Stats don’t tell story of Nats fans’ adoration for Taylor

The day will come, perhaps in 10 years or 20 years or even more, when someone will mention Michael A. Taylor’s name fondly and someone else will look up the outfielder’s stats during his time with the Nationals and ask an understandable question.

Why was this part-time player with the .237 average, .291 on-base percentage and more than 10 times as many strikeouts as home runs so popular among Nationals fans?

Taylor’s career stats, of course, don’t really tell his story. Not in adequate terms. The story of “Michael A. Taylor, Cult Hero” requires context, a lot of it.

He’ll be remembered so fondly not because of his performance in totality but because of the very specific moments of glory he provided during his time in Washington. He’ll be remembered for his elite play in center field, for his clutch home runs in October and, yes, for his face.

Taylor’s is a face no one can dislike. The big eyes. The wide smile. The permanent look of sheepishness that seemed to suggest he never truly understood how he was supposed to react to events both positive and negative.

He’s nearly 30, yet he has the permanent face and demeanor of a rookie. And fans love nothing more than a rookie with athletic gifts who only seeks an opportunity to prove he can play in the big leagues.

Taylor, who signed a one-year deal with the Royals on Monday, perpetually seemed…

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