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Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

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2005
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Washington Nationals

 

The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are a member of the Eastern Division of the National League of Major League Baseball (MLB). The team moved into the newly built Nationals Park in 2008, after playing their first three seasons in RFK Stadium. The new park is located in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River and with views of the Capitol.[1]

The Nationals name derives from the two former Washington baseball teams which had the same name (used interchangeably with Senators). Their nickname is "the Nats"—a shortened version that was also used by the old D.C. teams.

An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Montreal, Quebec in 1969. As the Montreal Expos, they were the first major league team in Canada. They played their home games at Jarry Park Stadium and later in the Olympic Stadium. In 1981, the Expos won a division championship, won their first-ever playoff series by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 3–2, and advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they would go on to lose that series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3–2, in their only postseason appearance during the strike-shortened 1981 season. The Expos had their highest winning percentage in the strike-shortened season of 1994, when the team had the best record in baseball. The team's subsequent shedding of players caused fan interest to drop off. After the 2001 season, MLB considered revoking the team's franchise, along with either the Minnesota Twins or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.[2][3] After being purchased by MLB in 2002, the team was moved before the 2005 season to Washington and renamed the Nationals. This was the first complete name change for a relocating team in MLB since 1972, when the Washington Senators left D.C. to become the Texas Rangers.

The Nationals are one of two MLB franchises, and the only one in the National League, that has never played in a World Series (the Seattle Mariners are the other).

Montreal Expos (1969–2004)
Main article: Montreal Expos
[edit] Bronfman era (1969–1990)

The Montreal Expos joined the National League in 1969, along with the San Diego Padres, with a majority share held by Charles Bronfman, a major shareholder in Seagram. Named after the Expo 67 World's Fair, the Expos' initial home was Jarry Park. Managed by Gene Mauch, the team lost 110 games in their first season, coincidentally matching the Padres inaugural win-loss record, and continued to struggle during their first decade with sub-.500 seasons. By 1976, they were back in last place, losing 107 games.

Starting in 1977, the team's home venue was Montreal's Olympic Stadium, built for the 1976 Summer Olympics. Two years later, the team won a franchise-high 95 games, finishing second in the National League East. The Expos began the 1980s with a core group of young players, including catcher Gary Carter, outfielders Tim Raines and Andre Dawson, third baseman Tim Wallach, and pitchers Steve Rogers and Bill Gullickson. The team won its only division championship in the strike-shortened split season of 1981, ending its season with a 3 games to 2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

The team spent most of the 1980s in the middle of the NL East pack, finishing in third or fourth place in eight out of nine seasons from 1982–1990. Buck Rodgers was hired as manager before the 1985 season and guided the Expos to a .500 or better record five times in six years, with the highlight coming in 1987, when they won 91 games. They finished third, but were just 4 games behind the division-winning Cardinals.
[edit] Brochu era (1991–1999)

Bronfman sold the team to a consortium of owners in 1991, with Claude Brochu as the managing general partner.[4][5] Rodgers, at that time second only to Gene Mauch in number of Expos games managed, was replaced partway through the 1991 season. In May 1992, Felipe Alou, a member of the Expos organization since 1976, was promoted to field manager, becoming the first Dominican-born manager in MLB history.[4] Alou would become the leader in Expos games managed, while guiding the team to winning records, including 1994, when the Expos, led by a talented group of players including Larry Walker, Moisés Alou, Marquis Grissom and Pedro Martínez, had the best record in the major leagues until the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season. After the disappointment of 1994, Expos management began shedding its key players, and the team's fan support dwindled.
[edit] Loria/MLB era (1999–2004)

Brochu sold control of the team to Jeffrey Loria in 1999,[6][7] but Loria failed to close on a plan to build a new downtown ballpark, and did not reach an agreement on television and English radio broadcast contracts for the 2000 season, reducing the team's media coverage.
[edit] Contraction

