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Farewell, Michael Morse

It was certainly an inevitable situation as Mike Rizzo tinkered with and cemented the Nationals line-up for the 2013 season, and now, Michael Morse’s time in Washington has come to an end. The Beast was traded yesterday to the Seattle Mariners in a three-way trade that will bring AJ Cole back to the District.

It was his 2011 campaign that truly brought him to the forefront as his bat did the work and his antics made fans swoon. His impact on so many games that season is undeniable and he was the offensive spark in the otherwise lackluster Nationals line-up. That season brought the Nats to the verge of taking the team to the division title the next year and his contributions will not be forgotten.

Singing his signature song, his cobra snake pre-bat routine, his elaborate schemes to smack shaving cream in teammates’ faces, and the phantom grand slam, among others, made Morse seem like the guy you could strike up a conversation with and instantly like him. And it felt like he’d enjoy it just as much.

Morse was the personality that made the Nationals in 2011-2012 so incredibly likeable. The Nats have a plethora of likeable personalities that seem, at times, to just be shy. Morse brought out those personalities. Not only did he make the fans smile, but it was clear he was that eccentric spark in the clubhouse that made fans cherish the roster they had.

Morse’s final at-bat came directly after the 45,966 in attendance at game 5 of the NLDS sang him one last tune, his signature late-game walk-up music of Aha’s “Take on Me.” To be perfectly honest, the above video nearly brought me to tears. It certainly became a tradition for the faithful and one that should follow the Beast on the rest of his journey through his career. So long, Beast. You will be missed.

Oh yeah, I’m also thankful he got traded to the other league. Thanks, Rizzo.

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Building blocks

I’ve always felt writing things down in the heat of the moment is the best way to bestow the true emotion of a situation. So to start that off…

I’m absolutely devastated.

I’ve been a straight-ticket DC sports fan for life and I’ve witnessed my fair share of heartbreak. It’s never been easy and my teams have always, ALWAYS let me down.

But that hurt the most. That hurt really bad.

It will go down in history as the biggest collapse in MLB postseason history, but that doesn’t quite sum up how much a punch in the gut that truly was. While Jayson Werth’s walk-off on Thursday night was “unbelievable” as Charlie Slowes so elegantly put it in his radio call on 1067, the Friday night nightmare was just as unbelievable… but in that awful way that’s hard to put into words.

But let’s not forget what a magical ride this season has been.

We experienced something great in 2012. At the beginning of the season, we told ourselves we were a year away from major accomplishments and were using this year as a building block. That building block turned into five months at the top of the division, our first NL East title, and the best record in baseball. I can’t find a single person that said we could achieve that much in 2012. Not one.

That’s nothing to scoff at. That’s something to build on.

The Nationals are built to endure the test of time. The team is young and the major parts (Werth, Harp, Stras, Zimm, Zimm(nn) Desmond, Gio) are locked down for a number of years and with what we have, our window with only these players have opened a five year window of success. And that’s without any additions. The potential for this squad is astounding. I’m excited to see what they do in the coming years.

I still have the Natitude that was so amazingly ignited this season. Yeah, you’ll see that as a joke, but it’s not. This season turned me from someone who liked baseball to someone who came to truly love. So I wanna say thank you to Davey, the team, and the organization for putting something special in place that I’ll be able to vigilantly cheer for in the years to come.

170 until Opening Day.

Can’t wait.

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Michael Morse shows you how to go Beast Mode

2011 was Michael “Beast Mode” Morse’s breakout year and while he’s largely been ignored by the national media, Nationals fans love their stunning star. After Adam LaRoche went to the disabled list, Morse stepped up and did what few believe he could.

And now he’s getting some attention. So here he is explaining how his pre-plate superstition and the secret behind his swing for ESPN The Magazine’s Technique. Our Nats deserve the attention, especially after an off-season where the team picked up some players that add serious depth to the rotation in Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson.

This is a great video with some cool visuals so definitely give it a watch.

Morse led the team by hitting .303 and provided a bright spot in the lineup even without Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth struggling in the first year of his seven-year contract. He hit for power, he drove in runs, and most of all, he was clutch.

Here’s to hoping for bigger things for Morse in 2012. We’re counting on you, bud.

BONUS: Morse just posted this spread from ESPN The Magazine. So beast.

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