1. As a diehard Washington sports fan, days like yesterday are worth their weight in gold. Don't ask me how you weigh a day. Ask Sheldon. In addition to being an amazing day to enjoy time with your family, dominate Easter egg hunts and sip cool cans of beer on the patio, it was a great day to be a DC sports fan. I know we are a Redskins site here, but I live and breathe all my teams. There is no denying the frame of mind that our spring and summer teams' seasons can leave us with leading up to September NFL kickoffs. If the Capitals had figured out a way to sneak into the playoffs, we could have had an outside shot at getting four teams into the postseason all in a one-year span. I call that the District Slam. I can't remember the last time it happened to be honest--maybe someone will beat me to finding out the answer below.
2. Since the Redskins are my favorite DC team, it only makes sense that I tend to view things through burgundy and gold-shaded lenses. I was nervous about the Nationals series against St. Louis. Stats and numbers in general mean very little to me after 20 games. Good early season performances are exciting, and sluggish starts can cause concern, but in general, as long as a ballclub is on the right side of .500 in the first month, you can't get overly worked up. That said, we Redskins fans tend to ignore this reasoning. I can honestly say I don't know which game caused me more anxiety yesterday: the Nats game or the Wizards game--which is absurdly stupid. Escaping the four-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals with a series split would kind of stop the bleeding that Atlanta has caused. The Cards are legit, and taking two out of four from them allows me to take a breath--dropping three out of four would have sent this town into a frenzy. That's what Redskins fans do!
3. Nobody wants to be owned by division opponents. After the Redskins completed the perfect season inside the NFC East in 2013 (going 0-6), the last thing I want to do this spring is watch the Atlanta Braves treat the Nats like rag dolls. I mean, it looked like we were playing our older brothers in those series against the Braves. It looked like Reed Doughty covering Andre Johnson. We absolutely had to AT LEAST split with a classy organization like St. Louis in order to stave off what was certain to be an absolute shitstorm in the District.
4. There were two things that happened this weekend with the Nats that Skins fans had to see that made us wince. The first was the benching of Bryce Harper. At this point, there is no need to really wallow in it--can you believe we are not wallowing in it? Do you remember when we sat Robert Griffin III last season? Wait, forget about that. Do you remember when we benched Donovan McNabb a few seasons ago at the end of the Detroit Lions game? Wasn't it at least partially due to his lack of "urgency" and the lack of Shanahan's faith in him to run the two minute drill with the proper level of hustle? Holy crap...the frenzy that ensued was insane. I have to be honest--when I saw Matt Williams' postgame conference after Harper was benched, I was in full-blown "NO HE DINNNN'T!!!!" mode. I was looking for the highest emotional ledge I could find to leap from. If it wasn't for a timely channel flip to catch up on Archer, I think I might have needed some serious help. The good news for the Nats and all of us fans is that Bryce was able to get back onto the field in short order and begin putting the incident in the rearview mirror. If only the Redskins could play every day. In addition to this, no Redskins fan is going to overlook leaving SEVENTEEN men on base. Let me put that performance in Redskins terms: we took the ball on every drive into the red zone, and didn't even get field goals out of the overwhelming majority of those drives. Sound familiar? (I guess two of those guys left on base were superfluous, like the information Chris Farley provided to Wayne and Garth.)
5. After Denard Span's walk-off at-bat, it was time to start getting ready for the Wizards playoff opener. I know that some of you could care less about the Wizards and whether or not they are in the playoffs, but to me, a postseason appearance by any DC sports team lifts the profile of all DC teams. It's the way our sports town is judged, and when you have multiple teams from one sports town making the postseason, it absolutely impacts the "atmosphere" around the sports town. Having the Wizards on national television, facing a very dangerous Chicago Bulls team, builds up the perception of our sports town and positively impacts all DC sports fans. It does NOT make us any less desperate for the Redskins to make the playoffs. It DOES make us feel like our town is capable of building winners, which I think makes a difference.
6. The Wizards game last night reminded me less about any of the Redskins' actual playoff games in recent memory as much as it reminded me about the game we played at the end of the 2012 season against Dallas to get into the playoffs. You could see the intensity in the Washington players early on the defensive side of the ball. You could see the way that Nene and Marcin Gortat showed up ready to lead from the paint. It very much reminded me of the way that Alfred Morris imposed his will against the Cowboys that cold, cold night. It reminded me of the focus we had on defense that night, when four quarters of tough play paid off with that late Rob Jackson interception. It reminded me that if the Wizards can battle for an improbable road playoff win in the opening game of the series (despite three other teams doing it...haha), the Redskins can find their way to a position in late December of 2014...fighting to be relevant in the postseason picture...giving us all reason to believe.