Back in 2019, in the afterglow of the Washington Nationals World Series championship, two area breweries included “District of Champions” on their labels. In the last year, both of those breweries have closed down.

The Nats haven’t closed shop, but it kind of feels like they have in trading away Max Scherzer, Trea Turner and Juan Soto over the last few seasons. They lost over 100 games last year! Another 100 loss season wouldn’t be shocking, though they have been better2 through the first third of the 2023 season. At least they didn’t go 19-31 again.

The Curse?!

Absent external events, sure, we could a call it curse. Unfortunately, there was a pandemic and the response to it by big brewers hurt the little guys:

During the pandemic “the larger craft breweries, the regional craft breweries, and the macros [think Bud, Miller, and Coors, plus seltzer and canned cocktails] squeezed mid-sized breweries like us pretty hard” with regards to distribution and off-premise sales, says Sellier.

Beltway Brewing Closing at the End of January – DC Beer

The Nats didn’t get the post-World Series bump in 2020 either and ownership’s non-baseball portfolio took a really big hit.

And then there is Strasburg

Over the weekend The Post published a story about Stephen Strasburg and it’s quite grim. In short, he may be irrevocably broken. Not just as a pitcher either.

Earlier this season,he lightly rehabbed at Nationals Park — in the mornings before most people showed up — and at a facility in Northern Virginia. For about 10 days, he made another push to throw off a mound. By mid-April, though, he was doing only lower-body exercises, according to two people familiar with his routine. The idea was to keep his lower half in shape while activating his trunk. But even those lower-body workouts strained the right side of his body because of the nerve damage. Pain, tingling and numbness shut him down again toward the end of the month.

Stephen Strasburg is completely shut down from physical activity again – The Post

Strasburg’s glory, including a World Series MVP, extracted a high physical toll. Ted Lerner seems to have negotiated against himself after the 2019 championship as well. He died earlier this year at age 97.

I don’t begrudge Strasburg collecting hundreds of millions from this contract. He put his body on his line and I imagine he’ll use every one of the remaining three years of his contract trying to pitch again. Or at least gain the full use of his body. I wish him well and treasure the memories he brought to our nation’s capital. It’s been a quite ride since he debuted 13 years today.

Not the only DC sports beer label change…

Image of Devil's Backbone Ale to the Redskins beer. The name was changed when the Washington NFL franchise dropped the racist nickname in 2020.

Back to beer, I’m not shedding tears over this label being obsolete. Commanders though? Boring! At least they appear to be on the way of being sold.3

Footnotes

1 I learned in 2019 or so that Beltway’s founder had been a classmate of mine in elementary school. Good guy and a good brewery that deserved better.

2 The Nats got to 25-32 on June 2, tying the Phillies for 4th place. They have since lost four in a row.

3 I will believe when it happens.

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