1. The Nationals play baseball. And I love baseball, ergo I love the Nats. It's the most romantic logic thingy ever. I'm fairly desperate at this point, which helps, and not just in baseball either. I watched as much of that Caribbean Series as I could, and that thing was awful.
2. The Nationals are going to be terrible. I'm kind of looking forward to that, both as a fan and as a blogger. Obviously, I'd like them to be good, but if they're not, they might as well set some records and give me something to write about. It'll be more fun following a 100-loss team like Washington than an 85-loss team like Baltimore. I'm also enjoying the unanimity: fans, journalists, Vegas, the front office -- no one's pretending we have a chance.
And beyond wins and losses, there things to look forward to. I can't think of any besides Zimmerman, but I'm all blissed out on chocolate and cupids and not thinking very clearly.
3. The Nationals are going to be on TV. This came close to ruining the season for me last year, and I'm pretty sure I saw more Nats content in September -- once I started getting MASN -- than I did the rest of the season combined. And now there's no Paciorek, so that's just a bonus.
4. The Nationals are a lot more likeable this year. I didn't like Frank Robinson. He was lousy at his job, didn't care, and acted as though baseball owed him a living. Tomo Ohka agrees with me on this, and he's a millionaire. I didn't like Jose Guillen, either. He was pretty good at his job except when he was tearing apart a clubhouse with some imagined grievance, backed up by the apologists he managed to attract to himself through a heady combination of personal charm and being good at sports. I lack both of those attributes, so this bothered me perhaps more than it should have.
And now they're both gone! The fact that I don't hate Manny Acta even though he's declared himself willing to fill out a lineup card featuring Nook Logan and Cristian Guzman is a testament to his charisma. Meanwhile, the corner outfielders stepping for Guillen don't seem to have any personality at all, an unmistakeable improvement.
5. The Nationals might not be terrible forever. As upset as I was about my favorite team being on TV maybe once a week, what really broke me last year was Jim Bowden's contract extension. I knew the Nats weren't much when they got here. I knew they were even less than that the second go-round. But I clung to the hope that once real ownership was installed, things would get better. I gave up on that once it seemed the new regime wasn't any more competent than the old.
But I was wrong. Since the Lerner/Kasten takeover, Bodes has been a downright good general manager. I may not agree with the parts of the Plan that involve the steadfast refusal to have any starting pitching, but I do -- for the first time ever -- have some confidence in the long-term outlook of this franchise. And that trumps all the other reasons I had.
Special thanks to the Acme Heartmaker for thematically appropriate artwork.