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The Intangibles: Washington Nationals 
Posted on January 24, 2012 at 04:43 PM.
Today, I am continuing my look at all thirty teams in Baseball and the things that make them either great for starting a franchise, or lousy for playing one. This is "The Intangibles," a series of games that look at the aesthetic side of Baseball.

I grade my selections on these criteria...
  • Stadium Playability- This has to do with how well the stadium plays in the game
  • Stadium Aesthetics- Basically, how pretty the stadium is.
  • Team Logo- Is it unique or is it just another run of the mill baseball with circular text?
  • Uniforms- Are they classic, are they eye-poping, or do they induce depression?
  • Overall- Not an average, but a summation of the experience that I have with the team.
I will play with thirty teams in their stadiums, and I hope to have this done by the next baseball season. Today, I am heading to the Nation's Capital where the Washington Nationals are the focus of today's game. Baseball in the Nation's Capital used to be a foregone conclusion with the first Nationals team (that was known better by their unofficial nickname in the "Senators"). The team enjoyed only moderate success however, with only one World Series Championship in 1924 with Walter Johnson. The original team moved to Minnesota to become the Twins while one of the new expansion teams (the other being the Los Angeles Angels) went to Washington. That marriage wouldn't last however with that team moving in Arlington in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers. The current team has its roots north of the border, as the current Nationals were once the Montreal Expos. Even thought he Expos had one of the best teams in the 90's, Major League Baseball effectively killed the franchise slowly, and moved them down to Washington where the Nationals play today.

The Nationals have undergone a change since their first days in the early 2000's. The logo is a roundel, with the "curly W" centered and surrounding text "Washington Nationals" in white with blue background. The logo is very simplistic, but works well for the team. Although the "W" looks like a rip-off from Walgreen's, it's a very simple and classy design that is fitting of a team that plays in the Federal City.

The best part about the Nationals are their jerseys. Each one of the new jerseys are simply classic. The home whites, the road greys, and the red home alternate each feature the curly W, and there is piping that matches the color of the logo on each jersey. Each of these three jerseys are perfect options for the team, and are fitting of the logo and color scheme. There are problems however; the blue jersey has the interlocking "DC" logo in a stars and stripes motif that doesn't go well with the rest of the uniform, and the throwbacks don't have any mention of the Expos (which is probably a MLB thing more than SCEA). Still, this uniform set is one of the classiest in all of the Show.

The Nationals used to play at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which in the 60's was acceptable for baseball. However, in the 2000's it became an eyesore for the team, and Nationals Park was born. The ballpark is one of the first to be designed after the retro ballpark craze of the mid 90's. The facade is ultra modern, and the interior is quite beautiful with jade colored limestone. The park does have kooky features, including the center field point mimicking the old outfield at Griffith Stadium. The batter's eye is distractingly abstract unfortunately along with a rotating LED ribbon board above the center field seats, but most other parts of the outfield are nice to the eye. The outfield has a beautiful shot of the Capitol and a large parking garage for fans. Overall, the beauty of the stadium is captured nicely, and Nationals Park will be a future example of how to build a modern ballpark.

Playability wise, the ballpark plays big in my experience. Right field is deceptivly large with a huge wall in the gap and ample room in front of the home bullpen. The foul territory is quite short, but the room in the outfield makes this a neutral (leaning towards pitcher's) park. If you're starting a franchise with this team, look toward getting good pitching and right handed bats. With the roster that the team currently has, it shouldn't be too hard to build a winning club.

Grading the whole thing...
  • Stadium Playability- (A-)
  • Stadium Aesthetics- (B+)
  • Team Logo- (A-)
  • Uniforms- (A+)
  • Overall- (A)
The Nationals have to have one of the greatest sets of intangibles in all of the Show. The uniforms, the logo, and even the new stadium ooze classic baseball. I expect the Nationals to become the favorite team of logo and uniform aficionados everywhere.
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