The 2019 Washington Nationals are far from the most talented team to win a World Series. The aren't the sexiest. Their flaws were self-evident. But they are champions in the truest, most admirable sense of the word. They are a group that delighted in sharing a foxhole with the next man up. They adopted a simple mantra of staying in the fight and did just that, through hell and high water.
You may not like them. You may not particularly remember them. You will respect them, though.
The Nats slayed the mighty Astros last night in Houston, the fourth straight such road victory. It was the fifth consecutive win while facing elimination Washington was able to clench its collective jaw and go get. Five times Dave Martinez's team stared down extinction. Five times life found a way.
That's Chaos Theory.
The heroics came from old and young alike. Juan Soto in the ninth inning of the Wild Card game. Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded in Los Angeles. Stephen Strasburg in five starts that announced his long-anticipated ascension to greatness. Max Scherzer in Game 7, affecting his best Willis Reed. Anthony Rendon in any at-bat in the seventh inning or later.
Their mission was to stay in the fight. And they did, through hell or high water. By now you've heard 349 times that they started 19-31. You may have forgotten the baggage this franchise was carrying a few weeks ago. They were the perennial playoff chokers incapable of winning anything. Time and time again October nightmares came to their doorstep to roost.
The other shoe always dropped and the stagecoach turned into a pumpkin. But no longer. A few minutes before Halloween, Daniel Hudson fanned Michael Brantley to banish all those ghosts of postseason past. They were flung away like Hudson's mitt. The party was on. The long and daunting fight was over.
Every team that found itself sparring with the Nationals went home with a black eye. Washington is flying home with the trophy. This team was unkillable no matter how much it looked as though they could bleed out at any second.
They will be remembered as fighters, which is all they ever wanted.