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Why the Nationals Are Excruciating to Watch

I was wondering why the Washington Nationals have been so difficult to watch this season.

It's been tough watching Davey Johnson's team this year. Why? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)
It’s been tough watching Davey Johnson’s team this year. Why? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

I’m no fair weather fan. I’ve been going to games since they moved here from Montreal, through fair, middling, wretched and majestic seasons. I sat through games when Nook Logan was the starting center fielder. I endured the Nyjer Morgan years. I didn’t start going to games only after it was obvious they were going to the playoffs last season.

But still, this season has been tough to sit through, more difficult than even the disastrous 2009 campaign, when the team lost 103 games and had to field jerseys for Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes. Why? They’re not that bad.


Good thing for me that Washington Post éminence grise Thomas Boswell summed it up in one of the most teed-off columns a sportswriter can write. The Nationals, Boswell writes “play the game badly, at the fundamental level, night after infuriating night.”

From the manager on down, Boswell writes, the Nats are playing in a manner beneath the professional designation. “The Nats can’t sacrifice bunt or execute basic situational hitting,” he writes. Their pitchers can’t hold runners on base. Their fielding is suspect. The manager has no answers. And all the players and organization seems to do is say how talented they are.

He nails it. I’ve stopped watching Nats’ post-game conferences because I just can’t bear to hear manager Davey Johnson say, “I don’t know” one more time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still go to the games. But if the Nats would just take the Bos’ advice — “The Nats should never again talk about ‘our talent’ or how they can’t possibly ‘keep playing so badly'” — it’ll be much easier to take in. It’s not “World Series or bust.” It’s more like, “Please remember what your Little League coach taught you.”

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