Washington Nationals: Five Reasons They Won NL East
By Ron Juckett
With a third division title in five seasons, the Washington Nationals are kings of the National League East. How did they do it in 2016?
The Washington Nationals are the 2016 National League champions. Let that sink in for a moment.
For the third time in five seasons, the Nationals claimed their division. In 12 seasons in Washington, they have had more success in the NL East than Montreal did in 36 as the Expos. This third playoff appearance equals what the original Senators did in 60 seasons before moving to Minnesota in 1961. The expansion Senators never came close before departing for Dallas in 1972.
If you grew up in the District and wondered if you would ever see the golden age of Washington baseball, well you are there now. Yes, the goal the last few seasons is more than simply winning the division. Sure, 2012 and 2014 leave a bitter taste.
Forget about that. Do not worry about tomorrow. Focus on the fact the team won 90 games and outlasted the New York Mets and Miami Marlins to get here. It still means something in Major League Baseball to actually win a division.
Yes, there will be plenty on the upcoming NL Divisional Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some dreamers are already thinking about the Chicago Cubs. The adventurous of you are thinking World Series and more. Remember, Washington has not hosted a World Series game since 1933 and the franchise has never appeared in the Fall Classic.
Before dreaming of tomorrow, let’s take a closer look on how we got here. This ball club has talent everywhere. Here are the five top reasons Dusty Baker’s guys enjoyed a champagne party Saturday in Pittsburgh.