In November 2001, MLB's owners voted 28–2 to contract MLB by two teams — according to various sources, the Expos and the Minnesota Twins, both of which reportedly voted against contraction.[8] Subsequently, the Boston Red Sox were sold to a partnership led by John W. Henry, owner of the Florida Marlins.[8][9] In order to clear the way for Henry's group to assume ownership of the Red Sox, Henry sold the Marlins to Loria, and MLB purchased the Expos from Loria.[8] However, as the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, operator of the Metrodome, won an injunction requiring the Twins to play there in 2002,[8] MLB was unable to revoke the Twins franchise, and so had to keep the Twins and Expos as part of the MLB schedule. In the collective bargaining agreement signed with the players association in August 2002, contraction was prohibited through to the end of the contract in 2006.[10]
[edit] Relocation to Washington

With contraction no longer an option for the immediate term, MLB began looking for a relocation site for the Expos. Some of the choices included Oklahoma City; Washington, D.C.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Monterrey, Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Northern Virginia; Norfolk, Virginia; New Jersey; and Charlotte, North Carolina. In the decision-making process, Commissioner Bud Selig added Las Vegas, Nevada to the list of potential Expos homes. Washington, D.C. and Virginia emerged as the front-runners.

On September 29, 2004, MLB officially announced that the Expos would move to Washington, D.C. in 2005.[11] The Expos played their final game on October 3 at Shea Stadium, losing by a score of 8–1 against the New York Mets, the same opponent that the Expos first faced at its start, 35 years earlier. On November 15, a lawsuit by the former team owners against MLB and former majority owner Jeffrey Loria was struck down by arbitrators, bringing to an end all legal actions that would impede a move. The owners of the other MLB teams approved the move to Washington in a 28–1 vote on December 3 (Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos cast the sole dissenting vote).
[edit] Washington Nationals (2005–present)
Washington Nationals Primary (2005–2010)
[edit] Washington baseball history revived
Main article: History of Washington, D.C. professional baseball

Numerous professional baseball teams have called Washington D.C. home. The Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League, played in the nation's capital from 1901 to 1960. These Senators were founded and owned by Clark Griffith and played in Griffith Stadium. With notable stars including Walter Johnson and Joe Cronin, the Senators won the 1924 World Series and pennants in 1925 and 1933, but were more often unsuccessful and moved to Minnesota for the 1961 season where the team was renamed the Minnesota Twins. A second Washington Senators (1961–1971) had a winning record only once in their 11 years, though bright spots, such as slugger Frank Howard, earned the love of fans. The second Senators moved to Arlington, Texas for the 1972 season and changed their name to the Texas Rangers, and Washington spent the next 33 years without a baseball team.

Although there was some sentiment to revive the name Senators, political considerations factored into the choice of Nationals, a revival of the first American League franchise's "official" nickname used from 1905 to 1956.[12] Politicians and others in the District of Columbia objected to the name Senators because the District of Columbia does not have voting representation in Congress.[13] In addition, the Rangers still owned the rights to the Senators name.[14]
[edit] Fallout from the relocation
[edit] Opposition from the Orioles

The move was announced despite opposition from Peter Angelos, owner of the nearby Baltimore Orioles. Since 1972, the Orioles had been the only MLB franchise in the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area, which he considered a single market. Angelos contended that the Orioles would suffer financially if another team were allowed to enter the market, although the Orioles and the Washington Senators had shared the market successfully from 1954 through 1971. This reasoning disturbed many in Washington who recalled that it was the Griffith family, owners of the Washington Senators, who allowed the St. Louis Browns to move to Baltimore in 1954 in the first place.

On March 31, 2005, Angelos and Major League Baseball struck a deal to protect the Orioles against any financial harm the Nationals might present.

