I am pleased to announce that the Washington Nationals baseball team just won the National League East Division Championship!
Even better, they did it in an away series against their closest competitor, the Atlanta Braves (and last year's champions.
Washington, DC, does not have a storied baseball history. The previous team here (the Washington Senators) won only one World Series and played in only 1 other IIRC. In fact, they were famous for their ineptitude. The snarky saying about the Washington Senators was:
"First in War,
First in Peace,
And Last in the American League."
The Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972, and Washington DC, the Nation's capital, was without a major league baseball team until 2005, acquiring the Montreal Expos. They started slowly, and have become a truly "capital" team. Their strong points are power hitting, aggressive base-running, balanced pitching and creative double-play fielding.
Many successful teams are lead by 1 or 2 future Hall-Of-Famers (not to say that some of the current Nats won't be someday). But the Nats are more of a collection of many really good players who work together well. The fielding is excellent, the starting pitchers are all close in success, the bullpen is superb, and even the bottom of the batting order is dangerous.
The 1st half of the season didn't look very promising. They were around .500 at the All Star Break. But they had almost half their starters out with injuries at one point and back-ups and minor league players filled in "well". Everyone was back for the 2nd half, and they just exploded! I can't find the stats, but they have to have played about .600 since then and that is rare.
It is an amazing change of experience for old Washington DC baseball fans. I an SO looking forward to the playoffs...