Greetings, my fellow port-swillers!

Ol’ Robbo would like to propose a toast to his beloved Washington Nationals, who finished up their season yesterday afternoon in style, with a series-clinching win over the Fish featuring a  string of ten strike outs by Stephen “Strasmas” Strasburg.

With that victory, the Nats finish the season with 80 wins, just a half game under .500 and in solid control of third place in the NL East.  That’s eleven games better than last season’s regrouping effort, and of course much, much better than the prior two triple-digit loss “Nat’nals” seasons.

But what’s really been the most gratifying aspect of this season is that the team has been…..fun to watch.  They’re young, they’re talented and they’re excited.  In past years, one watched a Nats game wondering constantly how they were going to manage to blow it this time.   The vibe this year has been utterly the opposite: The Nats went into every game expecting to win it.  And even though they obviously didn’t meet this expectation as often as one could wish, the fact of the matter is that I never, ever saw them simply give up and roll over.

So what can we expect in the future? Well, there’s no room here for a detailed analysis, but I will say that it seems to me everything is flowing in the right direction, at least as far as pitching and defense go.  Batting needs to improve, but once we get our RISP numbers up, we’re going to win an awful lot more games.  I will also make a prediction right here and now:  If the Nats pick up next April where they left off yesterday, they’re going to be serious wild-card contenders.  Mark my words.  UPDATE: Oh, my other fearless prediction?  Opening day at Nats Park, Teddy wins.

And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, pray charge your glasses, gunn’ls under.  Here’s to the 2011 Washington Nationals with three times three! Bottoms up and no heel-taps!

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