Under the terms of the deal, television and radio broadcast rights to Nationals games are handled by the Orioles franchise, who formed a new network (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) to produce and distribute the games for both franchises on both local affiliates and cable/satellite systems. MASN was not, however, immediately available on all cable providers, adding to the frustration of Nationals fans. In fact, most in the DC area missed almost the entirety of the Nationals first two seasons. The deal with Angelos makes the Nationals the only major league baseball team which does not own their own broadcast rights.
[edit] The ballpark controversy
Nationals at bat against the San Diego Padres in RFK Stadium.

The team's relocation to Washington was contingent on a financing plan for the Nationals' new stadium—this plan quickly became the subject of much debate on the D.C. Council.

Three Council members who supported Mayor Anthony Williams's plan were ousted in September 2004's Democratic party primary. In addition, an opinion poll conducted by The Washington Post during the peak of the controversy found that approximately two-thirds of District residents opposed the mayor's stadium plan.

Much of the controversy centered on the fact that the city would be helping finance a $581 million stadium without state or county support, despite the fact that a large portion of the team's fan base would be drawn from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs.[15] (The District of Columbia is not part of any state or county; the city is administered as a district directly by the United States Congress, with the city council serving as Congress' proxy).

During December 2004, the move to Washington itself was called into doubt when the D.C. Council sought to change details of the stadium's financing. When the Council voted on December 14 to require 50 percent private financing for any new stadium, MLB ceased promotional activities for the Nationals and announced that they would consider looking for a new market.

Eventually, the council passed an amended plan on December 21, 2004 that proved slightly more financially favorable to the city, while remaining acceptable to MLB. Mayor Williams signed the stadium financing package on December 30.

During the 2005 season, a private financing plan for construction of the stadium was negotiated between the city and a syndicate of bankers led by Deutsche Bank. The negotiations of the details ran into another problem in November 2005. The bankers requested a letter of credit or other financial guarantee of $24 million US, $6 million for each of four years, ensuring payment of lease revenues against various risks including poor attendance and terrorism. The city requested that Major League Baseball provide this guarantee, which they were unwilling to do.

On December 22, 2005, the "Post" reported that Major League Baseball had specifically instructed prospective owners not to offer to pay cost overruns on the stadium if they were selected as the owners. Bidders were also told not to communicate with the press about these issues.

In February 2006, the DC City Council imposed a $611 million cap on the stadium.

Finally, on March 5, Major League Baseball signed a lease for a new ballpark, agreeing to the city's $611 million cap. MLB also agreed to contribute $20 million toward the cost of the stadium, although it did not agree to cover stadium overruns. Further, MLB added the condition that excess ballpark tax revenue earmarked for debt service for the bonds to be available for cost overruns. Two days later, on March 7 the DC City Council, by a vote of 9–4, approved a construction contract for a state-of-the-art stadium with a contemporary glass-and-stone facade, seats for 41,000 fans and a view of the U.S. Capitol, and affirmed its demand that public spending on the project be limited to $611 million. The votes were the final actions needed to satisfy the terms of the deal struck in September 2004, paving the way for the sale of the team.

Major League Baseball had agreed at the time that the franchise was moved to Washington, DC, to sell the team to an owner or ownership syndicate. Several dates for sale of the team were set and missed due to the legal wrangling regarding the building of the stadium. The delay was harshly criticized by city residents and leaders as reported in The Washington Post.

Selecting from a finalized group of three potential ownership syndicates, Major League Baseball announced in July 2006 that it had chosen the Lerner Enterprises group, led by billionaire real-estate developer Theodore N. Lerner. The final sale price of the team was $450 million and the transfer of ownership was completed July 24, 2006. In late September 2006, Comcast finally agreed to broadcast the Nationals games.
[edit] Notable firsts from the 2005 season
Then President George W. Bush throws out a ceremonial first pitch in 2005.

