If you'd asked 2009 Red Rover to fill in the blank: "next season, Matt Wieters will have 5 home runs by ___," I would have answered "the third inning." That we are 67 games and more than 200 at-bats into this season and Wieters has only 5 home runs and a dreadful .230 batting average has me concerned. Not enough to abandon ship like some spineless traitor, but enough to pierce through the protective shield of numbness I have carefully crafted over the past decade of local sporting failure.
Luckily, when disappointment of this magnitude strikes me, I have a fail-safe coping mechanism: I rationalize. I think of random stuff that's to blame for the shortcomings of my adopted extensions of self. After all, I'm totally awesome and therefore so are the athletes I root for. So, Matt Wieters, what ails ye?
1.) A strained ligament in the doohicky.
2.) Behind-the-scenes relationship strife with secret lover January Jones.
3.) His hands sting from the powerful fastballs of future aces and stalwart rookies Brian Matusz and Jakie Arrieta.
4.) He is lulling American League pitchers to sleep, poised to break out with a 50 HR second half.
5.) He is saving all of his strength to hit a 49 mile home run that nails Strasburg on the mound in DC that would thereby eliminate that attention-thieving foe and reintroduce Wieters to the local messianic spotlight.
6.) He is actually secretly Ted Leonsis. Man's been busy recently.
7.) He is so respectful of Ovechkin, he will wait until the Great 8 and the Caps get their Cup before he starts his career.
8.) He wants me to start rooting for the Nationals more.
If number 8 is the sole reason, then I guess Matt Wieters is God. Because isn't this EXACTLY like the biblical tests God gives to those Bible guys who have to, like, you know, avoid temptation and whatever? Like that dude who couldn't eat the apple and stuff? Or wasn't there a dude who God sent some once-in-a-generation flamethrowing ace to root for instead of an overhyped catching prospect up the road? I think that was Leviticus. See mom! I paid attention in Sunday school.
Well, GodWieters, I'm trying my damndest. Yet I find myself emotionally investing in the Nats success, and I'm struggling with this dilemma just like Rico Fantastic and Marion's Crackpipe. Although these new feelings come not at the expense of rooting for the O's, I fear someday they might. So throw me a bone here. Or at least make a female companion out of a bone for me, like you did with the apple thief. That would be pretty weird.