team also featured a home uniform that had a red cap with a "w" on the front. As a result, some Republicans eagerly adopted the cap as a symbol of their party and their president. The second half of the Nationals' season has mirrored Bush's second term, however. Just like Bush has made missteps on Social Security and lost the battle to make his judicial nominees filibuster-proof, the second half of the Nationals season has been filled with miscues, too. After this afternoon's loss to the Braves, the Nationals have a 5-16 record over the past three weeks. Does this spell bad news for John Roberts?
posted by hellx (47 comments total)
posted by dios at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2005

I just used the restroom. Coincidentally, this post is "...."
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2005

I do think it's interesting that the Nationals had such a good first half of the year but that's because I like baseball and anything that wonks do in Washington is sort of like "blah" when I think about it in my head, which is basically not that often at all. And so yeah, I think this post could've better without all the political stuff.
posted by billysumday at 3:19 PM on July 28, 2005

2 points for the image in my head of Republicans wearing the hat of a horribly losing team. -15 for the fact that... um... besides that, what is there?
posted by VulcanMike at 3:23 PM on July 28, 2005

dios is like the crazy relative that's always kicking out the back windows of squad cars.

Relax! I liked the post.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 3:24 PM on July 28, 2005

toilet paper, dios?
posted by hototogisu at 3:31 PM on July 28, 2005

I'm still shocked that they didn't call them the Reagans or Gippers. In other shocking baseball news, the Brewers aren't nearly as far from .500 as they usually are.
posted by drezdn at 3:42 PM on July 28, 2005

The Nats have been a lot of fun to watch this year, and for the first half they were playing out of their heads... they should end up below the Braves and Marlins, both superior teams in their division. But it looks like baseball is back in a good way in DC!
posted by chaz at 3:45 PM on July 28, 2005

You what I liked about them when they were the Expos? The stadium was so empty you could hear individual hecklers. Oh yeah, and, instead of clapping, fans would bang the empty seat next to them (oh grow up, not that kind of bang).

I think the Nationals as a team name is pretty lame though. They would have been way cooler if they'd been called the Filibusters or the Amendments.

We need more threads that cross politics and baseball, not less, dios. Or politics and pudding, that would be fine too.
posted by fenriq at 3:52 PM on July 28, 2005

The New York Times worked this metaphor a little more deftly last month.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 4:00 PM on July 28, 2005

This might make more sense on sportsfilter.

Consider this an open invitation of sorts.
posted by lilnemo at 4:02 PM on July 28, 2005

The Gippers, coming at you live from the "Reagan-was-a-God-and-I-would-give-my-life-savings-to-fellate-his-worm-eaten-corpse" stadium.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 4:03 PM on July 28, 2005

...located in Irvine, California.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 4:05 PM on July 28, 2005

Maybe we've broken dios for good.
posted by wakko at 4:36 PM on July 28, 2005

This post is retarded; if you people didn't all violently dislike dios, you'd recognize that.
posted by jonson at 4:38 PM on July 28, 2005

I have to admit, I'm with dios on this one.

Although I am glad to see baseball in DC again, but they shoulda named the team the Senators, for tradition.
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on July 28, 2005

I agree, but I think the Texas Rangers own the rights to the name Senators so they couldn't do it.
posted by reidfleming at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2005

What the ungodly nipples are you talking about?
posted by flashboy at 5:14 PM on July 28, 2005

F*** the Nationals!
-a Met fan
posted by caddis at 5:17 PM on July 28, 2005

F*** the Nationals!
-a Montrealer.
posted by furtive at 5:21 PM on July 28, 2005

I'm a Met fan too, caddis. I'm still glad to see DC Baseball. Now if we could only get the Dodgers back to Brooklyn...
posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on July 28, 2005

As the only Montreal Expos fan in the known universe, all I have to say to anyone hoping that early season success for this team would continue through the second half is that it's nice that some things in baseball never change, including the shattered hopes of Expos fans.

PS. Fuck Jeffrey Loria.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:25 PM on July 28, 2005

Here's another recent article with an "oh, Republicans, will you ever stop being so transparently dishonest" tone.

The Nats were extremely lucky in the first half-- it just can't continue. Hope it does, tho, it's been fun here in the DC area seeing people get excited about this team. I'm still upset about the 4-year deal for Cristian Guzman, myself. "He has a lower slugging percentage than Esteban Loaiza, a lower on-base percentage than Josh Beckett and a lower batting average than Tomo Ohka, so Cristian Guzman, the starting shortstop for the entire existence of the Washington Nationals, is now being treated like a starting pitcher: He will receive a few days off between starts. At this point, what other choice do the Nationals have?"
posted by ibmcginty at 5:40 PM on July 28, 2005

After all those years of seeing "Baseball In D.C.!" placards at Redskins games, I'm glad the dream has finally come true. But going 5-16 after going 50-31 is merely a wakeup call, not impending disaster -- merely a reminder that they stay fugitive from the law of averages.

