From the Desk of Mark Lerner: Step One

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Hello everyone.

As all Nationals fans undoubtedly know, last night the ballclub clinched D.C.’s first postseason berth since 1933.

Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson and the entire clubhouse will be quick to remind us that this is just the first step in an October journey. And they could not be more right. That said, there is no harm in taking a moment to reflect on just what has happened here.

Davey Johnson celebrates the first postseason in D.C. since 1933.

I imagine that the far-ranging emotions we are all feeling are equal parts wonderful and euphoric, and everything between. Think about the span of generations this postseason clinch affects.

Take my family for instance. My father, Ted Lerner, remembers the 1933 World Series. He was eight years old at the time. I think his long-term vision on how to build a franchise has set up this moment for all of us to enjoy. Most of my youth was spent following the exploits of the expansion Senators in the 1960’s. My three children grew up in the era where there was an unfortunate baseball void in Washington, D.C., and could only go to games at Camden Yards like a lot of us.

As diverging as my family’s perspectives are, how different is this moment in time for the youngsters in our area that were raised on Nationals baseball by Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Even within this modern grouping, you can see the differing perspectives.

But come the first weekend in October, that will change. This town, which is predicated on dueling political philosophies, will unite to witness postseason baseball in D.C. for the first time in 79 years. We’ll stand, clap and cheer together. Being together, united behind one cause, is something that this town is not used to, especially in October of an election year. But now we know it is coming and I cannot wait!

Some other quick thoughts after an historic night and what still lies ahead:

  • I alluded to it earlier, but I could not be more proud of Mike Rizzo and the job he has done. Mike is truly the Executive of the Year in my book. But let’s remember that this ballclub was not built in the last 12 months. Mike arrived in D.C. in the summer of 2006 as our first hire and has poured his soul into the job. And the results show.
  • When thinking about Mike and the job he’s done, my mind naturally segues to the Gio Gonzalez trade and how well that has worked out. Throughout Spring Training, I told anyone who would listen that Gio was special. He had “it.” Now his name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to Cy Young discussions. He’ll take another shot at his 20th win on Saturday afternoon against the Brewers. I know it means a lot to him and all Nats fans.
  • With a postseason berth now secure, everyone will rightfully turn their focus to the Braves and the NL East crown. As important as that is, don’t lose sight of the race for the best record in MLB. Remember, whoever posts the best record in the NL gets home field advantage during the seven-game NLCS. Think about how special that would be for our city, our team and our fans.

Please enjoy the last two regular season homestands and the pennant race. Come out to Nationals Park during the next few weeks to support the boys. They deserve it, and every game matters right now.

6 Comments

Thanks to Rizzo and the Lerners for putting this team together! I was there last night. Magical. Online right now to get playoff tix!

God I have waited so so long to see a washington baseball team make it to the playoffs.Now that I live in fl.I beg of you to please keep my Nats in Vieara for the sake of my 3 year old son we go to every game togeather and alot of the players know him by name.

As a fan of the Nats for the past three years, I have watched the team grow into something special. This is truly a “team”. Watch the bench when someone makes a great play or gets a key at bat, they are all happy as a team, they all celebrate as a team. This is one of the things that makes them successful, the success of the individuals becomes the succes of the team. There are no selfish players on the Nationals, they all work together for each other.

Great writeup but now let’s step up and get a deal with the metro in place for the playoffs. Not that I know the inner workings but to still have nothing in place for your fans that are buying playoff tickets is pretty sad. Trying not to take it personal but still no word? I’m sure I’m not the only one that it makes us feel less appreciated by this ball club. All other sports in the area have agreements in place.

I am really sorry that I moved to SW Florida 6 years ago. I grew up with the orginial Senators and old Griffith Stadium and then with the new Senators until Robert Short moved them in 1971. But thanks to Directv and the MLB Package, I have been able to follow the Nationals. I hope all the new Washingtonians know how lucky they are to have the Lerner Family and the Washington Nationals. Good luck on the road to World Series

To the Lerner family, Ted, Mark, et.al: Thank you so much for purchasing the Nationals and especially for bringing winning baseball back to Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. I was born in D.C. and attended my first Senators’ game in 1950 as a schoolboy patrol as a ten-year-old. I have been a fan ever since and have many fond memories of the old days…especially 1957 when I turned 17 and Roy Sievers hit 42 homeruns at the old Griffith Stadium, 15 of which I saw in person. On August 10, 1953 I watched Bob Porterfield defeat the Yankees…it was my 13th birthday, and also his…and after the game I was able to get his autograph. Most important, however, has been the return of Nationals to Washington during my retirement and giving me a sense of hope once again of seeing a World Series champion in my old age…..Thanks a million for all your family has done to bring this fondest wish to near reality.

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