Nats could seize high ground

Updated: May 6, 2010, 12:20 PM ET
By Buster Olney

The Redskins are rebuilding, again, and the Wizards spent the winter dealing with a weapons issue. The Washington Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs, and the Orioles are on track to be eliminated sometime in late July or early August. The high ground is there for the Nationals to seize the sports conversation in Washington, and there are signs of progress.

The Nationals lost 103 games last year, and so far this year, they are 14-13. Before the season began, I wrote that both they and the Orioles could suffer through a brutal early stretch -- each team had perhaps the toughest April schedule in its respective league -- and yet Washington has thrived, while the Orioles have been swept under. And sometime in the next five weeks, Stephen Strasburg -- widely regarded as the greatest pitching prospect in recent memory -- will probably be summoned to the majors. This could only fuel interest in a team that is climbing, both in talent and in stature.

"It'll be nice to get him here," said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, on Wednesday afternoon. "It's going to be a circus."