This was the week that Deadspin died, therefore I found myself reading some Will Leitch. And in the wake of the Nationals’ World Series victory, Leitch had a good ol’ good one. He wrote about the Washington Nationals going all in to win the World Series.
Here is the part that hit home.
For the last few years, a lot of these teams that have “went for it” have been punished. The Detroit Tigers, in large part to try to win a title for their since-passed owner Mike Ilitch, spent big money on veteran players and traded away youth, hoping to squeeze a title out of an aging core. It didn’t work, and now the Tigers are paying the price. The Mariners went through something similar, and the Giants, and even to a lesser extent the Phillies, suffered by keeping their championship cores in place to try to eke out one more title. They’ve all had to pick up the pieces in the wake of falling short, and in many ways, they still are. And the fact that they never won that title lurks over their strategies: No one wants to go all in to win and not actually win. It has led to an unfortunate tentativeness. They’ve become cautionary tales.
But the Nationals are what happens when it works.
I’ve always enjoyed reading Leitch in general, but especially on baseball. Furthermore, this blog was started shortly after I discovered Deadspin. Check out the archive dates and when they begin.
In regards to this one, he’s right; the Nationals hitched their wagons to this 2019 team and got a young guy like Juan Soto his first title. Now, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg may move on. But the bones of the title team are left over, and the Nationals will still be competitive. The bottom won’t fall out.
And the flag they won – the triumphant upset of the Houston Astros in that 2019 World Series no one will ever forget – will fly forever.