    * On April 4, 2005, Brad Wilkerson (after being the last player to ever wear a Montreal Expo jersey) had the honor of being the first batter for the Washington Nationals and he promptly responded with the first hit for the new Washington incarnation of the team. Outfielder Terrmel Sledge hit the Nationals' first home run in the April 4 contest.
    * On April 6, 2005, the Washington Nationals recorded their first-ever regular season win by beating the Phillies, 7–3. The win came in their second game of the season and was highlighted by Wilkerson hitting for the cycle.
    * On April 14, 2005, the Washington Nationals won their first regular season home game at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C, by a score of 5–3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. President George W. Bush kept up a tradition of sitting U.S. Presidents by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on opening day in Washington, exactly 95 years after William Howard Taft started the tradition at Griffith Stadium. There were 45,596 fans in attendance, including former Senators players and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Liván Hernández threw eight shutout innings, and Vinny Castilla was denied the chance to hit for the cycle when Diamondback reliever Lance Cormier hit him with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth; Castilla needed only a single to complete the cycle. Chad Cordero recorded the save for Washington.
    * On August 4, 2005, Brad Wilkerson became the first Washington Nationals player to ever hit a grand slam, against then Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher, Duaner Sanchez. The Nationals won the game 7–0, on a four-hit complete game shutout by John Patterson.
    * During his August–September callup, Ryan Zimmerman recorded 23 hits in 58 at bats. He thus became the first member of the Washington Nationals to complete the season with a batting average of at least .300 in at least 50 at bats.
    * The Nationals led all National League teams in interleague play in 2005, recording 12 wins.
    * At the halfway mark of the season, the Nationals were in first place in the National League East division, with a record of 50–31.

[edit] Notable moments from the 2006 season

    * On Father's Day, June 18, 2006, the paid attendance was 45,157, the second-largest ever to see a single baseball game in the history of RFK stadium. In that game, the Nationals beat the New York Yankees 11–9 on a two-run walk-off home run by rookie Ryan Zimmerman. A 1962 doubleheader drew more spectators, as did the Nationals' first-ever home game with Arizona.
    * September 2, 2006, the Nationals rally from three runs down in the first game and from five runs down in the second game to take a day–night doubleheader sweep from the Arizona Diamondbacks, the first day-night doubleheader as part of the team's history in Washington.
    * On Labor Day, September 4, 2006 Ramon Ortiz takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, yet gives up a single to Aaron Miles on his 2nd pitch in the 9th to break up his no-hitter. Then he gave up a home run to Albert Pujols, which ended his chance to get his second ever career shutout. Ortiz himself also hit a home run in the 8th inning into the bullpen beyond the left-field fence at RFK. The Nationals won 5–2.
    * September 16, 2006, Alfonso Soriano becomes the fourth player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season when he steals his 40th base in the first inning of a game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. The other three are José Canseco of the Oakland Athletics in 1988, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 1996, and Alex Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners in 1998. Soriano follows that feat on September 22 by hitting his 40th double vs. the New York Mets, becoming the first member of the "40–40 Club" to also hit 40 doubles in the same season.

[edit] 2007 season
Main article: 2007 Washington Nationals season

After losing four starters (Liván Hernández, Tony Armas, Ramon Ortiz and Pedro Astacio) from the prior year, the Nationals invited an extraordinary 36 pitchers to spring training.[16][17] On Opening Day, the Nationals lost their starting shortstop (Cristian Guzman, hamstring) and center fielder (Nook Logan) for five weeks. At the end of April, one of their starters, Jerome Williams hurt his ankle while batting and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Then, in the space of just 10 days in May, Shawn Hill, John Patterson, and Jason Bergmann went on the disabled list. Jerome Williams returned, pitched one game, and went back on the DL with a shoulder injury. The Washington Post's wrote: "Almost everything that could sink a team's attitude has befallen the Nationals. They started the year 1–8, then they lost eight in a row to drop to 9–25."[18]

