If you want to exorcise a few D.C. sports demons, it's a good idea to call John Riggins.
That Nationals did just that Thursday night, inviting the former Redskins great and Pro Football Hall of Famer to fire up the crowd prior to their do-or-die NLDS Game 5 matchup against the Dodgers.
Riggins was asked to partake in the customary “play ball” ritual near the Nats' dugout. And in typical Riggo fashion, he did a little more than that.
Imploring the fans to get fired up, he exclaimed: “It’s fourth and one, and the Nationals are going for it.” That, of course, is a reference to Riggins’ famous game-sealing touchdown run in Super Bowl XVII that came on the same down and distance.
So far, the good karma is working. The Nats are up 1-0 through two innings, looking to advance to their first NL Championship Series ever.
The Washington Nationals announced Friday Dusty Baker will not return as manager of the club in 2018.
Baker led the team to the first back-to-back division titles in franchise history, and the Nationals were 192-132 under Baker, but they failed to make it to an NLCS.
Baker is 14th in MLB history with 1,863 career wins.
The next Nationals' manager will be their seventh since they arrived in DC.
Only the Marlins have had as many.
"I'm surprised and disappointed," Baker told USA TODAY Sports. "They told me they would get back to me and I told them I was leaving town yesterday and they waited 10 days to tell me."
"I really thought this was my best year. We won at least 95 games each year and won the division back to back years but they said they wanted to go a different direction. It's hard to understand."
The team also announced the contracts for the Major League coaching staff have also expired, and the search for a new manager will begin immediately.
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While Nats fans were still digesting the news that Dusty Baker will not return as manager next year, the team released some more surprising news.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent knee surgery today, per an official team report.
Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes reported that the surgery is considered significant and the team won't put a timeline on the recovery process:
"The procedure, according to the statement released by the team, repaired articular cartilage in Murphy’s right knee. For those interested in the details, it was a debridement and microfracture surgery, and orthopedic surgeon Timothy Kremchek performed it."
"For those concerned with the implications of the procedure, those are still unclear. The statement clarified that Murphy’s rehab “will progress throughout the offseason,” as one would hope, and did not include a timetable.
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