The pressure of being No. 1

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I am a die-hard baseball fan. The nature of the game draws me in – it’s the perfect combination of thinking and athletic ability. That, combined with the fact that the game is played nearly every day, has made me a baseball enthusiast.

I picked up baseball when the Washington Nationals moved to my hometown of Washington, D.C. from Montreal, Canada, where they were known as the Expos, in 2005. I have watched that franchise build from the ground up, with a passion that has kept me hooked through some horrible seasons in 2008 and 2009.

While I spent night after night watching the Nationals find ways to lose, the college summer team I worked for (the Alexandria Aces) and my beloved Bishop Ireton High School Cardinals were also lacking in the win column. In fact, the 2011 Cardinals finished in ninth place (out of nine) in a league where the top eight make the playoffs. Whoops. I was the definition of a lovable loser. Way too much passion with no success to show for it.

Left-handed senior Spencer Medick (23) returns to the SoCon favorite Phoenix as one of nine seniors on the team. File photo by Al Drago, Photo Editor.

Left-handed senior Spencer Medick (23) returns to the SoCon favorite Phoenix as one of nine seniors on the team. File photo by Al Drago, photo editor.

Needless to say, I admired Elon University’s strong and storied baseball program when I was making my college decision. I am beyond excited to begin working for the Phoenix as a play-by-play broadcaster and public address announcer and helping cover the team for The Pendulum.

There is one thing about this 2013 season that is different from all the rest. For once, the lovable loser is a favorite.  The Nationals finally cracked the playoffs in 2012, storming to 98 wins and a National League East Division title. The team fell short of winning it all, though, dropping a heartbreaker to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS, 9-7.

The Nationals have upgraded in the offseason and the scary truth is that the team is expected to be better in 2013. Multiple media outlets have pegged the Curly W as the favorites to hoist the World Series trophy come October. I know this season will be a thrill ride, with every game containing playoff pressure. Excitement for Nationals baseball is at an all-time high, and I will be one of many who will be disappointed if there is no parade in Washington in the last week of October.

As if I needed to be more excited about baseball, the Elon University Phoenix was recently pegged as the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference by the league’s 11 head coaches. This means both of my teams are expected to bring home a championship in 2013. Welcome to Elon baseball. Enjoy the stress.

My fingernails may be in good shape now, but their status as the season wears along is in jeopardy. Is this the year that I finally get to see my team win a title? Only time will tell.

Nationals’ Spring Training opens Feb. 12 and Elon opens its season Feb. 15. Bring it on. I can’t wait.

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