I don't have a lot of special Washington Nationals cards. Just a handful. But when I pull one, I notice it more than when I'm pulling one of another team, because I immediately think, "Geez, I'm stuck with this thing."
So the Nationals cards simply accumulate like a backed-up sink. Indeed, it does get a little messy because if anyone were to stumble across my card collection, they might say, "what, are you a Nationals fan or something?"
But if simply owning a semi-decent assortment of parallels of a particular team was a reason to be a fan, I would have become a diehard Oakland A's follower a long time ago.
No, there's more than that to my gradual admiration for the Nationals.
One is that their Triple A team is closer to where I live than any other team, and I get a chance to learn about the organization a little more than I can about the young prospects on other teams.
Another reason is that they are in the National League East, a division that is pretty much filled with teams I dislike -- and have disliked for a long, long, long time. Since before some of you were born.
I am legally required to root for one team per division. It's written down somewhere in some courthouse. And now that I've soured on the Phillies, and they're not going anywhere anyway, that doesn't leave much left. I can't possibly root for the Braves or Mets. The Marlins are done and were pretty stupid all year.
That leaves the Nationals.
And, the final reason in their favor is that they're a young and interesting team that features a combination of sharp, impressive pitchers, and breakout hitters.
I suppose that makes me a bandwagoner. But it's not like I'm ditching the Dodgers or anything. It only means you're probably going to see the Nationals make a huge jump when I update my Top 30 teams in a few months.
You've got to have teams to support in the playoffs -- you know, as a back-up -- and why not a team where I KNOW the cards are staying with me?
The truth is I don't really have many more nice Nationals cards than the few you see here. And after pulling two black-bordered Heritage Nationals and one refractor Heritage National this year, only shiny Espinosa is left. So, I can get the trades done. I just can't move the cards as quickly as a lot of other teams.
I'm hoping at least a few Nationals cards will stay with me through the playoffs. I can set them up on my TV set so they can send out winning vibes to their team as they play whatever hated National League club is opposing them (Dodgers excluded, of course). Why, if they end up facing the Giants, I might buy an entire Nationals uniform and wear it as they face that sickening collection of Scrappy-Doos.