There have been 159 pitching debuts during the 2016 season thus far. The ERAs of these pitchers range from 0.00 to 40.50. But, of course, none of them are women. Pitch, the newest fall FOX drama, imagines a Major League Baseball where this isn’t the case — an imagination that leads them to a worthwhile pilot episode and hopefully beyond.
The last time the number seven was this magic was when Barry Bonds wore it for his introduction to Major League Baseball in ‘86. Checking the NL East standings to make sure that the Mets haven’t been automatically knocked out for signing Tim Tebow will reveal that the magic number now sits at seven. That magic in the air might be why the Nats hit peak fun off-the-field this past week.
Of all callous things in baseball, a pitcher’s arm cares the least about how the season is supposed to go. Stephen Strasburg’s only natural enemies are the sun and the whole right side of his body. But this isn’t about the strained flexor mass in the pitcher’s right arm, or the dark embrace of the September Disabled List. It’s about what the Nationals did off-field to provide some distraction from the image of Strasburg exiting, glove covering his mouth. Buffalo-back rides and walk-up songs might just suffice.
The “dog days” of August are stupid, mostly because they are misleading and provide no extra dogs for petting or looking at on the feeds of Nationals players’ instagrams. What I’m trying to say is the Nats were relatively quiet this week on social media, but there was lots of on-ish, but technically off, field stuff to takes its place. Max Scherzer protested Jayson Werth’s freedom, Mark Melancon discovered GIFs, and Shawn Kelley became a campaign manager.
Baby humans, baby dogs, and gold medals are probably among the world’s greatest natural healers. The Nationals dropped four games in a row this week, once again leaving the burden of healing on off-field things.
The assumption has been always been that Bryce Harper is and should be a baseball player, but Wednesday night Katie Ledecky may have revealed his true calling upon discovering just how good he is at proudly displaying Ledecky’s five Olympic medals, the proof of her mermaid-dom.
Fresh off dominating and demoralizing the souls of the best swimmers in the world at the Rio Olympics, Ledecky — a Maryland native and likely a descendant of Ariel herself — took on Nats Park to throw out the first pitch. After decorating Harper with the medals like the Christmas tree he was always meant to be, Ledecky threw a strike that would at the very least have Michael Taylor swinging, with Harper standing tall next to her.
This week’s Nationals’ schedule had far fewer off-days than last, but the team was still able to squeeze in a few off-field exploits. Danny Espinosa’s dog was reunited with a best friend, Mike Maddux was introduced to his doppleganger, and Sammy Solis switched things up to play softball.
With three off-days in the last eight day span, the Nationals had plenty of time for birthday parties and nights out in DC. Bryce Harper and fiancee Kayla Varner showed off their cooking skills, Wilson Ramos (and his daughter) celebrated birthdays, and prospect Koda Glover showed off his instagram game.
The Washington Nationals visited some old friends this week, splitting a series with the San Francisco Giants and former National Denard Span, and decidedly sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom former manager Matt Williams coaches third base. It was a busy week with the non-waiver trade deadline smack in the middle and an off day sprinkled in for good measure and extra off-field escapades. Anthony Rendon got kids to the eye exams, the Nats met Willie Mays, and we all said goodbye to Felipe Rivero and his infinite potential to welcome sturdy veteran closer Mark Melancon.
This week, the Nats off-field endeavors attempted to quell the stress that is once again beginning to associate itself with the late innings. Tanner Roark, Bob Carpenter and Shawn Kelley read to kids at a local library, Ben Revere was on a mission to catch a circulating virus, and all the Harpers in America came together to create the cutest, Nats-jersey based video of all time.