LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond is happy to be in the playoffs, but isn’t satisfied with just being a wild card team.
“I think three-quarters of the team wasn’t expecting champagne in there because the Wild Card isn’t what we want,” Desmond said Friday during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s Mike Wise Show.
Desmond is one of the longest-tenured Nationals, having been drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2004 before the team moved to Washington. He developed in the minors before being called up for good during the 2009 season by the Nationals.
“In the minors, you’re always trying to make it to the big leagues and you are always looking up,” said Desmond. “It’s been a solid seven or eight years in the organization for me and things keep getting better every year.”
Desmond struggled through parts of 2011, but has stepped up in a big way this year. He credits Davey Johnson with helping him become a better player.
“Davey has let us go out there and play to our ability,” Desmond said. “[He] is going to let you do your thing, but if you screw up he’s going to call you out on it.”
Johnson’s early season remarks that he would be fired if the team didn’t make the playoffs gained a ton of attention. Apparently, Desmond endorsed that idea.
“If I was a manager and I had the starting rotation he has to work with, I’d probably have the intestinal fortitude that he has as well to make that prediction,” he said.
Wise and Chris Johnson, asked how Desmond felt about the sometimes disappointing crowds at Nationals Park this season even as the team continued to produce the best record in baseball.
“If you are a fan, and there is a losing product on the field, you aren’t going to go out and watch,” he said. “We knew as soon as we put a better product on the field the fans would come out to see us play.”
Now that the Nationals have clinched a playoff berth, the fans have definitely, and will continue, to come out in droves to support the Nationals.