The Nationals had just about played themselves out of contention and had you heard a peep from any of us? No, because we're all doing what we always do when the Phillies are playing out a meaningless September: Bitching about the Eagles. And, we've all been down in our city-sanctioned Pope bunkers eating dry goods.
Sure, it's fun to see a rival lose, but that Papelbon-Harper dust-up had nothing to do with us, even though, you know, the Phillies were across the diamond at the time, presumably wondering if they should call the cops while Bryce Harper was choked out by an insane person (According to many inside the game, this whole sequence was totally fine). Phillies fans were happy for the win - as were the players - but we managed to keep any blood off our hands.
Still, though, we had our good name dragged into the mess.
From DC Sports Bog:
Winner — Phillies fans
This was understandably overlooked in the moments after the incident. It shouldn't be. Imagine, just after the Papelbon trade, that you asked Phillies fans to concoct a dream scenario for how this transaction would play out. Would any of them have suggested that the Nats would almost immediately begin to slide in the standings after Papelbon's arrival, that Storen would wind up punching a locker and breaking his hand, that Papelbon would be suspended for throwing at Manny Machado, and that it would all culminate with Papelbon choking Washington's franchise player, in the dugout, on fan appreciation day, during a blowout home loss to the Phillies, the day after the Nats had been eliminated from playoff contention?
It's unimaginably worst-case for Washington, which makes it unimaginably best-case for Philadelphia. Fans of a last-place rival team shouldn't get to be this happy.
Something bad and scary happened in the Nationals dugout! Surely this has to be the fault of Phillies fans somewhere! No? Well, then at least they're watching it on television, cackling with villainous glee before dropping another puppy in the blender!
Did the Nationals not sit Papelbon down and go over the team rules point by point upon his arrival? He tends to need things explained directly. I don't know how they run their ship in Washington, but in Philadelphia, players strangling each other in the dugout is generally frowned upon.
And then to suggest that Phillies fans for some reason celebrated when Drew Storen broke his hand? Do you really think anybody was paying attention that deeply to Phillies baseball by that point? Washington can't even keep people in its park while they try desperately to contend; Phillies fans would have to have zero football teams to complain about and zero Popes coming to town, among other things not happening, to achieve the level of focus on a crappy baseball team that would allow them to take joy in another team's demoted closer hurting himself out of rage. I feel bad for Drew Storen.
Did I have fantasies about Jonathan Papelbon blowing a key game for the Nationals, possibly to the Phillies, possibly during a thunder storm as a lightning strike hits Papelbon exactly in the butt, possibly forcing him to waddle off the field humiliatingly, covering his butt with his glove as the Phillies circle the bases? Hey, this is baseball. Weather-based revenge fantasies are the most oft-cited unwritten rule.
I was a defender of Papelbon in Philadelphia - he pitched well, and many of our fans deserve a good crotch-grabbing now and again - but the guy outed himself as a deranged lunatic just now (maybe he could turn this all around if he blames the Super Moon) and is no longer, in my world, defensible.
Is there a certain dosage of glee that went into the Nationals implosion? Sure. Talk to a few Mets fans, you'll hear the same thing. But don't try and make us a part of your horrible scandal, Nationals. Get your own house in order. We were just standing here, not paying Jonathan Papelbon $16 million next season.
[Re-reads original blog post]
...that it would all culminate with Papelbon choking Washington's franchise player, in the dugout, on fan appreciation day, during a blowout home loss to the Phillies, the day after the Nats had been eliminated from playoff contention?
You know what, I retract this whole thing, that is way too perfect. I think it's the "Fan Appreciation Day" angle that cracks me up.