First—congratulations to the 2019 Washington Nationals for winning Baseball’s National League Division Series and advancing to the National League Championship Series!
Second—WOW! That was some game on Wednesday night! But really, this has been quite the season for the Nats—and a wonderful ride for the fans. This ballclub has taught us what “Stay In the Fight” means.
Third— That grand slam in the 10th inning is one for the record books. If you stayed up to watch it, you saw history being made, as Howie Kendrick became the first player ever to hit an extra-inning grand slam in a winner-take-all Major League Baseball postseason game. A stunner!
The rest: May 23 was turning point. With a dismal record of 19-31 for the start of the season in hand, the Nats looked into their future and didn’t like where it was taking them, so they changed course. They didn’t give in to what seemed inevitable. Somehow they managed to go 74-38 for the rest of the season. That is what they mean when they say, “Stay in the fight.”
In the Wild Card Game that could give them a berth in the postseason, they fell behind early in the game. But with great play from Stephen Strasburg as an unlikely relief pitcher, and 3 runs off of a hit from Juan Soto, they came from behind to win the game 4-3. “This,” they seemed to be saying, “is what it means to stay in the fight.”
Somehow they fought through the first four games of the NLDS against the mighty Dodgers, who came into the series with the best record in franchise history. Somehow they won two of the first four, and made their way to Los Angeles for Game 5. Somehow they managed to tie the game in the eighth and eventually force extra innings. And then, in a moment without precedent, a grand slam in the 10th. Everyone called it amazing. They called it “staying in the fight.”
What a team! What an inspiration! For anyone faced with an uphill struggle, look to the Nats and stay in the fight. For all those times when it seems nearly hopeless, look to the Nats and stay in the fight. When the only ones who believe it can be done are the ones trying to do it—stay in the fight.
Said Howie Kendrick after the game, “We never gave up. The city had faith in us. The fans had faith in us. We believed in ourselves, everybody came through.”
Tonight they go up against the St. Louis Cardinals, in St. Louis. The Cardinals have also been playing like this is their destiny. Maybe it is. I’m not going to make any predictions, but I wouldn’t bet against the Nationals. They’ve shown us that they know how to win, as well as what to do when, for the moment at least, you are losing. You stay in the fight. And that makes all the difference.