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The National League Championship Series
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So desperate is Washington for a consistent winner that the cycle is predictable. Build up a team. Paper over the flaws. Suck the marrow from every bit of success and forget, if only for a moment, that the good times may be more illusion than reality. That the bad old days of struggle may not be as distant as hoped.
After two days of waiting, the Los Angeles Dodgers found out they will play St. Louis in the National League championship series.
The 2013 season is a warning to the organization that acted as if last season's 98 wins and division title were the first of many such postseason runs. That, somehow, landing one strike away from advancing to the NLCS in 2012 meant those October opportunities will always be there in Washington.
Tuesday, when the two teams met to begin a three-game series at Nationals Park in what one San Francisco writer termed a "Disappointment-fest," neither team had a record above .500, and they were a combined 29 1/2 games out of first place.
White cinder block walls lead the way. Past the security guard in need of a cup of coffee just after 8 a.m. on a cool March morning. Through the makeshift clubhouse kitchen at Space Coast Stadium where three plug-in griddles serve up pancakes and eggs with toppings stored in plastic containers.
It was a cold fall night three months ago when the Nationals stood one strike away from the National League Championship Series. When they were forced to turn their eyes toward the future and, difficult as it may have been, see that it was still bright.
Venezuelans are celebrating their homegrown baseball heroes as a record contingent of players from the country heads into the World Series with the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants.
While it set a viewership record for Fox News Channel, Monday's debate between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney was the least-watched of their three meetings.
In the end, there was nothing but silence to greet them.