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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Dodgers 1

Sep 21, 2012, 2:02 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Nationals players celebrate in normal fashion after their clinching win.

Game in a nutshell: It had been 79 years since a Washington baseball team had the opportunity to celebrate a clinching victory, so no one would blame the Nationals had they partied like it was 1933 upon beating the Dodgers tonight and guaranteeing their place in MLB's 2012 postseason. All along, though, manager Davey Johnson and clubhouse veterans insisted they weren't going to make a big deal out of clinching a Wild Card berth, that the real celebration would come once they locked up the NL East. So the scene tonight at Nationals Park as Drew Storen recorded the final out, while joyous, was hardly over-exuberant. Make no mistake, though: This is a major accomplishment for a club that had not posted a winning season during its first seven years of existence and a town that has not witnessed postseason baseball since the Roosevelt administration. The Nationals still have loftier goals to reach before this season comes to an end, but it's perfectly OK to celebrate this milestone, one few in Washington have ever had the chance to celebrate before.

Hitting highlight: Ah, the healing powers of cortisone. Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa can certainly attest to that, eachRead more ยป

  1. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    OMG!!! First postseason in about eighty years. Holysmokes!!! DC be proud and show some more Natitude!!! Go Nats!!!

  2. Sam - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    I've been waiting for this my whole life! I never saw my Expos in the playoffs. Go Nats!!!

  3. Melissa Rabey - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    YAAAAYYYYY! I was planning to go to the last Brewers game on Monday–when I'm there, I'm definitely going to grab one of those Natitude post-season shirts!I followed the Nats in a lackadaisical way in the two previous seasons, but this season has turned me into a diehard. Keep going, boys, and sew up the NL East!

  4. SCNatsFan - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    I saw the Expos play in person in the playoffs since I was in college in Montreal…. will be so cool so many years later to see them play again… I've worked many years to afford it this time!

  5. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    I am getting a little misty right now!I will have that Natitude t-shirt tomorrow night!

  6. natsfan1a - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    I know this is the appetizer, and I know there's more to come. And yet, there I sat in front of the tv set, with a silly grin on my face and tears streaming from my eyes. Atta way, Nats! I love you all. <3

  7. sm13 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    This is what we've all been waiting for since 2005! October baseball for the Nats!

  8. Drew - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    In the words of that famed GM, Winston Churchill:"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."Oh yeah, WSC says WOOHOO!!!

  9. NCNatsie - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    And when the innings all are playedWe'll lead the victory parade.The thirty years will seem as naughtWith all the longing long forgot.

  10. natsfan1a - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    And I'll pick up my Natitude t-shirt on Saturday. :-)

  11. NatsNut - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    this feels great.

  12. Constant Reader - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    It has happened. It has really happened. Like a lot of you, I am a season ticket holder since day one. Here we are: the night we clinched our first playoff appearance. IT FEELS SO GOOD!Thank you Mark for giving us this place to share as our Nats community.

  13. NatsNut - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    I think I'm gonna wear my "Washington Nationals…I loved you when you sucked" shirt to the game tommorow. =)

  14. Secret wasian man - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:16 AM

    Where can one get a natitude shirt. This is great. Woo hoo. Dare I say go phillies. Great to see nationals baseball in this series.

  15. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    So much for all of us playing it so cool about the wild card not meaning anything. We are all full of it. I am thrilled for them. More to go, but awesome just the same.

  16. Swift Eagle - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    "What's the big deal?" Davey's opening line at the press conference…Awesome

  17. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    And kind of fitting that Drew closed it.

  18. Swift Eagle - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Striking Out Nats-Killer Hanley to end it was so great!

  19. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    NatsNut.. have to agree..Having watched CRAPPY cubs baseball and only seeing winning seasons when I moved to DC – O's with DAVEY and then in LA with the Angels. IT feels so good to have this now for a team that I have been invested in since Day one. I remember that Trailer in the RFK parking lot in 2004 that I bought all the Christmas presents for. All the horrible years, This is just a great day.

  20. ehay2k - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Congrats to our fearless leader, Mark Z., who started this blog and KEPT it going even when the Nationals were not necessarily deserving of such excellent coverage!GYFNG!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    It feels pretty good! Bryce Harper may expect this every year!

  22. djinFl. - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Wow, what a great season we've had so far.Hard to remember tonight how tough it has been getting here.Way to go boys.

