Ultimate Standings: Nats not yet delivering, but fans aren't giving up

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Washington Nationals

Overall: 41
Title track: 53
Ownership: 29
Coaching: T60
Players: 27
Fan relations: 33
Affordability: 54
Stadium experience: 35
Bang for the buck: 78
Change from last year: +10

In the Nationals' 10th anniversary season, the club moves up exactly 10 spots in the Ultimate Standings. Coincidence? Well, the exact number might be by chance, but the general direction isn't. Fans gave the Nationals props for pulling out all the stops this year, though the result is another season without a pennant.

What's good

Popular additions at Nationals Park this season included the Sam Adams 10th Anniversary IPA and the Library of Congress-aided Baseball Americana exhibit. District denizens also dig giveaways like the 10th anniversary bobblehead series (five separate figures, including Livan Hernandez throwing out the first pitch in Nats history and Ryan Zimmerman belting the first walk-off homer), and the 10th anniversary nesting doll, featuring (from smallest to largest) Frank Robinson, Chad Cordero, Zimmerman, Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer. The latter three helped the Nats' player ranking climb to 27th, sixth best in baseball. The team also earned high scores in likability, effort and professionalism.

What's bad

Apparently having the best record in baseball over the past three seasons isn't enough to offset the cost of baseball's fifth-most expensive ticket. The Nationals' bang for the buck number is their worst showing. Fans also aren't convinced that Matt Williams is the man to take this team all the way, especially considering two wild-card losses in two tries and the way this year's team overwhelmingly disappointed. Williams' 60th-place finish is significantly worse than the Nats placed in the Davey Johnson era, when they were typically top 25 -- no surprise, then, that he was fired just after the season, especially considering the Harper-Papelbon debacle.

What's new

After plunking down $210 million to reel in former Cy Young winner Scherzer, the Nats got the third-best score in baseball (following the Yankees and Dodgers) in "willing to pay to attract quality players and coaches." Washington's payroll, sixth highest in MLB, surely had something to do with the 16-slot jump in ownership (to 29th). But as yet another season ends without a World Series -- or even a postseason -- fans no doubt wonder how long it will take for the moves by GM Mike Rizzo and owner Ted Lerner to pay off. The Nationals rank fourth best in baseball in "consistently winning more than they lose," but fan satisfaction only goes so far in the regular season.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays | Full rankings