With the Washington Nationals protecting a one-run lead over the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning of Game 5 of the 2017 National League Division Series, Manager Dusty Baker summoned his ace, Max Scherzer, from the bullpen for a rare relief appearance. No one could have predicted what would transpire over the next three outs at Nationals Park — a sequence of outcomes never witnessed in nearly 3 million half-innings of recorded history — but baseball fan David Bledsoe already had an idea how the game would end.
“I knew [the Nationals] were going to lose,” the 60-year-old Bledsoe, who watched Game 5 from the comfort of his Alexandria home, said in a phone interview this week. “There was no possibility they were going to win that game. It just had that supernatural air to it.”
Black Thursday, Blue Monday is the first book for Bledsoe, a lawyer in the Washington area who grew up in South Carolina. His grandfather turned him into a baseball fan by listening to Milo Hamilton announce the Braves games (Joe Torre was his favorite player). Bledsoe attended the Nationals’ first opening day at RFK Stadium in 2005, and has been at virtually every opening day since. He believes the designated hitter is an abomination, and likely unconstitutional.
In discussing the book, Bledsoe notes some painful history, as covered in the Post article. In their last playoff appearance in 2018, with the Nats leading by a single run in Game 5, Max Scherzer, perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, suffered a meltdown unprecedented in the history of baseball, becoming the answer to an absurd trivia question in the process.
He asks, how to explain this bizarre history of failure for this powerhouse team? There can only be one possible explanation. They’re cursed.
The Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino. The Cubs had the Billy Goat Curse. So what is the curse of the Nationals? Calling his book "a a non-fiction murder mystery," Bledsoe poses the fateful question: Who killed the Nats?