They pressed journeymen Mike Bacsik, Micah Bowie (a relief pitcher), Tim Redding, and Jason Simontacchi, along with rookie reliever Levale Speigner into the starting rotation, amidst predictions that the 2007 Nationals might equal the 1962 Mets' record of futility of 120 losses in one season.[19] The Nationals were also able to top the worst record in the American League set by the 2003 Detroit Tigers of 43 wins and 119 losses during the same predictions on the season. But the Nationals bounced back, going 24–18 in their next 42 games through June 25. But on that day, a day in which Bergman made his first start off the DL, the Nationals received the news that shortstop Cristian Guzman, their leadoff hitter (and second on the team with a .329 batting average) was lost for the rest of the season due to a thumb injury he received the day before tagging out a runner.

The Nationals finished the 2007 season 73–89, improving their record by two more wins than in 2006.
[edit] New ownership and "The Plan"

When Ted Lerner took over the club in mid-2006, he hired Stan Kasten as team president. Kasten was widely known as the architect of the Atlanta Braves before and during their run of 14 division titles. Kasten was also the general manager or president of many other Atlanta-area sports teams, such as the Atlanta Thrashers. "The Plan," as it became known, was a long-range rebuilding and restructuring of the team from the ground up. This plan included investing in the farm system and draft picks, and having a suitable team to go along with their new stadium.

At the end of the 2006 season, the Nationals did not re-sign free agent and star OF Alfonso Soriano. Soriano signed a $136 million contract with the Cubs, and Washington received two draft picks in return. OF Jose Guillen was also allowed to depart via free agency, and another high draft pick was obtained. Another high priced player, 2B/DH Jose Vidro, was traded to the Seattle Mariners for prospects OF Chris Snelling and RHP Emiliano Fruto. In mid-2006, the Nationals received OF Austin Kearns, 2B/SS Felipe López, and RHP Ryan Wagner from the Reds, giving up LHP Gary Majewski, LHP Bill Bray, SS Royce Clayton, 2B Brendan Harris and RHP Daryl Thompson. In August they traded RHP Liván Hernández to the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects LHP Matt Chico and RHP Garrett Mock. Other players traded or let go from the 2005 season were OF Preston Wilson, RHP Hector Carrasco, IF Jamey Carroll, and OF Terrmel Sledge. The team also acquired pitching prospects Luis Atilano from Atlanta, Shairon Martis from San Francisco and Jhonny Nunez from the Dodgers. In 2006, they had two first-round draft picks, OF Chris Marrero, and RHP Colten Williams, and signed them both to developmental contracts. The Nationals also signed a 16-year-old Dominican shortstop, Esmailyn Gonzalez, for $1.4 million.[20] Gonzalez was later revealed to be 20 years old at the time of his signing.[21]

In the front office, the Nationals hired the well-respected former Arizona scouting director Mike Rizzo to be the vice president of baseball operations, second in charge under then-general manager Jim Bowden.[22]

As for their farm system, the Nationals had a lot of work to do. By the spring of 2007, Baseball America had ranked the Nationals organization as dead last twice in four years in terms of minor league talent.[23]

The Nationals had five of the first seventy picks in the 2007 first-year player draft: their own two, and three compensation picks (two from losing Soriano, and one for Guillen). The team selected players that many considered to be four of the top 30 players available.[23] Overall, the Nationals signed all of their top twenty draft picks.[24] One of them, a first-round supplemental pick, Michael Burgess, was, by the end of the year, picked by Baseball America as the top prospect for the entire Gulf Coast League.[25] Their rookie team, Vermont, sent three starting pitchers Colton Willems, Glenn Gibson, and Adrian Alaniz, and two position players, first baseman Bill Rhinehart, and outfielder Aaron Seuss to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.[26] By the end of the season, three Vermont pitchers landed in the Top 20 prospects for the New York-Penn League:

    * 2007 second-round Jordan Zimmermann was ranked #5
    * 2006 fourth round LHP Glenn Gibson (later traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for Elijah Dukes) was ranked #9
    * 2006 first round RHP Colton Willems was ranked #11.[27]

