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The complete guide to the weirdest Nats fans superstitions

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The complete guide to the weirdest Nats fans superstitions

Superstitions and baseball go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Nats have worn their postseason blue threads consecutively since winning Game 4 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They haven't lost since. When asked about wearing the alternate jerseys in the postseason, manager Davey Martinez said, "I'm not superstitious, I'm just a little stitious," quoting The Office.

But ballplayers aren't the only ones with superstitions. With the Washington Nationals advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history, many fans are convinced their superstitions are helping the team win. NBC 4 meteorologist Doug Kammerer has been eating chicken wings prior to every game. He was even nice enough to eat his wings before the Washington Mystics won their first-ever WNBA Championship.

I took to Twitter to find Nats fans with some weirder than average superstitions. Read the thread for a good laugh, or to find solidarity in your own superstitions. 

Some said talking about superstitions is a superstition within itself, but I couldn't resist sharing some of the best. These replies take the cake:

NBC Sports Washington and Sports Junkies producer Doug McKinney has a laundry list of superstitions that vary depending on the location in which he’s viewing the game. One of which included wearing a blue suit to his wedding Columbus Day weekend to match the Nats’ postseason blue threads.

“When the Nats are on the mound: I’ll have the sound off and will hold - more like squeeze - a baseball,” McKinney said in a private message that he gave permission to share. “I like pacing around the room, using different grips, just trying to make time go faster and get out of the inning so we can hit.”

“When the Nats are at-bat: mute button goes off, I’ll switch out the baseball for a bat.  I’ll just swing the bat freely in the air or if it’s an intense inning, I’ll use it as a lightsaber or a golf club.” 

Right on, McKinney.

Another private message I received was from a fan who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of germ shaming. "The last time I changed our sheets was the first day of the NLDS," they said. "I have been instructed not to change them. Our kid was sick this week and definitely laid in our bed, but a World Series trumps germ control..."

Honestly, respect.

One fan turned his superstition into a fundraiser for the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. Matt Natali has pledged to shave his playoff beard he's been growing since 2012 if the Nats win the World Series. He has also not trimmed his beard since the start of the playoffs. 

I got a lot of replies about wearing the same outfits, no matter how weird the combination. McKinney wears a blue shirt on game day, and the jersey of the Nats' pitcher during the game. These were a few of my favorite outfit combinations:

 

One fan dresses up her pug J.J. as the pope with various Nationals accessories, including a Nats hat, a shark, and goggles with champagne, my personal favorite.

Shark accessories are a must, and one fan has a very specific outfit complete with these shark shoes that she found on Amazon during Shark Week.

Another favorite was a private message from season ticket holder Jennifer O’Dell, who has saved postseason ticket strips for the past 10 years. After the Nats failed to make the postseason in 2018, Jennifer and her husband Jason Shaffer, decided to burn the unused copies (including World Series tickets) to “cleanse the city and team of all the bad juju,” she said. O’Dell even took a video of it.

“I am responsible for the Nats making the World Series I think!” she said.

Another season ticket holder admittedly decided to add only $25 to her Nats' e-cash before the Wild Card Game instead of her usual $100 in fear of losing money if the Nats didn't advance. She's been adding only $25 to her pass prior to postseason playoff games ever since.

One fan has been eating the breakfast of champions ever since Alex Ovechkin threw out the first pitch at NLDS Game 4 against the Dodgers.

 

Another fan has turned to a rally apple for luck. It's even been to L.A.!

 

Media members have been lucky enough to see the celebration and fanfare up close, such as NBC Sports Washington's Savannah McCann, who had an outfit malfunction during the Wild Card Game that led to superstition, and quite a few ruined outfits.

I received many replies with homemade shrines:

One good luck locust:

Some oddly specific meal plans:

Specific accessories:

My high school government teacher Jennifer Rodgers even chimed in, saying she’s noticed a correlation between students’ homework completion and the Nats winning, kind of like a snow day.

 

I have to say, the inspiration for this article was my die-hard Nats fan dad. During the Caps’ Stanley Cup run while down two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets in round one, for some unknown reason, he thought to put a paper towel roll in our coat rack, and the rest is history. He decided to repeat the superstition with the Nats this postseason hoping the luck would carry over and so far, it has. When I told him I was writing this article, he disclosed his secret superstition. Additionally, he reps a Caps t-shirt while watching every Nats game. 

It's only crazy if it doesn't work...right, Nats fans?

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Anthony Rendon’s future appears set following Stephen Strasburg deal

Anthony Rendon’s future appears set following Stephen Strasburg deal

SAN DIEGO -- On the stage Monday at the Winter Meetings, two key components of Anthony Rendon’s future chatted before the television’s red camera light popped on.

Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras passed a final 30 seconds before showtime with small talk, then addressed the first bombastic signing of the Winter Meetings: Stephen Strasburg is returning to the Washington Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million deal. This, for all intents and purposes, ends Rendon’s time with the organization. 

The math creates a crunch. Rizzo tried to maneuver around the reality when on the dais next to Boras, but the reality is Washington does not want to surpass the competitive balance tax, it does not want to blow out payroll, and it has little wiggle room. Rendon moving on is the now an anchor in the offseason.

Washington operates with a big payroll and pocket-lining approach. A seeming dichotomy. It spends just to the edge. Then, it stops. Not too far to go over the tax. Not too far to appear reckless. But always far enough to say, correctly, the organization is a willing spender, a point Rizzo leaned on when asked about Rendon’s future Monday.

“You look at the history of the Nationals and the way we've positioned ourselves and the details of the contract and the way that it's structured, this ownership group has never shied away from putting the resources together to field a championship-caliber club,” Rizzo said. “I don't see them in any way hindering us from going after the elite players in the game.

“I think that Anthony Rendon is, again, one of the players that is most near and dear to my heart, a guy we've drafted, signed, developed, watched turn into a superstar, playoff success, and a huge part of the world championship run that we went on. So he's a guy that we love.

“The ownership has always given us the resources to field a great team, and we're always trying to win, and we're going to continue to do so.”

That is a 141-word non-answer. 

Washington’s managing principal owner Mark Lerner did not help Rizzo’s position before the Winter Meetings by stating the team could bring back only Rendon or Strasburg -- not both. 

“He did?” Rizzo joked. 

He did. Which, naturally, makes reporters curious about the correlation between a statement from ownership and Rizzo’s operating capacity.

“Well, when you look at those comments, and then you look at the structure of this particular deal and the structure of deals we've had getting up to where we are right now, I think Mark realizes that there's ways to fit players in, there's ways that you can field a championship-caliber roster -- and, again, the resources have always been there, so I don't expect that to change,” Rizzo said.

Here, he hopped into the idea Strasburg’s deferred money -- reportedly $80 million to be paid out within three years of the contract’s expiration -- suggesting the manipulation of those numbers keeps Rendon in play for the organization. It’s not enough. Not based on how the Nationals allocate and spend.

Which means they chose. Strasburg or Rendon. They could only have one, and they signed the homegrown pitcher and thanked Rendon for his time.

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Mike Rizzo believes there is a path to bring back Anthony Rendon even with Stephen Strasburg signed

Mike Rizzo believes there is a path to bring back Anthony Rendon even with Stephen Strasburg signed

The announcement of Stephen Strasburg signing a 7-year, $245 million deal to continue (and hopefully finish) his career in Washington was music to the ears of Nationals fans everywhere.

General Manager Mike Rizzo kept the good news coming during a joint press conference officially announcing the deal, implying that the Nationals were still in the conversation to resign their other superstar free agent: Anthony Rendon.

Rizzo was asked early on about how Strasburg’s mega deal might impact the team’s ability to purse (afford) a similar contract with Rendon. The Nationals’ GM was quick to point out he has never been hamstrung financially by the team’s ownership group, and he sees the franchise as capable of bringing back both World Series stars.

In response to his optimism, Rizzo was asked a follow up question specifically referencing Nationals owner Mark Lerner’s comments, in which he suggested to NBC Sports Washington that the Nats can only afford to pay one of Strasburg and Rendon. 

“When you look at those comments, and then you look at the structure of this particular deal, and the structure of deals we’ve had getting up to where we are right now, I think that Mark [Lerner] realizes that there’s ways to fit players in,” Rizzo responded, initially rebutting Lerner’s hesitation that there’d be enough money available. 

The Lerners are among the wealthiest ownership groups in Major League Baseball, and while hundreds of millions of dollars may seem like a lot, it’s important to remember that sports team owners are almost exclusively billionaires.

On the other hand, it’s also important to remember that the Nationals have never shied away from spending big if it means getting closer to a World Series title.

“There are ways that you can field a championship-caliber roster,” Rizzo continued. “And again, the resources have always been there. I don’t expect that to change.”

It’s a little eye-raising to hear two important decision-makers with the same team make such contrasting comments publicly, but this is the type of answer you’d expect from a team expecting to compete for more championships in the years to come.

Both Strasburg and Rendon were drafted by the Nationals and developed into World Series-winning superstars in the nation’s capital. It’s no surprise that the team would like to bring both back to their win-now club. 

What may be a surprise to Nats fans is if/when they elect to spend that kind of money. But don’t tell Mike Rizzo the team isn’t ready and willing to spend on another championship-level roster. 

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