Nats HatGreetings, my fellow port swillers and Happy Easter Monday!

Ol’ Robbo  played hooky from work today (ut-bay, on’t-day ell-tay e-thay oss-bay) in part to recover from the long Easter weekend and in part to settle down to watch his beloved Nats open their 2013 season.  The game is just over and I feel it was well worth it.   Strasburg pitched seven stellar innings and Bryce Harper got a pair of ‘taters, for a final score of 2-0 against the Fish.  Also, according to the teevee, a record-setting regular season crowd, Teddy and Billy Taft took each other out in the Presidents Race and the crowd sang “Take On Me” during the Seventh Inning Stretch.  (These last two items are insider stuff.  Nats fans will know their significance.)  Magic.  Pure magic.

It occurred to me that, what with Lent falling across Spring Training to such an extent this year, I had not had the opportunity nor the inclination to make my pre-season predictions re the Nats’ prospects.  I’d better do that now, before I turn around and we’re already a couple weeks in.

So here goes:

You can’t see me, of course, but at the moment I have my toes crossed and I’m typing with one hand while throwing salt over my shoulder with the other, these observances designed to placate any wrath that I might generate among the Baseball Gods for appearing brash or cocky.  Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that I think this is The Year.  The team has only got stronger since last fall and, barring injuries, will play as a group better than they have ever done before.  The Phils are aging and the Braves, though still strong, just don’t quite match up.  The Mets and the Fish are nowhere this year.  I see no good reason why the Nats can’t win somewhere between 105 and 110 games this season and clinch the NL East again.

Want some more?  I think they go to the Series.  And win.  Why? Well, part of it is the team as described above.  Part of it also is Manager Davy Johnson.  This is his last year before retirement.  He’s called it already.  He’s one of the Truly Good Guys in MLB and I feel that the Gods will look down on his last hurrah and smile indulgently.

So with today’s season-opening victory, only 109 to go to make Robbo’s prediction come true.  What else can one say but



Oh, what the heck.  For those of you who don’t follow Robbo’s beloved Nats, the back-story is that “Take On Me” was the walk-up song of Michael Morse, our left-fielder (and emergency 1st baseman) of the past couple years.  Mikey was much-loved among Nats fans, and the crowds quickly got into singing his signature song at the tops of their voices the past year or two.  Well, owing to the complications of baseball trading, this year’s off-season found the Nats with an outfield and a 1st base covered, with no place for Morse to play on a day-to-day basis.  Heck, that’s the game.  Mikey eventually went back to Seattle, from where Washington had got him to begin with, and from where, so I hear, he’s having an excellent start to his season.

Anyhoo, there’s so much goodwill between Morse and the club that the Nats went with his signature tune during the 7th Inning stretch.  Personally, I thought it a brilliant and lovely idea.  And I hope they (the Nats) keep it up.

And for those of you ’80’s nostalgia types (and God bless the Reagan years), here’s the original vid.  Enjoy!