WASHINGTON — The cloud of defeat still hangs low over the Washington Nationals’ 2017 season, which ended in a fall-from-ahead loss on Thursday night.
Local and national media discussion of the D.C. sports curse has never been more popular.
Some members of the media are calling for coaching regime changes.
Fans are too depressed to even discuss it on sports talk radio anymore.
Familiar faces of the franchise have gone radio silence, likely laying low while they deal with their own emotions on the matter. Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer have each been quiet since the season unexpectedly ended.
By Sean Doolittle, the metalhead closer who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, acquired before the trade deadline from the Oakland Athletics, is already putting a fresh perspective on the 2017 season.
He tweeted a much-needed icebreaker, thanking Nats fans for their support and looking forward what could be a do-or-die 2018 season with this roster:
“Dear @nationals fans, I’m incredibly proud to be part of this team & this city. Thank you for making it feel like home. See you in 2018!”
[Editor’s Note: Someone should really get Doolittle a login for Getty Images]
That doesn’t sound like a player in mourning, so why is he so happy? Here are seven easy reasons why:
- Sure, he hasn’t been saddled with the expectations of a franchise that has been built to win for several years.
- He hasn’t lived through a generation of sports heartbreak in the most powerful city in the world.
- He’s only ever known D.C. sports fans to be supportive and excited for the playoffs.
- He was acquired from an A’s team that was going nowhere fast in 2017 and had a sell-off of many of its major league stars.
- He performed well down the stretch, saving 21 regular season games in 30 appearances, turning in a 2.40 ERA and striking out more than one batter per inning pitched.
- Unlike some of his teammates, he was flawless in the three playoff appearances, saving a game and striking out four in three unblemished innings of work.
- After this season, he is still under contract for three years at a very team-friendly rate and seems destined to stay on as the team’s closer.
Doolittle faces a high degree of certainty, playing for a team that is destined to compete at a very high level for at least one more season. Why shouldn’t he be happy?
But he’s excited about the same team that many people are upset about right now. Maybe it’s time for everyone stuck in the fog of D.C. sports depression to take a step back and look at the Nats from Doolittle’s perspective.