Hey, Braves fans, can you dislike Nats any more?

The tarp’s out Friday, but where’s the rain, Washington? (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

This was a weekend in which to sharpen Atlanta’s natural animus toward the Washington Nationals.

And now just sit on that sharp tack of hostility over the All-Star break and well into the second half of the season. The Braves won’t meet up again with the NL East leaders until mid-September. The Nats are going to have to do some significant tripping over their own shoelaces to make those games meaningful.

In the standings, the just-completed four-game series in Washington accomplished nothing. It was a push. It should have been better for the Braves, had Jim Johnson not blown a three-run lead in the ninth Friday. Leaving with a split after Sunday’s loss, the Braves are still 9 ½ games in arrears.

But, at least, you should have no doubt over which team deserves the entire focus of your negative energy in the next two-plus months.

Of the Top 10 Reasons to Dislike the Washington Nationals, nine of them undoubtedly have something to do with Bryce Harper.

But if only to diversify the list, we now can include the Nats brass, which during the opener of the Braves series refused to start the game on the mere suggestion that it might rain. The mostly rain-less three-hour rain delay – orchestrated in order to protect Washington’s starter and avoid going to its weak bullpen in event of a mid-game rain delay – was a bush league maneuver. Thanks Washington. I don’t get to use the term bush league nearly enough.

True, the Braves gained no ground in the standings. But they at least can claim the ethical high ground over Washington after this weekend.

Even Harper, on an Instagram post, labeled it a “lame rain delay, which we should’ve never had.” May have to revisit some of my more irrational feelings about Harper. (Most of them are petty and hair-related, anyway. Like, for heaven’s sake, man, get a batting helmet that fits properly over that luxuriant rooster comb atop your head, or start using a chin strap).

That the Nats are playing games before the actual games would seem encouraging. And indication, perhaps, that they have such serious flaws that subterfuge is their last, best hope of masking them. Resorting to lame rain delays seemed fairly desperate for a first-place team.

The bullpen is, of course, the major flaw. The one most likely to cause Nationals manager Dusty Baker to swallow his toothpick.

The Braves head into the All-Star break secure in the knowledge that the team they are pursuing has a weakness in both the bullpen and in character (at least on high, where man-made rain delays are created). Thus far this season, they are 6-7 head-to-head against the Gnats, so it’s not like they should cower at their approach.

And after all, the Braves have baseball’s Wolverine – there is no other way to describe Freddie Freeman’s fast-healing bones outside a comic book reference.

Surely Washington will address their end-of-game issue. No reason to think the Braves can run them down over the back half of the season. It is still rather cloudy as to whether the Braves should be buyers or sellers on the trade market.

But we might ask that they at least hang around. Keep the deficit in single digits. Give reason to cheer from afar that the Nats finish more games with question marks rather than exclamation points.

Let a clean, old-fashioned hate – baseball style – simmer for a couple months more.

Reader Comments 0

11 comments
Wrecker
Wrecker

@ChopThis Typical Nats fan, posting three posts when one would do.

sh11
sh11

I love the Braves.  I have been a fan my entire life.  But I don't hate the Nats.  I am not a fan of Harper though he may rewrite the record books before he his finished.  But as a baseball fan, how can you not like Ryan Zimmerman?  I have also always been a Anthony Rendon fan.  Wish the Braves could have gotten him a couple of years ago.  Max Scherzer - love watching that guy pitch!  There are a lot of guys on that team worth cheering for.  I'm cheering for the Braves first and foremost.  But if not us, I'd like seeing the Nats take the NL.  


Yes, the "rain delay" was a crappy move, but it was not made by the players.  The Nats players were just as upset as everyone else.

Terpskin
Terpskin

Zimmerman will be on the DL by Aug 1. Scherzer is a Nat solely for the cash. Harper is a talented punk, destined to wear a Yankee uni. You strike me as some sort of politically correct type. It's OK to hate the Nats. Their next trip to the WS will be their first. No substance.

sh11
sh11

@Terpskin No, not the politically correct type.  Just the courteous type that loves baseball.  Scherzer is a Nat soley for the money.  So are you suggesting that is different from most every other player in MLB?  He is still a fantastic pitcher that is really fun to watch (though I prefer watching him against other teams besides the Braves).  Zimmerman has had his share of injuries but he is a great player and great teammate by all accounts.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win (just like Freddie Freeman!).  How can you not like the guy?  Like I said, I'm not a Harper fan though he is incredibly talented.  I agree, he is likely going to end up as a Yankee.  I don't think they will make it to the WS unless they fix their bullpen.  But I would root for them over Cubs or Dodgers.  But like I said, I am a Braves fan first and foremost.

1peatfor7
1peatfor7

Fun fact of the day, the Braves have more blown saves than the Nats per DOB.


BTC
BTC

No point in being buyers at this stage...

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

You have to like them before you dislike them, and I never have like them period.

sea8491
sea8491

Los Angeles Dodgers will sweep nationals in the playoffs

you do not know me
you do not know me

Dodgers will probably face the Diamondbacks who can be a real thorn for the Dodgers. NL pennant battle will be wild!

sea8491
sea8491


Nationals will likely never go anywhere now or in the future