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Move aside, you burgundy-and-gold fans — D.C. city hall is showing some Natitude for the foreseeable future.
The pose was one of complete confusion. Arms out to the side, head cocked slightly in the air, eyes searching. By the end of Sunday afternoon's 6-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, two Washington Nationals outfielders had perfected it.
Davey Johnson sat down and his expression said it before his first words could. "Well, that one hurt," the Washington Nationals manager said.
The Washington Nationals ended a long drought for the nation's capital Thursday night by clinching a playoff spot, returning the District of Columbia to baseball's postseason for the first time in nearly 80 years. But back then, the only postseason was the World Series. There were no wild card teams and no playoffs. The Washington Senators _ also known as the Nationals _ had to beat out seven other teams in the American League standings to win the 1933 pennant.
The Washington Nationals have their sights set higher. Their goals for this charmed 2012 season are weightier things, like winning the National League East, the pennant and, yes, even possibly the World Series.
The ball nestled safely into the glove of catcher Kurt Suzuki as the scene behind him exploded. The final out in a win D.C. had waited 79 years to celebrate coming on a swinging strikeout. With their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night — a crisp fall evening in Washington — a D.C. baseball team sealed its first postseason berth since 1933.
Buoyed by cortisone shots to the shoulders of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and second baseman Danny Espinosa, and with the return of left fielder Michael Morse, the Washington Nationals played much more like themselves in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a doubleheader.
In the aftermath, the Washington Nationals did not hang their heads or speak in hushed tones. They talked of the work they'd done to get to this point, and of the fact that their lead in the National League East is still one of the largest in baseball with just more than two weeks to play.
There was a time when the moment that is coming for the Washington Nationals might have been considered the apex. An organization that knew nothing but losing, often in unimaginably torturous ways, from the first day it arrived in Washington in 2005 once would have been leaping for joy at just the idea of such a thought.