WASHINGTON — Outside observers have the benefit of a wider lens to spot potential problems, as true in sports as with life.
When Jayson Werth arrived in Washington in 2011, three years after winning a World Series in Philadelphia, he wondered, as a point to spotlight signs of a losing culture, why Teddy was never allowed to win an otherwise innocuous Presidents Race.
That year, the Nationals would finish one game below .500, the closest they’d come to a winning season since the franchise’s first (81-81) six years earlier. The season after, best record in baseball.
After winning his first postseason series in Washington, coach Barry Trotz delivered an inspiring message to fans, not just of the Capitals, but of all D.C. teams.
“I was trying to get the word out that this is a new group,” Trotz said after the Capitals’ decisive 2-1 Game 7 win to eliminate the Islanders. “We always look at the past, and I think what we need to do in Washington, D.C. sports … I saw a bunch of the basketball guys across the way, and the Wizards, we’re cheering them on. We need to have the positive attitudes, not the old stuff. This is a new era for basketball, and hockey, and the baseball team. And we’ll get that football team straightened away. And we’ll go from there.
“It’s gonna be contagious,” he assured. “And I’m telling you, it’ll affect all the sports, because we’re looking to be one of those cities where all our sports teams are competing against each other, competing for championships. And that’s what we want to do. We want to build great organizations. We’ve got a great owner here who wants to do that.”
“So I’m saying to all the fans, you had all that old stuff? Get rid of it,” he said. “Let’s look to a new era. Let’s build something.”
Trotz went on to applaud fans at Verizon Center for giving the Capitals that last bit of strength they needed to put away their opponent. “It’s always those positive thoughts, we can feel ’em,” he said. “The bad thoughts, we’re getting rid of.”