The Washington Nationals are 2012 Nationals League East Division Champions. I know I wrote that earlier, but it doesn’t ever get old to hear, does it? For years, I’ve watched teams walk away with the division crown, not quite knowing what it was like. But now, I understand what it was about.
It was unbridled joy from the players, the staff, and yes, even some media, on the field and in the clubhouse as the Nationals celebrated their first ever division title. Players were willing to talk even while sharing the euphoria of their victory with family, friends, and teammates on the field. Hugs were everywhere, and beer and champagne were everywhere (including all over yours truly).
Here are some thoughts from a few Nats players on the what the evening meant to them.
Jayson Werth on his decision to come to DC: “I wanted to go somewhere where I had a chance to win for a long time. And it turned out this was probably the best place I could’ve went.”
Ryan Zimmerman on if he thought this team was capable of doing this in spring training: “We knew we had a good team in the spring. I knew we were young, and if we could learn and come together and things started to click…. I mean, Desi’s had a great year, Espi’s been up and down offensively but look at the numbers he’s put up, he’s probably the best devensive second baseman, one of them, in the league.”
Gio Gonzalez on the Nats keys to success: “I think what we thought was just go out there and try to play our game. We had great chemistry since spring training, we try to keep looking forward and playing our game.”
Gio on watching the Braves scoreboard: “I think it was more like, don’t look at it. Don’t look at it. Just keep staring at our game. And when you heard the reaction of the fans is when we all just let it go.”
Gio on if 21 wins or the division title are more enjoyable: “I think what we’ve done as a team is more enjoyable. I try not to ever look at individual stuff…. There’s a reason why I got 21, because these guys have played hard for me every game.”
Gio on the clubhouse camaraderie: “We haven’t left. This is all band of brothers. I think we feel for each other when pitchers are getting hit, we feel for each other when we win. Either way we all bleed the same, we all try and win [out] the same. I think this is unbelievable.”
We’ll have more on this in the coming hours and days, and the season isn’t over yet, so don't tune out. There are still two games left, though I’d expect not to see many (if any) Nats starters in the lineup for game two against the Phillies, who won today’s game 2-0. Enjoy tonight, NatsTown. The National League Division Series in just a few days away.