What was supposed to be a victory lap after the Washington Nationals won the World Series last year, 2020, can now be officially considered a lost year for the Nationals since they have officially eliminated from the postseason in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Just to be able to have the fans there and have the celebration with everybody is something that’s kind of been ripped away from us.Washington Nationals Outfielder Adam Eaton to NBC Sports Washington
2020 was supposed to be filled with tons of Nationals fans packing Nats Park in South East Washington, enjoying each other’s company, and looking up at the new flags flying in left field. Instead, the 2020 Nationals season brought us watching a virtual ring ceremony, no fans in the stands, artificial fan noise being pumped into the stadium, fans watching as close as on rooftops at hotels, or as far as Wisconsin all summer long as a fan told us.
Maybe we should have known that things weren’t going to be the same back in the Fall/Winter of 2019. Instead of talking about the Washington Nationals, the baseball and the non-baseball world were focused on a cheating scandal involving the Nationals neighbors during spring training: the Houston Astros.
In February, GM Mike Rizzo discussed how West Palm Beach’s main storyline wasn’t the Nationals; the main storyline was the Houston Astros. “One of the problems I have with it, it’s [the first spring training day] 2020, and there’s 50 media outlets here and 47 of them are for the Astros who cheated to win the World Series and there’s three here with the current reigning World Series champions,” Mike Rizzo said then. “And that’s not right.”
In an interview given to NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas discussed his feelings about the 2020 season. Adam Eaton said. “The more the season has gone on, the more I’ve thought about it… Early on, everyone said that, and I didn’t really put two and two together. I honestly was like, whatever, we’ll go play these 60 games, it’s going to stink…”
“But when you raise the banner and there’s no fans there to be able to enjoy it… I go back to, I think it was 2016, whenever the Kansas City Royals won the World Series [and I was on] the White Sox, and when they raised the banner, I was there for Opening Day. Just to be able to have the fans there and have the celebration with everybody is something that’s kind of been ripped away from us.”
Eaton was then asked if the team felt “cheated,” and Eaton’s response was “Cheated? I think it’s kind of a fair word, to be honest with you,” Eaton said. “With the whole COVID thing and situation, you do feel a little cheated. You wish now looking back it would be an enjoyable 162.”
But here is the good news that might be coming out of 2020, according to reports, Major Leauge Baseball is likely going to be using the 2020 standings to determine the 2021 draft order. In March, the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA allows commissioner Rob Manfred to revise the order.
If the MLB end up using the typical draft setup, the Nationals would have picked in the middle of the first round; however, now the Nationals might have the opportunity to draft a high prospect. Some exciting prospects include a catcher from the University of Miami and many talented right-handed pitching prospects, which could be a great addition to a growing amount of pitching prospects already in the Nationals farm system.
As we close the books on the 2020 “season,” the Nationals should be excited, and I am sure that GM Mike Rizzo is already at work filling the Nationals needs.
Let’s look forward to seeing those two new flags flying in left field in person in 2021!