Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
A full house was on hand for Stephen Strasburg's debut earlier this summer.
I've read through all the responses, and based on what you all said, here's how the final "worst five days" list shakes out...
1. APRIL 5, 2010: On Opening Day at Nationals Park, with President Obama in attendance after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch (in a Nats jacket and White Sox cap), the Nats get creamed by the Phillies, 11-1, in front of a sellout crowd that includes at least 20,000 Philly fans who boo the home team.
2. SEPT. 26, 2006: Nick Johnson breaks his leg after colliding with Austin Kearns chasing a pop-up behind first base at Shea Stadium.
3. APRIL 19, 2009: For the third straight day, the Nats blow a ninth-inning lead to the Marlins. Joel Hanrahan blew the first two games of the weekend, serving up home runs. In the Sunday finale, Saul Rivera allowed four runs in the ninth on two hits and three walks, producing a 7-4 loss. After the game, the Nats overhaul the bullpen, optioning Rivera to Class AAA Syracuse and designating Steven Shell and Wil Ledezma for assignment.
4. DEC. 14, 2004: After a day-long session that grew heated as it progressed, the D.C. Council voted down the previously approved ballpark financing deal, saying now that 50 percent of the financing would have to come from private sources. MLB shuts down all non-baseball operations for the Nationals, including the new team offices and merchandise store outside RFK Stadium. At that moment, there's no guarantee the team will ever play a game in the District.
5. AUG. 16, 2008: The Nationals fail to sign first-round draft pick Aaron Crow when serious negotiations don't begin until 11:44 p.m. When the deadline arrives at midnight, the two sides are $900,000 apart.
Honorable mention: June 27, 2010: The Nats blow their third straight lead of at least four runs to the Orioles; Sept. 17, 2005: The Nats blow a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth in San Diego, killing their playoff hopes; Feb. 18, 2009: The Esmailyn Gonzalez scandal breaks; April 18, 2010: Jason Marquis fails to retire any of the seven batters he faces and the Nats give up 10 first-inning runs to the Brewers.
But enough negativity for now. Several of you have suggested we do a list of the five best days in Nationals history, and I couldn't be happier to start this discussion. I'll throw out some candidates for the list, then open it up to all of you to debate, vote and add your own choices.
As was the case with the "five worst days" list, the only criteria is that it had to feel like one of the best days in club history at that moment, not in hindsight.
Here are my candidates, listed in chronological order...
SEPT. 29, 2004: Major League Baseball announces the Montreal Expos will relocate to Washington for the 2005 season, bringing baseball back to the District for the first time in 33 years.
APRIL 14, 2005: In the first major-league game played in D.C. since the Senators' forfeited 1971 finale, George W. Bush throws out the ceremonial first pitch, using the same ball Joe Grzenda used in the ninth inning of that 1971 game. A full lineup of former Senators takes the field with the new Nationals. Livan Hernandez throws the first pitch and carries a one-hitter into the ninth inning. Vinny Castilla comes a single short of hitting for the cycle. Chad Cordero closes out the Nationals' 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks.
JUNE 12, 2005: The Nats win their 10th consecutive game, beating the Mariners 3-2 before a crowd of 37,130. It's their fifth one-run victory during the streak and it puts them 1 1/2 games up in the NL East.
JUNE 14, 2005: One night after the winning streak ends, Frank Robinson gets Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly ejected for having pine tar on his glove, setting off a bench-clearing incident that features Robinson and Mike Scioscia going toe-to-toe. After the dust settles, former Angel Jose Guillen crushes a game-tying, two-run homer that propels the Nats to a 6-3 victory.
JULY 3, 2005: The Nats beat the Cubs in 12 innings to reach the halfway point of the season at 50-31. They're on pace to win 100 games and hold a commanding 5 1/2-game lead in the NL East.
JUNE 18, 2006: One day after rallying from seven runs down to beat the Yankees, Ryan Zimmerman belts his first career walk-off homer, a two-run shot off Chien-Ming Wang to give the Nats a 3-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 45,157 on Father's Day.
MARCH 30, 2008: In the nationally televised inaugural game at Nationals Park, Ryan Zimmerman crushes another walk-off homer to beat the Braves, 3-2.
AUG. 17, 2009: The Nationals sign No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a record-setting, $15.1 million contract just 77 seconds before the midnight deadline.
JUNE 8, 2010: In perhaps the most-hyped debut in baseball history, Stephen Strasburg sets a Nationals record by striking out 14 batters over seven dominating innings. A sellout crowd of 40,315 and a national TV audience see the Nats beat the Pirates 5-2.
There you have it. Now it's your turn. Are there any other days you'd consider to be the best in Nationals history? And how would you rank your top five? I'll compile all the answers and post the definitive list later.