In the low-A South Atlantic League Top 20, two players made the list:

    * Chris Marrero was ranked #5
    * Justin Maxwell, who played a few games with the Nationals during September, was ranked at #18.[28]

In addition, after having no teams in the Dominican Summer League, the Nationals fielded two clubs in 2007, one of which won the DSL Championships.[29]
[edit] Notable moments from the 2007 season

    * On April 17, 2007, one day after the shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech where 33 faculty and students were murdered in the largest mass shooting in US history, the Nationals wore Virginia Tech baseball hats as they hosted the Atlanta Braves.[30] The idea was e-mailed to team President Stan Kasten by Nats fan Dave Lanham following the shootings. One of these hats was sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to be displayed.[31]
    * On May 12, 2007, the Nationals hosted the Florida Marlins. Tied 3–3 in the bottom of the ninth Marlins pitcher Jorge Julio faced Ryan Zimmerman with the bases loaded and two outs. Zimmerman hit the 2–2 pitch over the right-center field wall for the walk-off grand slam.[32] Also during this game, right fielder Austin Kearns hit the Nationals' first inside-the-park home run. The game is further notable for ending at 1:42AM after two separate extended rain delays.
    * On August 7, 2007, Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik allowed Barry Bonds' 756th career home run, giving him first place on the career home run list. However, the Nationals won the game 8–6.
    * On September 23, 2007, the Nationals played their final game at RFK, a 5–3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

[edit] Notable moments from the 2008 season
Main article: 2008 Washington Nationals season
Nationals 2008 team during warm up

    * On March 30, 2008, the Nationals held the grand opening of their new ballpark, Nationals Park, with a rare one game series against the Atlanta Braves. Continuing the tradition, President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Nationals manager Manny Acta. The Nationals beat the Braves in dramatic fashion when, with two out in the bottom of the 9th inning, Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo walk-off home run off of pitcher Peter Moylan. This gave the Nationals a 3–2 victory. For the record, the first hit was recorded by Cristian Guzman, the first RBI was recorded by Nick Johnson, the first run scored was recorded by Cristian Guzman, the first home run was recorded by the Braves' Chipper Jones, and the first starting pitchers were Odalis Perez for the Nationals and Tim Hudson for the Braves. President Bush was in the ESPN television booth at the time of Jones' homer and was the one who called it.

[edit] "The Plan" reloaded

In March 2009, just prior to Spring Training, members of the Nationals' front office were implicated in a skimming scandal. Jose Rijo, a key adviser to Jim Bowden, was thought to be at the heart of this. As a result of this scandal, and also due to the Nationals' disappointing season in 2008, General Manager Jim Bowden resigned in Spring Training of 2009.

Mike Rizzo, the man serving as assistant G.M. for the previous two seasons, became the de facto G.M., and officially claimed the title on an interim basis weeks later. Rizzo began to shape the team in a way that was contrary to Bowden's previous methods. While Bowden was known for "dumpster-diving," that is attempting to find serviceable players among the less-than-desired, Mike Rizzo sought players who achieved results. Bowden took risks on players with poor reputations (such as outfielders Elijah Dukes and Lastings Milledge), while Rizzo made a point out of making certain his players possessed "character" and would contribute to a cohesive clubhouse.

Despite the failures of Bowden's tenure, his last trade appeared to have been extremely beneficial to the Nationals, as he traded infielder Emilio Bonifacio and two minor-leaguers to the Marlins for starting pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham.

