The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2022 World Series in six games this past Saturday. The Washington Nationals were nowhere near the championship this year, but there were still a number of people with connections to them, and DC in general, who participated.
First, on the Astros side of the MLB championship, there were no former Nationals on the roster. However, Astros manager Dusty Baker managed the Nationals for two seasons from 2016 to 2017. Baker had won a ring as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981, however he had yet to win as a manager. He finally got there this year, 30 years after he was first hired to manage the San Francisco Giants. Plus, Baker was hired by the Astros after the sign-stealing scandal, so you can be happy for him with a clean conscience.
If you have loyalty to the DMV, you’ll be interested to hear that Astros pitcher Justin Verlander grew up in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. Verlander has already won a World Series, as he was on the controversial 2017 Astros team, but the American League Cy Young favorite deserved another one. He has a history of poor starts in World Series games, but in game five this year he finally got the World Series pitcher win that had eluded him.
The Astros notably lost to the Nationals in 2019 and this year’s Phillies were quite similar to those Nationals. The Phillies were a wildcard team who no one expected to get this far, and the Astros are a dominant machine. The Astros have played in the American League Championship Series every year for the past six and in doing so have become the first time in major league history to win a postseason series six years in a row. In short, the Astros are built to win the World Series. The Phillies had momentum, but the Astros were inevitable.
The Phillies have three former Nationals on their roster, with the most notable player being reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper. Harper was drafted first overall by the Nationals in 2010 and played for the team until 2018 when he signed with the Phillies as a free agent. He’s never won a World Series; he left the Nationals the season before they won and actually said he wanted to bring a championship back to D.C. in his first Phillies press conference. The subject of Bryce Harper is a bit of a sore spot for some D.C. fans, but he’s been so dominant for so long and deserves a championship. Harper and the Phillies fell short this year, but we’ll likely see them again soon.
Next is Kyle Schwarber who had a brief tenure with the Nationals, but certainly made an impact in the hearts of fans. Schwarber signed a one year contract with the Nationals in January 2021 and was traded to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline, but not before going on a tear in June and hitting 16 home runs in an 18 game span. Schwarber signed with the Phillies this March and is fun to root for, especially since he’s known to let a home run fly. He’s an entertaining person to watch for those just wanting to see something exciting happen. Save your tears for Schwarber as he has a ring from his time with the Chicago Cubs.
Finally, we have Brad Hand. Hand played for the Nationals for the same amount of time as Schwarber, having signed a contract as a free agent and then being dealt away before the trade deadline on July 29, 2021. Some would argue that Hand’s poor performances in games leading up to the trade deadline were the reason for the Nationals’ sale at the 2o21 trade deadline. He’s been better as a Phillie, but some Nationals fans may still harbor bad feelings towards him. Hand pitched well this postseason, though he is now a free agent so who knows where he’ll be next year.
So, the D.C.-themed cards are all laid out on the table. Though the Astros are greatly disliked among all other MLB fans, hopefully this helps you find bright spots within an unpopular outcome.