Since the restart of baseball was officially announced, we've been bathed in a whirlwind of nostalgia on social media. Everything from reliving the Nationals World Series win, to figuring out who we'll see in the DH spot to, well, whatever this is...
ICYMI: Nationals baseball is back pic.twitter.com/uPqLzA3mee— NBC Sports Nationals (@NBCSNationals) June 24, 2020
...the "baseball is back" energy is strong.
So with that in mind, here's a list of the Top Ten things we should all be looking forward to when the Nationals take the field in July:
1. A World Series title defense: Remember that whole narrative? With all this madness swirling around the return of baseball we temporarily lost the ability to bask in calling the Nationals "defending World Series champs". Well that's back again.
2. More dance parties:
3. Who will be the Nats DH?: It will likely be by committee, but with names like Howie Kendrick and Ryan Zimmerman on the roster, expect to see them slotted there the most. Especially Kendrick, who hit .344/.395/.572 with 17 homers and 23 doubles over 370 plate appearances last year, heading into his age 37 season, the extra plate appearances while staying off the field could be a major plus.
4. The Soto Shuffle:
5. Creating a Yankees/Nats rivalry?: The schedule may be shorter, but it just got tougher with 20 games against the American League East, which includes one of the best teams in baseball in the New York Yankees. It'll be interesting to see if these games develop any sort of budding rivalry with a team like the Yankees. Maybe.
6. Runner on second in extras: C'mon, this is gonna be fun. Let's embrace some weird in baseball in 2020.
7. Carter Kieboom at third: Fair or not, he's been thrust into the position Anthony Rendon leaves empty with expectations to fill it. Can he make the leap this year?
8. Will the Nats again thrive under pressure?: Last year the Nats were in playoff mode from May to October. They're mentally tough. They'll need it again this year in a weird and condensed season.
9. Juan Soto's growth: The Soto Shuffle is great, but what he does other than that is more important. Since the start of the 20th century, only two players have posted a .400 on-base percentage over at least 1,000 plate appearances before turning 21: Soto and Hall of Famer Mel Ott, who hung up his cleats in 1926. He has a chance to be an all-time great.
10. Max Scherzer doing Max things: What more needs to be said? Sure Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin are great on the mound, but who doesn't get excited when Scherzer is set to start? He's been the best pitcher over the last decade, and they'll certainly need him again this year.
Of course, there's plenty more that we should be excited about, but the most important thing is that baseball is back, and it's time to see the Nats chase another World Series.
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