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[April 26th] -- Okay, okay. For you young Nationals' fans, I have to explain the headline. This will probably be the most interesting part of this post, considering what I have to work with baseball-wise.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. the first day of my freshman year of high school. I was scared to death and so excited that I couldn't sleep any more. I took a shower and got dressed (I bought a brand new dickey for that first day -- leave a comment if you want to know what that is!), ate a bowl of cereal, and still had an hour before I had to leave for the bus stop. My dad snapped this picture of my official "first day" and then headed off to work.

As soon as he got on the elevator, I latched the front door and turned on Dad's stereo, a stereo I wasn't allowed to listen to rock and roll on. Hey, I was a freshman. I carefully marked the analog dial with a pencil to show me the station he had it on (WMAL 63 -- always) and slowly turned the dial until I reached 1340, WEAM radio. "The WEAM team." A.M. radio that rocked! There was no rock and roll on FM back then -- well, not top 40 anyway. I had to listen to a Koons Ford commercial before the D.J. played his first song of the morning. He said something like: "Hey kids, it's 6:45 -- first day of school for most of you listening. Cheer up ... only 9 months until school's out ...ha ha ha [music begins] here's a new song from a group you're going to hear a lot about ... They're called Tee Set and this, kiddies, is Ma Belle Amie!"

The song made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up -- I loved it! The singer's deep voice, his fluency in both English and French, the simple lyrics, I was hooked. WEAM and WEEL played that song 10 times a day for a month, and then, just as quickly as it came, it went away.

Of course, The Tee Set, like the Nationals today, was a one-hit wonder. I never heard from them again. But I have a cassette with the song on it, and I listen to it at least once a week. "My Belle Amie" (this site has a 30 second preview of the song) is like a portal through time. It takes me back to a time in my life when my heart worked and I didn't, a time when I still had parents, a time when I could become anything I wanted. I have no regrets, but, truth be told, I could have done a few things a little different.

Oh well.

On to the Nationals. One hit. Ramon Ortiz sucked again. End of story. With each passing game, the Nationals are showing me that they are going to be a 70-73 win team, with some bright spots, but with many black holes as well. Sooner or later, the new management is going to decide to play the kids and prepare for next season, the first full year with a real owner.

And I'm cool with that. I mean, why keep pitching Ramon Ortiz every fifth game if he's going to give us no opportunity to win.

Maybe Jon Rauch is the answer, maybe not. Let's find out now.

I still love 'em, perhaps even more than last year. As a parent of six kids, I can tell you that it's easy to love your "perfect" kids, and harder to love the ones who give you a problem. That's why you love them even harder.

This season, I'm going to be loving the Nationals even harder.

I remember that song!
"My Belle Amie ... you were the sun and the stars and the sky and the deep blue sea ..."

Of course, I got over the song by early 1971

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