As the Washington Nationals and their fans celebrated the team’s first National League East Division title since relocating from Montreal, there was one VIP in attendance important to Intercepts readers.
Intercepts noticed a tweet in the early innings of the team’s Oct. 1 tilt against the Philadelphia Phillies that said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was among the over 35,000 in attendance at Nationals Park.
A senior defense official confirmed on Oct. 2 that the defense secretary was indeed on hand as the former Montreal Expos franchise clinched its first division crown since 1981 and its very first since relocating to Washington in 2005.
“Panetta had a great time at the game last night and joked today that he’s never heard so much cheering at a game the home team lost,” the senior defense official said.
The Nationals lost the game 2-0, but clinched when the second-place Atlanta Braves lost 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. With two games to play, the Braves are three games behind Washington and cannot catch the Nationals.
It was getting late by the time word came of the Pirates win — the Nats and Phillies had just ended the top half of the ninth inning when the home team and its fans were informed of the Braves’ dagger loss.
Did the SecDef stick around to witness a little D.C. sports history by the Anacostia River?
“Yes,” the senior defense official said, “he was there to hear news of the clinch!”
(#Natitude is the team’s 2012 season marketing slogan. Several team members, during television interviews after the game, said the word means different things to players and fans. But most players agreed any definition should include the squad’s never-say-die attitude.)
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