Every March, I check out Major League Baseball’s green St. Patrick’s Day merchandise as an indicator of the state of the Nationals and the league. Yes, really, I do. I’m only half-joking here. It works, you see?
In 2007, the Nationals saw a meager offering in a meager stadium. In 2008, amid the fallout from Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs, green scaled way back. In 2009, the league improved, but the Nationals stayed at zero. In many ways. In 2010, Stephen Strasburg arrived, and we returned to the green, celebrating St. Patrick’s again. In 2011, with our Strasburg hurt, our green merch finished dead last.
This St. Patrick’s, I bring mixed news. The Nationals aren’t last. We are a long, long way from first, but we’re not last. Across the league, there is upheaval. Every team gets green merchandise this year. A good sign of parity? Luck? (Socialism?) There’s also change among green leaders. The Phillies and Cubs have surged to the lead. Long-time St. Patrick’s leaders — the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets — have fallen back. Full list:
37, Phillies. 35, Cubs. 32, Red Sox. 31, Yankees. 23, Dodgers. 21, Mets and White Sox. 17, Braves, Twins. 16, Cardinals. 12, Giants. 11, Tigers.
Single digits: 8, Reds. 7, Astros, Indians, Orioles. 6, Brewers, Mariners and Rangers. 5, Athletics and Rays. 4, Angels, Nationals, Pirates, and Rockies. 3, Royals. 2, Marlins and Padres. 1, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks.
May chaotic road games rise up to meet you. May the wind be always blowing out. May the sun shine warm upon your wild day games.