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Looking back at D.C. playoff history

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Looking back at D.C. playoff history

When the Nationals begin the National League Division Series on Sunday, it will mark the first playoff game for a Washington baseball team in 79 years. D.C. baseball fans have seen 45 total major league seasons without a playoff appearance in that span and 34 years without a team at all.

It has been a long time coming for baseball in the district, but before the Nationals commence the NLDS and a new era in Washington, their previous playoff appearances deserve a look back. A Washington baseball team made the playoffs just three times in the 20th century, here is a look at those series.

1924 World Series

Washington Senators vs. New York Giants

Result: Won in seven games

At 36 years old and in his 18th major league season, Senators pitching great Walter Johnson finally got to play in a World Series with the 1924 team. The Big Train actually lost both of his starts, including a 12-strikeout effort in Game 1, but earned a win in relief with four scoreless innings in Game 7.

The Senators came back from down in the series 0-1, 1-2, and 2-3 to win the final two games by one run each. Both Game 1 and Game 7 lasted 12 innings, the decisive one won on a walkoff hit by Earl McNeely at Griffith Stadium.

Washington won the citys only World Series and beat a Giants team with eight future Hall of Famers on the field and another in the dugout in manager John McGraw.

1925 World Series

Washington Senators vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Result: Lost in seven games

Johnson and the Senators were back in the World Series just a year later, this time around seeing a near exact opposite result. This time Johnson won his starts in Game 1 and Game 4, but lost Game 7 in relief. And instead of playing from behind, the Senators jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series and even won Game 4 by a score of 4-0.

Pittsburgh won the last three games of the series including a Game 7 mired by heavy rain and fog. The Senators entered the eighth inning up 7-6 with Johnson on the mound. Johnson got the first two outs before a Pirates rally that scored two runs and set them up for the victory. Senators manager Bucky Harris received criticism for keeping Johnson in the game too long afterwards from fans and even the Commissioner of the American League.

1933 World Series

Washington Senators vs. New York Giants

Result: Lost in five games

Nine years after their 1924 meeting, the Giants got revenge on the Senators in a series that ended in two extra innings games. The Senators earned the A.L. pennant that season with 99 wins which is still the best for a D.C. baseball team.

Both Game 4 and Game 5 were games the Senators came back to tie, but ended up losing in extras. In Game 4 Washington tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single by catcher Luke Sewell. New Yorks Blondy Ryan then hit the game-winning run in the top of the 11th off Monte Weaver.

The Senators tied Game 5 in the sixth inning with a three-run homer by Fred Schulte off Hal Schumacher of the Giants. The game would remain scoreless until the tenth inning when Future Hall of Famer Mel Ott scored the go-ahead run with a solo homer off Jack Russell.

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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.

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With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

With contractual decisions looming, Nats missed chance at stress-free World Series run

"This is the year."

That's the motto for almost every D.C. sports fan when their team is headed for the postseason.

The Nats led a weak NL East the entire season and clinched a spot to play October baseball early into September.

RELATED: COUNTLESS ERRORS DOOM NATIONALS IN SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The team overcame the obstacle of being plagued with injuries and with pitchers like Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer having a strong bullpen to back them up, the stars were aligning for the team to go all the way.

But now with players like Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy having contracts up for grabs in 2019, Nationals reporter Chelsea Janes says 2017 was really the last chance for the team to win a stress-free title.

"I think those questions you've raised like Bryce [Harper's] contract, [Daniel} Murphy may be leaving, you know Rizzo's contract's up after next year, I think those are the things they didn't have to deal with this year that made this such a free chance," Janes said on the Sports Junkies Friday.

"It was a free chance to just feel good and do it now and not have everyone say this is your absolute last chance, and next year it's their absolute last chance for a little while, I think."

"I mean they're not going to be awful in '19, but they're going to be different and I think they've sort of wasted their free pass here and there's legitimate and kind of unrelenting pressure on them next year to make it happen."

It's hard to make sense of what a team will look like one day after a devastating series loss. One thing that is fairly certain is that time is ticking for the Nats to make it happen with arguably the most talented group of players they've ever had.