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Dusty Baker wants D.C. fans to remain positive about Nats in playoffs

Dusty Baker wants D.C. fans to remain positive about Nats in playoffs

After losing Game 4 and having it all come down to a do-or-die Game 5, the Nationals still feel confident they can advance to the NL Championship Series to face the Chicago Cubs. Some of their fans, however, have their doubts.

It is perhaps understandable given how long it has been since Washington, D.C. won a world championship, since 1992 when the Redskins captured the Super Bowl. Only Minneapolis-St. Paul has waited longer among U.S. cities with at least three teams in the four major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). No such city has waited longer than D.C. has - 18 years - to simply reach the semifinals of their respective league.

It's a topic well-documented by media, including by a certain Nationals reporter at CSN who has unfortunately been writing about it since 2009. But do the players know about how long it's been for D.C. to have a deep playoff run?

According to manager Dusty Baker, the answer is yes. However, he doesn't want that to create any doubt or negativity. Just because teams before the 2016 Nationals have fallen short in the playoffs, doesn't mean they will.

Baker issued a long message to Washington fans ahead of Game 5 at Nationals Park:

"Yeah, you notice it. This is why we're here. We come here for the organization and ourselves, but the town. This is something that lasts. If you go a long ways, it lasts forever when you finally win. One thing I urge the town is to be in a positive mood. I was speaking to some hockey fans, I was watching the game, and they were expecting bad things to happen.

"I haven't been here long enough to know what the history is. All I know is that positive thoughts go a long ways. Places where I've been where the people are positive, no matter what the score was or no matter what, there was usually a positive outcome. Other places I've been where they expect negative, then they get negative outcomes. I just urge everybody. They say the mind can move mountains. They certainly can move the ball. I just want everybody to just think good and happy thoughts."

It's an admirable attempt. But D.C. fans probably won't rest easy until the game is over.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman also weighed in. He knows the history as an 11-year member of the Nats, Virginia-native and longtime resident of D.C.

Zimmerman says the Nats won't be satisfied to just advance one more round.

"I think winning the World Series is the ultimate thing. Say we win this game and don't make it out of the next round; I don't think anyone is going to be like, 'oh, you remember that year when we went to the Championship Series? I'm not trying to downplay it all. It would be a huge step to go to the next round. But I think the ultimate goal is to win the World Series."

Fair enough.

[RELATED: Strasburg ruled out for NLCS, throws bullpen session]

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Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Andy Martino of SNY refutes the reports that the Nats are out on Harper

Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.


"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."


Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.


"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."

After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out. 

The clock is ticking.

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How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

How to watch NBC Sports Washington's full interview with Nationals owner Mark Lerner

When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner  see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.

“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”

Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.

The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.

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