When the Washington Nationals clinched the N.L. East on Monday night, it came with a set of bizarre circumstances. Not only did they secure the title at the end of a game they would soon after lose, their opponent on the field was the very team they were supplanting after a five-year reign. Despite being out of it for months, the Phillies were the defending champs and until last night had bragging rights over their upstart rivals.
In a game the Nationals lost, they won at the same time. And conversely, the Phillies lost on a night they won.
So after the crown had officially changed hands, the reactions from both teams and their media contingents were obviously much different. Those roles have also switched with the Philly side now taking stock in a season that will end after game number 162.
We went around the internet looking for the Phillies reaction to Monday night and here is what we found.
Philadelphia Daily News columnist David Murphy seems pretty upset about the loss:
"Cliff Lee once famously said Philadelphia fans do not need a teleprompter to know when to cheer. Well, neither do Nationals fans. They need a Hype Guy, which is really just another name for a male cheerleader who bounces up and down from section to section like a tailless, jersey-wearing Tigger, screaming and whistling and annoying the bejesus out of anybody who might actually be attempting to monitor pitch locations and secondary leads and other less, well, "hype" aspects of the game.
Nationals Park is not a place of nuance. It is all concrete and aluminum and national advertisements; game day is a succession of desperate gimmicks broken up by nine innings of baseball. During the early stages of Monday night's game, it was not immediately clear which was greater: the dramatic tension that surrounded the Nationals' unresolved quest to clinch the NL East, or that which surrounded a foam Teddy Roosevelt's quest to clinch his first-ever victory in a race against other presidential mascotcaricatures. See, the mascot race, while cliche from its inception, has nevertheless evolved to occupy a central role in the Nationals Park game-day experience, with poor Teddy doing his best Bull Moose Party impression and falling flat on his face during each competition."
"Without a doubt, it is different here. The excitement is more manufactured, the emotion less raw than it is in the historic sporting hotbeds of the Northeast, where the meaning of the mission has been passed down for generations."
(As if the Phillies sold out games when they were bad)
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel goes down fighting:
It made me mad, yeah, yes it did, Manuel said about the Nationals claiming what the Phillies had owned for the last five years. Im a bad loser. Nobody should be a good loser. Im a bad loser and I always will be.
Ive been mad for three or four weeks. It just hadnt been coming out.
"That is the first time I ever won and got beat."
CSNphilly.com columnist John Gonzalez has an interesting metaphor for the new division champs:
"And so they went down to D.C. to play the final series of the season three games against the Washington Nationals, who have been perched atop the NL East almost all year long, like some strange gargoyle that was unexpectedly added to the top of a previously beautiful building"
The Courier Post doesn't have much on the game itself, but their headline seems to have an opinion on the night:
"Phillies spoil Nats clincher"