On the heels of a season in which they made some significant strides, the Nationals have plenty to be thankful for this time of year.
And fortunately for all of you, I happened to get my hands on a bunch of Thanksgiving messages from all sorts of Nationals employees, from players to coaches to the front office. I can't reveal how I came upon these messages. Let's just say the CIA was very much involved in the process and leave it at that.
So without further ado, here's what everyone in NatsTown is thankful for this year...
DAVEY JOHNSON: That Jim Riggleman decided to commit career suicide at a most opportune moment.
MIKE RIZZO: That baseball didn't ratify a new CBA featuring severe limits on draft spending until after he handed out 41.5 million to Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and Matt Purke. ... Oh yeah, and that Adam Dunn hit .159 in his first season in Chicago.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN: That Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun have already set the bar exceedingly high for players negotiating a long-term extension with the franchise that originally drafted them.
JAYSON WERTH: That he's got six more years to make everyone forget his first year in D.C.
STEPHEN STRASBURG: That Tommy John agreed to let Dr. Frank Jobe perform a revolutionary new surgery on his left elbow in 1974.
BRYCE HARPER: That his day is coming soon, even if it's not quite as soon as he'd prefer.
WILSON RAMOS: That he gets to go home every night to a loving family, with Nationals fans everywhere and the entire nation of Venezuela offering unwavering support.
ADAM LaROCHE: That he signed a two-year contract with the Nationals last winter.
MICHAEL MORSE: That he finally got the opportunity to play every day and show the baseball world the kind of player he could be.
JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: That the reins will be taken off his right arm in 2012.
CHIEN-MING WANG: That hard work and perseverance really does pay off.
DREW STOREN: That he was still wearing a Nationals uniform at 4:01 p.m. on July 31.
TYLER CLIPPARD: That more and more setup men are justifiably being rewarded for their dominant performances.
COLE KIMBALL: That he never got around to packing his bags during his 48 hours as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
HENRY RODRIGUEZ: That guys who throw 100 mph will always get chances to pitch late in games, no matter how few of those pitches enter the strike zone.
JIM RIGGLEMAN: That there will always be a stool at Caddie's with his name on it.
JOHN McLAREN: That he can boast the highest winning percentage of any manager in Nationals franchise history: 66 percent (2-1).
MARK LERNER: That his club is the only one in town consistently receiving positive reviews right now.
MARK ZUCKERMAN: That I've had the opportunity to get paid to do what I love for the last seven baseball seasons and get to interact on a daily basis with the most knowledgeable, most thoughtful and most loyal readers a sportswriter could ever hope to serve.
Hope everyone else out there feels as blessed as I do and enjoys a fantastic Thanksgiving with family, friends and food!