With World Series title, Washington Nationals cement their comeback season

With World Series title, Washington Nationals cement their comeback season


NICK SCHIFRIN: Finally from us, the biggest
news in Washington today. Right as the impeachment vote took place,
the top of The Washington Post’s Web site, for those of us in D.C., was “At Last, the
Nats Are Champs.” The Nats, the Washington Nationals, the team
with the oldest roster in baseball, the team everyone underestimated, won the World Series
last night. And forgive a little hometown crowing, but
they finished the fight the same way they have been fighting all season. ANNOUNCER: There it is! The Washington Nationals are world champions! NICK SCHIFRIN: One final comeback, after a
comeback season. The Nationals topped the Houston Astros in
Houston to capture D.C.’s first World Series title in 95 years. They made history. Never before in any seven-game series in any
sport has a visiting team won every game. The Nats trailed 2-0 in the seventh inning,
before a pair of home runs, including this go-ahead blast by designated hitter Howie
Kendrick. HOWIE KENDRICK, Washington Nationals: I mean,
this is what it’s about right here. This is what it’s about. I mean, words can’t even describe the feeling. NICK SCHIFRIN: For the fifth time this postseason,
Washington came from behind to win an elimination game, including against baseball’s two best
teams. And through it all, the dugout dance parties,
the “Baby Shark” theme. They always played with joy, and their D.C.
fans celebrated a remarkable turnaround for a team that started the season as one of baseball’s
worst. WOMAN: For us to come back and win — and
win the championship, it’s amazing. It’s just amazing. NICK SCHIFRIN: And The Washington Post’s Jesse
Dougherty was there last night. He’s back in town already, joins us from The
Post newsroom. Jesse, thanks very much. Welcome to the “NewsHour.” On May 24, the Nats were 19-31. The chances of their winning were 1.5 percent. How much of this team is defined by playing
from behind? JESSE DOUGHERTY, The Washington Post: I think
it’s — this team is entirely defined by playing from behind. They did it for most of the season. They felt like they were backs against the
wall from May — mid-May on, and, as you said, 19-31, no one gave them much of a chance of
doing anything really. And I think they just took it as a, we can
only go up from here. And we saw the results when they finally got
to the mountaintop there. NICK SCHIFRIN: The final mountaintop that
they went over was a pretty tall one. The Astros’ offense, I mean, surely one of
the most impressive in history, Astros had the best home record in baseball this year,
and the final two starting pitchers that the Nats faced were ranked number one and two
on the active win list. So how do you think they won the World Series? JESSE DOUGHERTY: Yes. And then, on top of that, no team in history
had ever won the World Series by winning all four road games. So I think they just — this team had a propensity
to just make history one step at a time. And they won by just sticking it through. I mean, obviously, their starting pitching
was great. You have Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg. The ball is always in your court when you
have those guys going on the mound. And the Nationals set it up that they had
their best guys in the biggest moments. And they delivered. So I think it really was a star-driven victory. And, again, we saw the result that, when those
stars came to play and they did their thing, the Nationals were pretty unstoppable in the
end. NICK SCHIFRIN: The fact that Scherzer was
even on the mound was divine intervention, I think, one of your colleagues wrote. Let’s talk about the success of this team
and why you think they had it. There is a high payroll, obviously, but what
really defines the success? Does it come from that high payroll, or does
it come from something about how they develop these players and how these players play together? JESSE DOUGHERTY: Yes. I mean, since 2012, the Nationals have been
building a contender. I mean, I think high payrolls, it’s not new. That wasn’t sort of a new ingredient for this
team. So, when you think about success and what
gets you over the hump, of course, I mean, you get the right mix of talent. You spend money in the right way, but also
that chemistry mix was really important for this team. I mean, they were close. They played loose. They had a great mix of veterans. They were the oldest team in baseball, but
also had some young guys that kept them on their toes. So I think, the way this team gelled, the
way they love playing together, I think all of that comes into play, because, again, since
2012, this team has been spending and spending and spending and trying to get to this point,
but there was something missing. And so when you think of the missing piece
then, and you see the way this team really came together, I think you know all along
that just liking each other and liking playing together actually can be pretty powerful. And when you have talent in that mix, I mean,
that’s when you get a championship team. NICK SCHIFRIN: And, lastly, we’re both talking
from Washington about Washington. What does this mean for D.C.? JESSE DOUGHERTY: I mean, 86 years since D.C.
had been to a World Series at all, and then decades without a team. There’s generations of fans that lived without
baseball for a long time. And then, again, since ’05, there’s been a
lot of ups and downs, a lot of heartbreak. So for the city to finally get to see this
team break through, I think you start to trust in the sport again, trust that it doesn’t
have to always have a bad ending, and you can sort of — you can enjoy baseball in the
fall. And I think that’s what we’re going to see
this city do now in the coming days. NICK SCHIFRIN: They finished the fight, Nats
World Series victors. Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post, thanks
so much. JESSE DOUGHERTY: Thanks much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *