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Did Bryce Harper bid farewell to D.C. in an Instagram post?

Did Bryce Harper bid farewell to D.C. in an Instagram post?

For the final time this season, Bryce Harper donned a white Nationals uniform on Wednesday. The $450 million question heading into the offseason, was it the last time Harper will ever wear a white Nationals jersey?

Following the game, Harper had high praise for D.C., which had to make Nationals fans feel pretty good about the possibility of him re-signing this offseason.

"This is my home. This is my city. Being able to come here - of course I root for the Golden Knights, and I root for Duke and I root for the Cowboys and things like that - but I’m a Washington National," Harper said.

"At the end of the day, I love this city. I enjoy coming here. I enjoy playing here. And that’s what it’s all about."

Leading up to the game, Harper soaked up putting on his home uniform.

Harper acknowledged the crowd in the top of the first inning.

Being in uniform 3 1/2 hours before the game and taking a bow running out to right field certainly made it feel like Wednesday was his final game as a National in D.C. Then he professed his love for the city after the game. 

On Thursday, another wrinkle was added to the Bryce Harper "will he stay or will he go" conundrum. It came via his Instagram account. (Click here to view the interactive post)

The message on all nine of the pictures was "To the fans and the city of DC, thank you!"

Is this one of those times where we are making too much out of a social media post? Or was this his farewell to the city? 

Only time will tell.


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Blues Streak: Nationals continue postseason success in blue jerseys

Blues Streak: Nationals continue postseason success in blue jerseys

Superstitions run rampant in baseball -- the same can be said for the Nationals, whether they care to admit it or not. 

Washington is now 7-0 in the postseason when wearing their navy blue jerseys. The Nationals have worn the blue threads in every game since Game 4 of the NLDS, and they've won all six of those games, including their four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League title and secure their spot in the World Series.

Back toward the beginning of the season, Nationals skipper Davey Martinez joked, "I'm not superstitious, I'm just a little stitious," a line from the popular TV show The Office. 

The only postseason victory the Nationals haven't worn their navy blues for this year is the Wild Card win over the Brewers -- that night, their clean all-whites did the trick. (Even after Martinez "screwed up" and accidentally trimmed his 'playoff beard' a little too much).

Baseball, arguably more than other team sports, is known for its superstitions. Because the season is so long, and because so much of the sport (especially for pitchers) revolves around maintaining a routine, it makes sense that those superstitions develop.

Traditionally, superstitions have been associated with baseball since the start of the 20th Century; a 1938 article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin cited a major-league manager as having repeatedly claimed "luck is one-third of baseball." Whether the Nationals' success is due to the blue jerseys or whether it comes from the team's attitude and capabilities on the field, the fact remains that there's a correlation between which jersey they wear and whether or not they win. 

Now the Nationals have a six-day break before the World Series starts on Tuesday, which gives them plenty of time to wash (or not) the navy blues. 

It is unlikely the Nationals risk breaking their streak by wearing a different jersey for the World Series, if they can help it. If not, maybe the power of Baby Shark will make up for the lack of blue jerseys. 


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Ready for the World Series? 10 legends that should throw out the first pitch

Ready for the World Series? 10 legends that should throw out the first pitch

The Nationals will host at least two World Series games next week. That is a wild feat for a franchise that suffered through a string of 100-loss seasons after baseball came back to D.C. in 2005.

The job isn’t done for Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. The job is just starting. The World Series presents a pomp and circumstance in baseball unseen in D.C. since before World War II. And no offense to baseball crowds in the 1930s, but the safe guess is the pomp and circumstance has grown significantly over the last 80 years. 

Much of the scene next week will be mandated by Major League Baseball. The big national corporate sponsors will show up and things that have happened all year will get pushed aside in the great name of a cash grab. God bless America. 

But, this is still D.C. and the Nationals still get some control over who throws out the first pitch. Should anyone need ideas, here’s a list of tremendous options. No politicians. Please. Seriously. 

1) John Thompson - Big John was born here in 1941 and built a basketball empire at Georgetown in the 1980s. Nobody embodies D.C. more than Thompson, the old and the new, and he probably watched Senators games at old Griffith Stadium. Thompson was around when RFK was new. Big John has an edge, and so does this Nats team. Likelihood: Slim. Baseball likes to celebrate baseball during the World Series. 

2) Joe Gibbs - The greatest winner the city has ever known. Gibbs is the epitome of class and maximizing player’s potential. A three-time Super Bowl winner that can probably still fire in a fastball. Likelihood: Even slimmer. Baseball likes to celebrate baseball and certainly not the NFL. 

3) Tom Boswell - A sports columnist to throw the first pitch of a World Series game? Damn right. Nobody did more to keep the hope for a new D.C. baseball team alive than Boz. For more than 30 years there was no baseball in Washington, and every year, Boswell would work his contacts about possible moves or expansion back to the city. For D.C. fans that were starving for baseball information and needed a leader in their quest to get America’s Pastime back to the Nation’s Capitol, Boz was their champion. No journalist will ever be more intrinsically involved in a professional team’s success than Boswell is with the Nationals. Likelihood: Slim. The media isn't supposed to be part of the story.

4) Alex Ovechkin - The best athlete in D.C. in the last century. Not just a scorer, but a champion now. This isn't about the Caps just did it so the Nats can too. This is about D.C.'s best supporting the local 9. Likelihood: Decent chance. He's a huge star and has been at Nats games throughout the franchise's existence. 

5) Livan Hernandez -  He threw the first pitch for the Nationals organization at RFK 14 years ago. A fan favorite and a winner, Livo is loved by Nats fans.  Likelihood: Seems like a good chance Livo will be involved in some capacity, first pitch might be a stretch though.

6) Wale - For young fans across the city, Wale is the most accomplished musician the city has produced. He proudly supports the Nationals and wears the Curly W just about everywhere he goes. Likelihood: Decently slim. Wale might not be quite a big enough star for a World Series first pitch but it would make a lot of sense for him to be involved somehow. Maybe he can say Play Ball!

7) Dave Grohl - A native of Northern Virginia and an incredibly accomplished musician. Getting Grohl to perform the National Anthem before next Friday’s Game 3 would be even cooler. Likelihood: Good chance, if he will do it. Not sure how much Grohl reps the Nationals. But him doing the Anthem would be incredible.

8) Anthony Williams - I know we said no politicians but if Williams wasn’t the mayor in 2004 the Nationals never make it to Washington in 2005. Securing the funding to build Nats Park wasn’t easy and probably cost Williams’ future in D.C. politics. The vote to build the stadium only passed by one vote and soon after Williams announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, but walk around the Navy Yard now and ask yourself if it was the right decision.  Likelihood: Slim. It would be very cool though if the Nats' Ted Lerner and Williams came on the field together to see just how big their vision became. 

9) Walter Johnson's relative - I don't know who this would be, but Babe Ruth's granddaughter threw out a pitch at a World Series game within the last decade. This would be a nice nod to a local icon as well as a tie to the last time a D.C. baseball team made the World Series. Likelihood: Strong. Baseball loves to honor its past especially with a local tie. 

10) Frank Robinson's relative - A baseball legend and the Nationals first manager when they arrived in D.C. in 2005. Robinson passed away earlier this year and is one of the game's all-time greats. Likelihood: Strong. Baseball loves to honor its past and especially with a local tie. Robinson would probably get honored during the Series this year anyway since he passed away in February. 

Wild Card - Tony Kornheiser. A national star now with his ESPN success, Kornheiser wrote for The Washington Post for years. He's also a huge Nats fan and talks about almost every game throughout the season on his podcast, which has a massive audience. Likelihood: Strong, but Tony will need to stay up late and deal with a huge crowd, neither are things he particularly likes. La Cheeserie.  

Note: It’s probably fair to ask why I wrote this piece as I cover the Redskins and rarely, if ever, write about the Nats. Well, I’ve been at just about every major Nationals milestone as a fan, in person, in good seats and in bad. I watched Livo throw the first-ever Nationals pitch from the nosebleeds at RFK. I watched Jayson Werth hit that Game 4 homer from standing room seats at the Red Loft bar. I was there for the opening of Nats Park and the Game 5 loss to the Cubs. I traveled to Harrisburg to watch Strasburg pitch in the minors and I’ll never forget the electricity of his Nats Park debut. I watched Bryce Harper play in Bowie. I love this baseball team, and while I loved the Orioles when the Nats didn’t exist, there was always a big hole not having baseball in my hometown. Yes I’m a reporter but I’ve never covered the Nats. I’m a fan, just like you. 

Let’s go win the World Series.