Musings about Bryce Harper, the Washington Nationals and the Cincinnati Jinx

(Photos by A Curious Introvert/Stats and Videos from

The big weekend of watching Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals live finally arrived and last Friday we traveled to Cincinnati to watch the red-hot Washington Nationals play the struggling Cincinnati Reds, who had lost 10 of their last 11 games prior to the weekend.

Bryce Harper - Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds 8
Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals

I had a little trepidation returning to Cincinnati for a sporting event since the last time I had traveled to Cincinnati wearing a sports jersey (#9 Carson Palmer) was January 8, 2006 when the Cincinnati Bengals, in their first playoff appearance in 15 years, played the Pittsburgh Steelers and not only did the Bengals lose 31-17 to the Steelers, but Carson Palmer, who was playing in his first playoff game, tore the ACL in his knee on his first pass of the game. After waiting three years to see Harper and the Nationals play, I tried to ignore the feelings of trepidation and the weekend weather report of rain and grabbed my Nationals gear for a fantastic weekend at the Great American Ball Park, but to be on the safe side, my husband thought it would be wise to get tickets for Friday’s game in addition to Saturday’s game just in case it rained and my belief in a Cincinnati jinx was real. Well, the weather was not a problem, but as you will see the Cincinnati jinx remains in effect.

I began watching the Washington Nationals because of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.  Just prior to the weekend, the Nationals announced that Werth would be out until August with two fractures in his wrist and since he was already on the disabled list and would not be playing on the weekend he probably cannot be a part of the jinx, but after everything else that happened I am also including Werth in the Cincinnati jinx.  Well, it only took 16 pitches to lose my first player of the weekend.  After walking the first batter in the 2nd inning, there was a meeting on the mound and Strasburg left the game with tightness in his neck muscle and by the end of the weekend was placed on the 15-day DL.

Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
Strasburg-Espinosa-Desmond - Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg – Exiting the Game After 16 Pitches

The next excitement occurred when Bryce Harper was up to bat in the seventh inning with the Nationals behind 4-2 and Denard Span on second base and the Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Tony Cingrani, nailed Harper with a fastball in the middle of the back right between the numbers.  Well, it appears Harper may have made a comment to the pitcher and did not proceed to first base fast enough, because pretty soon Joey Votto and the Cincinnati fans were yelling at Harper and the umpire stepped between Votto and Harper to calm things down (I believe at the same time my husband was holding onto my Harper jersey to calm me down).  As a result of this play, I lost my second player of the weekend when Bryce Harper was scratched from the lineup on Saturday due to a sore back.

Bryce Harper & Joey Votto - Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Bryce Harper and Joey Votto

During Saturday’s game I lost my third player of the weekend when another of my favorite players, Yunel Escobar, was ejected in the seventh inning after arguing balls and strikes.

Yunel Escobar - Washington Nationals 2
Yunel Escobar – Washington Nationals

The last player lost for the weekend was Denard Span, who left in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, but I don’t know if the Cincinnati jinx was still in effect because I was already halfway home by the time he left the game.

Denard Span - Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds
Denard Span – Washington Nationals

Not only did I lose these players for some of the weekend, but the Cincinnati Reds for only the second time this season swept an opponent, the Nationals were swept for the first time since the end of April, the Nationals are now only a 1/2 game up over the New York Mets, the Nationals had their first back-to-back loss in a month, and it was the first time Gio Gonzalez lost a game in the month of May.  Although my team had a lousy weekend, I must admit it was wonderful finally seeing Harper and the Nationals play and Cincinnati is a wonderful baseball town with a beautiful stadium.  I would love to attend the 2015 All-Star game being held in Cincinnati at the Great American Ball Park, but due to the Cincinnati jinx I am afraid to think what could happen to so many of my favorites playing together in Cincinnati.

2015 All-Star Game  - Great American Ball Park

p.s.  In addition to watching Joey Votto argue with Harper, I also had to watch Votto hit two home runs over the weekend for the Cincinnati Reds.

Joey Votto - Home Run - Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds - 5-29-15
Joey Votto Home Run – Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds – May 29, 2015
Joey Votto Home Run  - Nationals vs. Reds - 5-30-15
Joey Votto Home Run – Washington Nationals vs. Cincinnati Reds – May 30, 2015

p.s.s.  Following are videos, just in case you think I am exaggerating about the jinx.

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