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Tomorrow's The Day

Oh my; spring training butterflies flutter in my stomach for the first time in 33 years. Spring training was a time of renewal, both for me and the Senators. They had a chance to win the pennant, just like the Yankees, and Red Sox, and A's and Twins. Minor league players would pitch two shutout innings and I would immediately anoint them as the next Walter Johnson. I remember Jeff Volweiller striking out the side in a game against the (how ironic is this?) Expos during their first year, a game that the Senators won 18-3. Voweiller would win 20 I thought, and the Nats would win 100. I would bring my (for the time) tiny transistor radio to school once each spring to listen to a game. I cut out part of my 3-ring binder so the radio would fit snugly into it. I bought an ear plug (antique headphones) and painted its white plastic the color of my skin. I looped it through my sleeve and out my collar and into my ear. I would pretend to read a book with my head cradled in my hand, which covered my ear. Neat. WTOP's reception was crackly and distant, but I was able to hear those names. Brinkman. Bosman. Howard and McMullen.

But alas, spring always ended and the reality of the regular season began. With the exception of 1971, the Senators lost every opening game that I was old enough to remember. By the end of the season, the Nats were in last place, about 100 games out of first. After the last out was made, I would envariably say, "Man they are going to be sooo good next year." And on it went.
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