As for the gratuitous political stuff, meh.
posted by alumshubby at 5:41 PM on July 28, 2005

Baseball is far more important than politics.

At least for you lucky people who still have your teams.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:45 PM on July 28, 2005

Baseball is far more important than politics.

Politics always changes, baseball is eternal.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on July 28, 2005

Baseball is far more important than politics.

Oh heavens, yes. Though there are parallels. As a long-term Orioles fan -- and a liberal -- I see the ability to still love my team over all the ups and downs as good training for the political realities of the last few years.

But the hot dogs are better at the ball-park....
posted by mmahaffie at 6:16 PM on July 28, 2005

Vendor Mike Aman said baseball fans who aren't fans of the president often choose the caps with the "DC" logo, even after he tells them that the team doesn't wear that model during games.
posted by sellout at 6:22 PM on July 28, 2005

jonmc: Although I am glad to see baseball in DC again, but they shoulda named the team the Senators, for tradition.

I thought one of the major issues was that the Senators were always terrible. No need to follow tradition if it's always been a losing tradition. Still a better name than "Nationals", but there's no need to attach a decades-old stigma to a team already riddled with negativity.

Personally, I was kind of pulling for them to be called the Grays. Now those guys were champions.
posted by sellout at 6:30 PM on July 28, 2005

that's, um, really reaching there.
posted by avriette at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2005

I thought one of the major issues was that the Senators were always terrible.

Tell that to this guy. And the Mets have often sucked, but it dosen't stop me from being a fan.
posted by jonmc at 6:57 PM on July 28, 2005

dammit, here's the right link
posted by jonmc at 6:58 PM on July 28, 2005

There has been a space/time/dimension shift because I thought I was the only Montréal Expos fan in the universe.

fenriq, there was that kind of banging too. At least, that's what Jeffrey Loria did to the fans until he left town. self-link

The DC team was named the Nationals because the DC team had been the Nationals from 1905 - 1955. In an odd turn one of the proposed names for the Expos had been the National.

The DC team did better in the first half because MLB opened its purse in an effort to draw fans and to lure a new owner. They won't spend enough money to win a championship. They had that chance in 2002 and they wouldn't let the Expos bring up fresh talent in September.

The opening months of 2005 looks skewed because the Expos were a horrible team in 2004. People with poor short-term memories think the team has always been that bad. The last three years at the end of June and the final record:

2002 -- 42-38 / 83-79
2003 -- 45-37 / 83-79
2004 -- 26-50 / 67-95

I think it is appropriate that Republicans adopt the Nationals. Both groups made it to Washington through chicanery, back room deals, and lies to the public.

What was the "best of the web" aspect of this FPP?
posted by ?! at 7:00 PM on July 28, 2005

I like poking fun at the opposite side just like any other partisan, but dammit, sometimes baseball is just baseball. Wasn't there a post earlier concerning fans having to decide on buying either the whole blue or red 'Nats hat - you know, because of the Red/Blue state crap? Please, leave baseball alone.

I am eternally grateful that last year's World Series didn't feature Texas and Boston - that would have been pure hell, and I might have had to forgo the watching of any baseball.
posted by plemeljr at 7:20 PM on July 28, 2005

Here are a pair of hysterical articles from the Baseball Tonight blog (previously mentioned on the blue) on the Nationals/Soros/Davis thing: Tom Davis explains, George Soros responds, and this article referenced in the first link, which includes this little tidbit:

Davis is chair of the House Committee on Government Reform, which has been investigating steroid usage in baseball. Therefore, it's not just unseemly for him to pressure MLB on the Nats sale. It's a bald abuse of power.
posted by alphanerd at 8:35 PM on July 28, 2005

And the Mets have often sucked, but it dosen't stop me from being a fan.

Sure, and I'm a Cubs fan. They've sucked for even longer, and even more consistently.

But the point isn't that a name would stop you or me from being fans. The point is that the name is saddled with years of bad baseball. Why stick that onto a mediocre team emerging from the pits of baseball hell?

Two separate franchises already played, and lost, under the name. The first had Johnson, Goslin, three pennants and one Series win over sixty years. The second was a miserable, unmitigated failure. Neither club was much of a success, and neither stayed in Washington.

