Chalk this agate under things we haven’t seen this decade: The Nationals being included in the Wild Card race standings.
It’s a tad bit misleading: Yes, the Nationals, at 58-63 are technically a team with a shot at the Wild Card spot, however unlikely. But so are the Pirates and Rockies, who have the same amount of wins as the Nats but more losses, placing them fractions of percentage points behind Washington’s baseball team. And those teams conveniently — and understandably — didn’t make the hometown paper’s cut. It is in the press’s interest to increase fan interest in the Nationals.
Even though the Nats are a long shot for any sort of playoff berth, the team is certainly the best it’s been since the first year in town, 2005, when at this point in the season the Nats’ record was a winning one at 64-57. The two next, err, best (less bad?) records the team put up in Washington were in 2006 and 2007, and on Aug. 18 of those years the team’s record was 54-68 and 55-68 respectively.
The fact that a mention of the Nats being more than a dozen games back in the race is evidence of the steep mountain of losing that the franchise is climbing out of. But it’s still encouraging and if I was working the baseball page for the Post that day, I would’ve included it too.