The O. Zone

Colorado fan pulling hard for O's, Nats World Series

By David O. Williams
Real AspenSeptember 21, 2012

The first Major League Baseball game I ever went to was when I was a 5- or 6-year-old kid in Washington, D.C. It must have been around 1970 or 71, and I believe it was the Washington Senators versus the Detroit Tigers at RFK Stadium. I know for sure it was the Senators.

So I’m definitely psyched to see baseball back in a big way in the nation’s capital, with the Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) clinching at least a wildcard berth on Thursday.

The version of the Senators that I saw as a kid is now in Texas, where the Rangers have one of the best records in the Majors and are trying to get back to the World Series for the third straight year. They never came close in Washington, registering only one winning season in 10 years as an expansion club from 1961 to 71.

David O. Williams

In fact, the last time the Senators went to the playoffs was in 1933, and that was the original Senators team that left town in 1960 to become the Minnesota Twins – a team that won it all in 1987 and 1991. The original Senators won the World Series just once, in 1924. So the Nationals have brought playoff baseball back inside the Beltway for the first time in 79 years.

That’s a legacy of futility that a Rockies’ fan such as myself can truly appreciate. We only have 16 years of awful baseball to reflect back on here in Colorado, if you eliminate our three playoff seasons (including one losing trip to the World Series in 2007).

For baseball fans in D.C., there wasn’t even a team to boo from 1972, when the Senators fled to Texas, to 2005, when the Expos fled Montreal for D.C. Except, just 45 miles to the northeast, you could always root for the Baltimore Orioles – a team I came to love and followed closely until we moved to Colorado in 1979.

Of course, back then there was a lot to love about the O’s. They won the World Series twice (1966 and 1970) while the Senators were making a laughingstock of the game in D.C. And they made it to the Series the last year I lived in D.C., losing in 1979 to the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates.

I still tried to follow the O’s from afar, especially because we had no Major League club in Colorado until 1993, and so I’ll never forget the last O’s team to win the World Series – the 1983 squad that featured a rookie shortstop named Cal Ripken Jr.

Cal never got back to baseball’s biggest stage. And ever since then, with the exception of a brief period in the late 90s, the Orioles have been terrible. So it’s good to see them just a game behind the New York Yankees in the A.L. East and 18 games up on the disastrously bad Boston Red Sox.

As a Rockies’ and an O’s fan, it’s really hard to say which team I hate more, the Yankees or the Sox – the team that swept Colorado in the 2007 World Series. I actually probably detest the San Francisco Giants more than both A.L. East bullies, but the Rox are so bad this year that it’s hard to generate much passion for anything going on in the N.L. West.

So I will live vicariously through the two teams in Washington and Baltimore, hoping the O’s catch and pass the Yankees for the division title and that the Nats make a deep playoff run. At this point, with my Rockies “playing for next year” since June, nothing would be better than an O’s, Nats World Series.

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