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Dusty Baker prepared for Game 5 by packing for Chicago

Dusty Baker prepared for Game 5 by packing for Chicago

WASHINGTON — Thursday was just like any other game day for Dusty Baker. The Nationals manager woke up, said his prayers and drank some coffee. 

He did one other thing. “Then packed for Chicago,” he volunteered. 

If the Nationals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the Division Series, they go on to Wrigley Field for Saturday's Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. 

As a manager, Baker has lost eight consecutive games with the opportunity to clinch a playoff round, most in baseball history. 

The streak dates back to the Game 6 of the 2002 World Series when Baker’s San Francisco Giants led the Anaheim Angels by three games to two. 

The Giants had a 5-0 lead in the seventh, and lost 6-5. They lost the seventh game, too. 

That was Baker’s first — and last World Series. 

After that season, Baker moved on to the Chicago Cubs and nearly had the Cubs in the World Series before the disastrous Game 6 of the NLCS when the Florida Marlins scored eight runs in the eighth inning, and then won Game 7. 

Jump ahead nine years to 2012 when Baker was managing the Cincinnati Reds when they took a 2-0 lead over the Giants in the Division Series, then lost three straight. 

In 2013, the Reds lost the wild-card game to Pittsburgh, and on Tuesday, with a chance to win the series at Dodger Stadium, lost 6-5.

“The guys are excited. I haven't really talked to them about it too much, but the shadows are a big deal. It's a big deal on both sides,” Baker said. 

This is the first night game in the series, and Baker is happy about it. 

“I mean, we're glad to have a night game. I don't think anybody's overjoyed to have to have a night game starting at 8, but that's TV; it kind of runs the world. You've got another hour of nervous energy to deal with,” Baker said. “But you know, the guys are poised and ready.”

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

It's been a week since the air was sucked out of D.C. in the Nationals Game 5, 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. 

And now that we've had a few days to decompress from another early D.C. playoff exit, Nats right fielder Bryce Harper decided to take some time to thank fans for their support this season.

Harper posted an Instagram video Wednesday afternoon, with a fresh cut, and thanked fans for continuing to pack Nats Park. In the video he says he looks forward to "chasing that championship" again next spring. 

The 2017 season could be described as a rough one for Harper after missing the last few weeks of the season with a bone bruise in his left knee. 

Harper had a .319 average during the 2017 season, along with 29 home runs, 97 RBI's, 95 runs scored and 4 stolen bases. He is entering the final year of his contract.

RELATED: 20 THINGS SAD D.C. SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT

National Fans. Thank you!💯 #RedLightRecording

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

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Nationals Game 5 meltdown yet another reminder why D.C. can't have nice things

On Thursday night, a Washington, D.C. pro sports team did something Washington, D.C. pro sports teams are very good at doing: fall short of making a league or championship game.

The Nationals' disastrous fifth inning against the Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series was the beginning of the end, not to mention yet another in a long line of disappointing playoff results for Washington, D.C. sports teams.

You see, Washington, D.C. is the only city with at least three major pro sports teams to not have a single one make a conference or league championship game since 2000.

To make matters worse, Washington, D.C. sports teams have now lost 16 consecutive playoff games in which a win would've advanced the team to the conference or league championship. 

Think about that for a second. Four teams. Zero conference championship appearances since 1998. 

Here's the list.

Washington, D.C. sports fans are not greedy. We can't be. We've had some very good teams recently, with the type of talent, coaching and intangibles needed to win a championship. 

TRY THIS: 20 THINGS DC SPORTS FANS SHOULD BE HAPPY ABOUT. YES, HAPPY.

The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team won a world championship was in 1992 when the Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI.  The last time a major Washington, D.C. pro sports team even made a conference championship game was in 1998, when the Capitals advanced to the Eastern Conference Final, defeating the Sabres to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

Washington, D.C. isn't allowed to have nice sports things.

Sure, we have great players and great teams, but when the playoffs roll around, all the nice things go away. We aren't privy to plucky upstarts who run the table and we aren't privy to dominant teams that make long postseason runs.

Washington, D.C. will have its day, eventually. Sure it may only be a conference championship appearance, but for us, that's fine. We don't expect world championships. We just want something to get invested in.

Early playoff exits are rarely worth the investment.