Campus reacts to Nationals win for World Series

Houston and D.C. natives spoke on watching the baseball championship

Photo+by+Isaac+Thompson%2C+%2721.
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Campus reacts to Nationals win for World Series

Photo by Isaac Thompson, '21.

Photo by Isaac Thompson, '21.

Photo by Isaac Thompson, '21.

Photo by Isaac Thompson, '21.

James Laverty

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The Washington Nationals shocked the baseball world last week with the team’s defeat of the Houston Astros in game seven of the World Series. It was the team’s first championship win in franchise history.   

Washington and Lee baseball pitcher Ben Greer, ‘20, said he was surprised by the results.

“I fully expected the Astros to take care of the Nationals without much trouble, but the Nationals just found a way to do it,” Greer said in an email. “I think the Major League playoffs are the best to watch because of the never-ending unpredictability, and the Nationals proved that again this postseason riding their label as the team of destiny until the very end.”

The team was the first in Major League Baseball history to trail in five separate elimination games and win all of them en route to a championship. They are also the only team in MLB history to win four World Series games on the road.

The outlook looked bleak for the Nationals after losing the face of their franchise, right-fielder Bryce Harper, during the team’s 2018 offseason. Starting off the 2019 regular season at 19-31, it was rumored that the Nationals were looking to trade their core stars such as Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, two of which may be free agents in 2020.

Nationals fan Casey O’Leary, ‘23, said he had his doubts early on about the team.

“I’m going to be honest, when the Nationals were 12 games under, I was ready to trade some of our stars for prospects and fire Davey Martinez,” O’Leary said. “Boy, am I happy we didn’t.”

Still, not everyone expected the Nationals to win. The Dodgers went into the post-season as heavy favorites to reach their third straight World Series after a dominant 106-win regular season.

After going down 2-1 in the series, the Nationals would have to win two more elimination games to keep the season alive.  The National League Championship Series may have been the only uneventful series throughout this postseason as the Nationals cruised by the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-game sweep.  The Nationals won the games by scores of 2-1, 3-1, 8-1, and 7-4.

Jack Jones, ‘21, said at first he wasn’t impressed by the Nationals’ track record, but with time he changed his mind.

“The Nationals have a history of blowing leads in the postseason, so I was hesitant to get excited early,” Jones said. “But when the Nats had that seven run bottom of the first, it was a tremendous feeling.”

The hometown crowd exploded when the Nats went up 7-0 in the first inning of game four, letting out years of frustrations as they realized the World Series would be headed back to the nation’s capital for the first time since 1933.

Washington, DC native Ashley Shugart, ‘22, said she had fun watching her hometown team play in the World Series.

“I especially loved all the friendship between the players with dance parties and handshakes always going on in the dugout,” Shugart said. “Living outside DC my whole life, I’ve been a Nats fan since I can remember so it’s awesome for them to finally have a championship.”

Sam Carley, ‘22, echoed a similar hometown experience.

“Even though they aren’t my favorite team, growing up outside DC meant growing up with the Nats,” Carley said. “Seeing them win and accomplish so much this season elicited a lot of hometown pride. It’s been crazy to see how far they’ve come.”

Many MLB analysts considered the American League Championship Series between the Yankees and the Astros the “real” World Series.  But the first two games in Houston proved many of them wrong.

Mourad Berrached, ‘20, is a Houston native who rooted for his hometown team, the Astros.

“I didn’t watch the game because I don’t watch sports, but I’m from Houston, so…,” he said.

After winning eight straight postseason games, the Nationals dropped all three at home in dramatic fashion.  They were the first team since the 1996 Braves to lose all three home World Series games after winning the first two on the road.

Before the Braves, that hadn’t happened since the White Sox and Cubs played in the 1906 World Series.  In order to win the World Series, they would need to become the first team in MLB history to win four World Series road games.

The Nationals were tied with the Houston Astros for the best record in baseball going into game seven.

“Even after all the comebacks this year, I thought we were dead in the water with the way Zack Greinke was pitching,” O’Leary said. “I thought he was going to throw a complete game shut out, so I was shocked when A.J. Hinch took him out of the game.”

Howie Kendrick solidified himself as a Nationals hero in this game with a shallow fly ball to right field that just clinked off the foul pole. The two-run homer gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning.

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg took home the World Series MVP as he supported a 2.51 earned run average during the World Series and became the first pitcher to go 5-0 during the playoffs. He also became the first number one overall pick in Major League history to have won a World Series MVP with the team they were drafted by.

Sydney Lee and Hannah Denham contributed to this article.

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