That's the question I was asked last night and I think only the diehards among us beleaguered Nats fans would understand the answer.
I spent last evening being "muscle" for a family friend, laughable if you know me. A young woman we know is moving and unloading some of her stuff via Craig's List. She didn't want to be alone with strangers stopping by her apartment. So my wife sent me up there with two instructions: Look intimidating and buy the couch if the person coming to see it didn't want it. We need one.
So I sat there and looked all badass and the couch sold. We did sit on it long enough to watch the Nats game. I told her I wasn't coming if she didn't get MASN. After one of the long home runs (they all run together), she popped the question: Why do you do this? How does a mid-50s (EARLY 50s damn it) Richmonder go in over his head over a baseball team like that?
I'm from there. "Oh, so they could plop down any old team and you'd be all in?" Pretty much. "Quality doesn't matter?" Clearly not.
See, baseball is one sport where I've always been basically a fan. I did cover it some professionally but not to any great extent. I care about the other D.C. teams and want to see them do well. But baseball is also the one sport of the big four I enjoy watching when I don't have to watch it. Plus the other three take place mostly during the seasons when I am (was) the busiest. I had more time to enjoy baseball.
I was a fan of about nothing for a long, long time. I remember, as I've said before, waving Nick Johnson around third at RFK Stadium and my son saying to his then-girlfriend: We've never seen him like this.
Being a fan is fun. I hope to find out in my lifetime that it is much more fun when you are a fan of a good team. My Caps diehard friends are about giddy right now. I need to jump on that train.
I will bitch, moan, gripe, complain and curse but I will continue to be a fan of the Nationals even if they manage to go 0-162. What would change that? Bad actors, for one. I've spelled out my feelings on Dukes before and won't go into it in detail again. I'm OK with Dukes being given a chance. If Dukes or any National ever does anything egregious and they don't cut him loose, I'll rethink things. I don't like assholes. Give me an honest effort and accountability, I say for the umpteenth time, and stay off the police blotter.
I also want to feel the team at least appreciates the efforts we make as fans, with our time and our money. It is not insignificant. I don't need a red carpet. I just want to feel that I matter along with the other 8.999 who are there.
The Nats don't earn A grades in either category right now but they do earn passing marks.
As long as they continue to do that, I'm all in. But I sure as hell wish they'd hurry up and get good. Has Strasburg signed yet?
On a totally unrelated and very sad note, sports writer David Poole of the Charlotte Observer died suddenly yesterday at age 50. Terrific reporter, terrific guy. His current Facebook picture will break your heart - it is his 2-year-old grandson Eli. David loved being "Paw-Paw."
His death serves as a reminder of two things we all need to keep in mind - games don't really matter all that much and enjoy every single second because there's no good way to know when you're down to your last one. RIP my friend.