From June to October 2012, Washington, D.C., writer Elliott Smith compiled his first book, “Beltway Boys: The Rise of the Nationals.” In a matter of months, first-time book author Elliott Smith was able to capture the rise of the Washington Nationals, outline the history of the Montreal Expos and highlight two current principal players in doing so.
The Washington Nationals are one of many professional baseball teams to exist in Washington. One of the most famous was the Washington Senators. The Senators eventually were moved to Minnesota, becoming the Minnesota Twins. The second chapter of the Washington Senators fell to having a losing record 10 out of its 11 years. When the second Senators’ team failed, it was moved in 1972 to Arlington, Texas, where it became the Texas Rangers.
In 2004, Major League Baseball announced that the Montreal Expos would leave Montreal, Quebec, to become the Washington Nationals, leaving the Toronto Blue Jays the only Canadian MLB team. The Nationals officially became the new face of D.C. baseball in 2005. After rough patches during the Nationals’ first few seasons, star players emerged the bullpen and the dugout alike to bring baseball glory back to Washington, starting in 2010.
Drafted in 2009, Stephen Strasburg made his MLB debut for the Nationals on June 8, 2010, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Having been one of the best collegiate pitchers for San Diego State University, Strasburg become starting pitcher for the Nats, after being deemed “most-hyped pick in draft history” by ESPN in 2009.
In 2010, Bryce Harper was drafted by the Nats. Although he didn’t make his MLB debut until April 28, 2012, and worked his way up the minor-league ladder, Harper was indeed drafted when he was 17. On May 6, 2012 against the Phillies, Harper became the first teenager to steal home plate in more than 45 years. Now almost 21 years old, Harper has a batting average of .274, 187 hits, and 34 home runs.
Author of “Beltway Boys,” Smith, a Northwestern University journalism alum, has always held sports close to his heart.
“I always knew I wanted to be a sportswriter,” Smith said during his June 8 book signing at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Covering baseball games as a freelance writer, Smith was able to use information gained for stories as material for his book. He had access to almost unlimited resources, as he has written for the Washington Post Express, the Washington Times, MLB.com and more. He was able to ask questions during coverage and use that coverage for his book, and even talked to Strasburg’s high school coach to gain insight on the star pitcher’s journey to the MLB.
“Beltway Boys” is meant for original and latest Nats fans alike. “It’s an interesting book for people who want to learn more about the franchise,” said Smith, “It’s a great entry point for fans.”
Smith has a lot of confidence in the team he consistently covers. “This is just the first chapter,” he said.