I started following baseball in 1989.
Seven years later my “hometown” team, the New York Yankees, won its first World Series in 18 years. It was one of the more glorious moments of my 14-year-old life.
In December of 2011 I moved from New York to Virginia, and started following the local baseball team a few months later. That would have been the 2012 Washington Nationals, a team that won the NL East but faltered in the playoffs. “Faltered in the playoffs” would become a theme over the next half dozen seasons, a period in which the Nats topped 95 wins four times but didn’t win a single playoff series.
After a woeful 19-31 start, my hometown Nats went on a tear, finishing the season at 93-69, winning the NL Wild Card game, then three straight playoff rounds with no less than four wins in potential elimination games.
I guess I just have to follow a team for seven years and let things work out.
A part of me feels guilty for caring more about this Johnny-come-lately fandom of mine. Seven years hardly matches the quarter century I followed the Yankees. It’s official now, though: I care more about the Nats than I do the Yanks. Can’t help it. After all, I live here now. I don’t just reside here, I don’t just work here or play here; I live here. I read the small-time weekly newspapers. I volunteer with my local PTA. My son plays in a kiddie basketball league. I even recognize names in the local obituaries now. I’m part of this place.
It took seven years, but I really consider myself a Northern Virginia resident now. Thirty years from now I’ll tell the story: it was the Nationals’ winning the World Series that did it.
I can’t add anything more to how glorious this championship season has been. In short, it’s even better than I thought it would be.
After all, I got to be part of it.