Rizzo's first major trade during the 2009 season as General Manager of the Nationals was to trade Lastings Milledge along with control-challenged reliever Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates in exchange for speedy outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed relief pitcher Sean Burnett. Morgan was thought to be a great clubhouse presence as well as a slick fielder on the outfield grass.
Jason Marquis

Mike Rizzo's new philosophy continued to show in the 2009–2010 offseason. He was able to acquire second baseman Adam Kennedy, All Star starting pitcher Jason Marquis (who began the 2010 season very poorly, though it was later revealed that he had bone chips in his throwing elbow, his ERA was over 13 at one point), and catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. All three men had reputations as being great teammates. Collectively, they had extensive experience playing for successful teams. This was a contrast to the Nationals' roster at the time, which had some talented players who lacked experience playing for winning teams.
[edit] Notable moments from the 2009 season
Main article: 2009 Washington Nationals season

    * In April 2009, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn wore jerseys that improperly spelled the team's name as "Natinals [sic]". They later switched to properly spelled jerseys in the 3rd inning. Majestic Athletic, the uniform supplier for MLB later apologized. This spawned a rash of jokes both on the internet and on television regarding Nationals and futility.
    * On July 27, 2009, Josh Willingham hit 2 grand slams in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The first grand slam was hit against Jeff Suppan and the second against Mark DiFelice. Willingham became the 13th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
    * On September 30, 2009, Justin Maxwell hit a two-out full count walk-off grand slam off of Francisco Rodriguez of the New York Mets on Fan Appreciation Day, the Nationals' last home game of the season.
    * On October 4, 2009, the Nationals' last game of the season, the Nationals won after 15 innings, the longest game for the team as part of its Washington history. The Nationals also became the first team in MLB history to start the season losing 7 in a row and close the season winning 7 in a row.

[edit] Notable moments from the 2010 season
Main article: 2010 Washington Nationals season

    * On June 7, 2010 the Nationals selected Bryce Harper of Southern Nevada. Harper was expected to break the contract record set by Strasburg.[33] Harper is also a client of Strasburg's agent Scott Boras. With 26 seconds left to sign, Harper and Boras agreed to a 9.9 million dollar 5 year contract,[34] falling short of Strasburg's 15.5 million over 4 years.
    * On June 8, 2010, the 1st overall pick, Stephen Strasburg had his major league debut, attracting a sellout crowd of 40,315. Strasburg struck out 14 batters in 7 innings, giving up just 2 earned runs in a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 14 strikeouts were a record for the Nationals—the most in a single game by a National since the franchise moved to D.C.[35]
    * On July 29, 2010, the Nationals traded Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins for Wilson Ramos. Ramos was considered to be the top catching prospect in the American League.
    * On July 30, 2010, the Nationals traded infielder Cristian Guzmán to the Texas Rangers for two minor league pitchers. Guzmán had to approve the deal because he has 10-and-5 rights (players with 10 years in the major league and 5 consecutive years with their current team cannot be traded without their consent).[36]
    * On September 6, 2010, the Nationals won their 60th game of the season, eclipsing their win totals from the 2008 and 2009 season (finishing with 59 wins each time). September call-up Danny Espinosa hit 2 home runs including a grand slam in the Nationals' 13–3 win ove the Mets at Nationals Park.[37]
    * On September 20, 2010, the Nationals recorded their lowest attendance ever since they came to Washington, with just 10,999 in attendance for a game against the Houston Astros.[38] The poor attendance continued during the whole series, with less than 12,000 on September 21, less than 13,000 on September 22, and 14,633 on September 23.[39][40]
    * On September 23, 2010, team president Stan Kasten announced he would resign at the end of the season.[39] Kasten did not explain in detail his reason for resigning and said, "It's just time to be doing something else."[41]
    * On November 10, 2010, the Nationals unveiled a new logo and uniforms.[42][43]
    * On December 5, 2010, the Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a 7 year deal worth $126 million.

 
 
 
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  • akkuikku said: Really thank you for sharing the list that really remind the history of the game. It is a very good memories are reflected in that chart. Sometime the team scores good, sometimes they don't. This game is sometime more than the winning and the loosing. snoring mouthpiece 7:49AM 02/12/14
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