Nationals taking the optimism to their fans, selling playoff tickets
With 19 games remaining and a seven-game deficit in the wild-card standings, the Nationals are selling playoff tickets.
Can the Nationals still make the playoffs? Sure, their elimination number is still in double digits, so it's possible.
And they've got the playoff tickets to prove it:
Obviously there's really nothing wrong with this. If there is a late run, the Nats will have gotten a jumpstart on selling playoff tickets. In fact, almost every team even close to contention does this every year just to be prepared. Still, it's bound to draw laughter from several parties, including fans of Washington rivals.
I did want to see just how unlikely a run was. Remember 2011? Both the Rays and Cardinals made historic runs to steal the wild card in each respective league on the last day of the season -- within minutes of each other. That day will always stick out in the minds of die-hard baseball fans just because of how unlikely those runs were.
So I went back to look at where things stood after 143 games. That's how many the Nationals have played to this point.
The Cardinals were 6.5 games behind the Braves while the Rays were 5.5 games back of the Red Sox. The Nationals sit seven games behind the Reds right now for the second wild-card spot in the NL.
So, yeah, it's a tall order. Nothing wrong with a little preparation, though, right?