There's tradition attached to the name, but not the kind of tradition the poor Expos deserved to walk into.

I wonder what languagehat thinks about all this.
posted by sellout at 8:50 PM on July 28, 2005

Actually the city didn't want the team to be named the Senators because oh yeah, DC doesn't actually have a vote in Congress.

As for believing, even in passing, that a freaking baseball team that nobody thought would be above .500 this season, is somehow mirroring the whatever of a Presidency....and that thinking Republicans have staked the hat as their own (visit the city, EVERYONE wears these hats, from kids in dorm rooms to my boss).....ahhhh, I think I just had an aneurysm.

What's with linking to PICTURES today?
posted by sdrawkcab at 9:17 PM on July 28, 2005

Baseball is far more important than politics.

If I believed lived that my life would be better. In any event, "sports are the opiate of the masses." [by the way, who said that? I am having another google-fu failure. I guess Marx kept it to religion.]
posted by caddis at 10:30 PM on July 28, 2005

It's funny, I live inside the beltway (and I think I drop that fact a lot here, apologies for my redundancy) and I feel like the excitement about the Nationals has been really restrained. I listen to NPR in the car, and there's virtually nothing there about it. I don't get the paper everyday, but I religiously read the sports section when I do get it, and I was happy to see that the new team was doing well, but baffled by WaPo's coverage compared to what else I'd seen/heard.

This post is the first I'd heard about their slide. I think I want a newspaper subscription for Christmas.
posted by frecklefaerie at 1:05 AM on July 29, 2005

Aligning the 'W' to stand for the President is about as stupid as that "Freedom Fries" movement.
posted by Dagobert at 2:11 AM on July 29, 2005

Baseball is never just baseball. Cubs are never just Cubs.

Can't root for the Nationals, since the Cubs are fighting them for the wild card.

I sort of like the Ws motif. Didn't Bush the senior play baseball at Yale?
posted by Shouting at 5:11 AM on July 29, 2005

I wonder what languagehat thinks about all this.

Like jonmc, I'm a Mets fan who thinks it's great that baseball has returned to DC; I'm actually glad they're not called the Senators, because I grew up a fan of the real Senators, the Walter Johnson-Harmon Killebrew Senators (and don't you dare say in my presence they were "always" bad!) and I've already had to put up with one bunch of fake Senators with a weird script-W cap. "Nationals" is a fine old name dating back to the 19th century; let them have it. The change of leagues is a little weird, but... whatever, as the kids say.

As for this post, I agree with dios: it stinks. If you want to post about baseball, post about baseball, but trying to tie it to politics with some lame parallel is ridiculous. Don't we have enough politics on the front page as it is?
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on July 29, 2005

Actually, during their second tenure in DC, the official team name of the "Senators" was the Nationals. Everyone just called them the Senators our of tradition.

So the name does has some historical bearing. I would like to see Walter Johnson's number retired somewhere though.
posted by trox at 6:58 AM on July 29, 2005

I'm glad they're doing well and that DC has a team - it makes it more American somehow - and I'm glad its in the NL (where real baseball is played).

I admit I never put the W together - it looks like a worm, so we started calling them the worms - but I did think it was weird they didn't go with red white and blue. Plus the W is script on the cap and . . umm . . trident-shaped on the uni. ??

I liked the post. MeFi needs more baseball. Heck, everything does.
posted by petebest at 8:00 AM on July 29, 2005

Nationals is such a better name. If they had been the Senators you wouldn't see the signs that say, "Go Nats!" on them.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:05 AM on July 29, 2005

As a lifelong Expos fan (waves at ?!, furtive; should we have some sort of MeFi Expos wake/pissup?) I'll repeat what I've said since spring training: Fuck them. Fuck them in their stupid asses. Fuck that used-car salesman who leads the band of greedheads that conspired to steal nos amours. Fuck Jeffrey Loria for shamelessly lying to an entire city about his plans for our team. And fuck all y'all who said we didn't deserve to have our team: After ten years of lies, deception and breaking our hearts -- starting with '94, when we would have won it all -- you didn't deserve to have us.
posted by docgonzo at 8:59 AM on July 29, 2005

trox: Nope. The second "Senators" -- the ones that moved to Texas -- were always the Senators. It was the first team -- the ones that Griffin moved to "snow-white" Minnesota -- that was officially the Nationals from '05-'55.

docgonzo -- I couldn't have said it better myself. MLB: Tu fais dur!

I feel dirty now for succuming to my anger about Loria and mentioning the life changing aspects of baseball with the silly goings-on of politics. Forgive me.
posted by ?! at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2005

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