The Washington Nationals will enter the weekend with the best record in all of baseball, which should remind fans of the transplanted franchise of bitter times. The last time a team in the club's history was in this position this late in the season was 1994, when the Montreal Expos were 72-39 on Aug. 8 and would go on to finish with a baseball-best 74-40 record.
Of course, that was the catastrophic lockout year that ended on Aug. 11 and featured no playoffs or World Series, so all the Expos got for their trouble was two months of temporary unemployment.
So, why bring up such a sore subject while things are going so well? Because of the quirky similarities between the standings that year and this season. Not only are the Nats looking down on the rest of the baseball world, but the same teams are leading each division in the American League and the Orioles are in the same position they were then -- in second place behind the Yankees.
In fact, right now, five of the six division leaders are the same as they were on the Aug. 8 of 1994, and there is a mathematical chance that all six will match up after the games on Aug. 11.
Fortunately, there is no labor war this year, so the season is going to play itself out -- hopefully with a degree of parity that was one of the stated goals of ownership when it embarked on the disastrous 1994 lockout strategy.
In retrospect, the 1994 work stoppage was a terrible thing, but it may have been the labor war to end all baseball labor wars. Since then, Major League Baseball and the players union have done a pretty good job of finding middle ground and avoiding the level of acrimony that led to that sad chapter in baseball history.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun