The Nationals are dead serious. They're not an arriving franchise. They're not just "for real" or a feel-good story or worthy of being patted on the head and complimented on their progress from the abyss of '08-'09.

A dominant theme of this All-Star Game has been the full-blown presence of the Nats as a National League power, as the best power-pitching team in the sport and a franchise with an immediate future as bright, or conceivably brighter, than any team. At stake in the All-Star Game is home field advantage in the World Series. Whether Washington quite realizes it yet or not, that is now a National issue after an 8-0 victory over the American League.