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Harper psyched for home debut

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Harper psyched for home debut

The scene at Nationals Park tonight won't rival Stephen Strasburg's debut on June 8, 2010. In all likelihood, nothing ever will. But the scene for Bryce Harper's first home game -- especially the crowd reaction to his first plate appearance -- should be something special nonetheless.

This is only the third time Harper has ever been to Washington. He came here after signing in Aug. 2010. He came here for the team's FanFest in March 2011. Now he's here for a bit longer, maybe for the long-term. "It's awesome," he said of his first impressions of D.C. "I don't think you could play in a better city. Everything happens here every single day. It's just going to be a great place to play."

There is, of course, an important game to be played tonight. The Nationals are mired in their first four-game losing streak of the season, and they're about to open a tough homestand against the Diamondbacks and Phillies. They can only hope their bats show up tonight against Arizona right-hander Trevor Cahill, and that Jordan Zimmermann is rewarded with some run support.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check Nats Insider throughout the evening...

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind 8 mph out to RF

NATIONALS (14-8)
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
CF Rick Ankiel
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Bryce Harper
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Jordan Zimmermann

DIAMONDBACKS (12-11)
CF Gerardo Parra
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton
LF Jason Kubel
C Miguel Montero
1B Paul Goldschmidt
3B Cody Ransom
SS John MacDonald
RHP Trevor Cahill

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Bryce Harper thanks Nationals fans for support during 2017 season

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USA TODAY Sports

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.