  23. Swift Eagle - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Totally agree…Mark Z started this blog when the Nats were horrible, his newspaper ditched sports, and he had to pay his own way to go to Viera….And here we are…Thanks so much Mark

  24. DannyEllinosa - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Congrats Nats! Posting aboard a flight with frustrating wifi. But had to keep tabs on this historic night for DC & all loyal Nats insiders! GYFNG!

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Nats win another series! How's about the irony of doing it in front of StanK.Davey said the players did a champagne toast.

  26. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    A toast to our fearless leader, Mrs Z, Baby Z.. Thanks for putting up with us and sticking with the Nats!

  27. Melissa Rabey - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Davey's in rare form in his press conference. I think he's a bit excited, even with knowing the real prize is still ahead of the team.

  28. natsfan1a - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Atta way, NatsNut. :-)NatsNut said… I think I'm gonna wear my "Washington Nationals…I loved you when you sucked" shirt to the game tommorow. =) September 20, 2012 10:16 PM

  29. Constant Reader - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Michelle –December 22, 2004. The day they re-opened that crappy little store in the RFK parking lot after the hiccup with the DC Council. I was there and bought Curly W's for my extended family.I remember it well. The beginning of an investment with your heart that was paid back tonight.

  30. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    I am dancing like this right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

  31. natsfan1a - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    I'll drink to that. Thanks, Mark and family!MicheleS said… A toast to our fearless leader, Mrs Z, Baby Z.. Thanks for putting up with us and sticking with the Nats! September 20, 2012 10:22 PM

  32. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    NatsNut.. where did you get that T Shirt?

  33. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Drew – "A very professional celebration" talking about the champagne toast.

  34. natsfan1a - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    Well, I guess I'll try to get some sleep now. Hope the blanket doesn't fall off the ceiling. :-)

  35. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. NatsNut - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    I think this is PERFECT. It's classy and acknowledges the milestone, yet recognizes there's more work ahead. Ghost Of Steve M. said…Davey said the players did a champagne toast.

  37. NatsLady - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    I hope they made plenty of those shirts. I hope they are out of date by next Thursday! Thanks to all, Mark, Legion of Doom, I love you all today!

  38. sm13 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Natitude is pride! We are proud fans!

  39. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    I am going to wear my Natitude 2012 Postseason tshirt to bed tonight!

  40. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:30 AM

    Constant.. As someone who lives in VA, I was pacing and ranting and raving at the DC City council during that time.. Trying to figure out a way to bribe some council members (figure I could get Marion Barry easy)

  41. NatsNut - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Michele, I got it here

  42. Joe Seamhead - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    Wow! Just, WOW! I'm feeling just so…what is the word…damn, I don't think there is a word yet. No, maybe there is, I'm feeling a very strong sense of Natitude!GYFNG!!!

  43. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    Thanks NatsNut..I think we need to do a NatsInsider T Shirt.. Mark has got to put something up again. My Favorite was the one about having your own personal sportswriter.

  44. Constant Reader - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    MicheleS … Arlington here. I attended the 'protests' calling for Baseball in Arlington (still have a poster on a wall). Attended similar gatherings in DC after the Council snafu. Was interviewed on NewsChannel8 in line to buy stuff the day the store re-opened. I said it was my son's first birthday and I was beginning a tradition of buying Nats stuff for his birthday.He'll be sitting next to me at the first playoff game. OK, now I'm tearing up again.

  45. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    So four of our five starters have ten wins now and Ejax is stuck at nine? How cool is that? And Det didn't even get a full season of starts!

  46. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    OMG.. I was totally overcome..WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  47. Swift Eagle - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    I love winning, man. You know, it's like better than losing…Does this mean the fungus on my Nats shower shoes now makes me "colorful"? Or am I still a slob?

  48. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Really stinks when the only thing in the house with which to mark the occasion is a Miller Lite. But I'm makin' do. Need to pack in some of the good stuff for the real thing.

  49. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Hey, guys, let's act like we've been there before. Oh, wait- we actually haven't been there before!!!!! Ok, anything goes!!!

  50. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Theo.. Just before the 9th.. I opened a delicious Sauv Blanc to enjoy this moment

  51. Swift Eagle - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    Haha..in case anyone misses watching an inept sports team, the Duke Football Highlight Show is coming up after the Nats coverage on MASN…

  52. Maurymania - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    This is an historic night…with more to come. Thank you Davey, thank you Riz, thank you Ryan, thank you Bryce…and everyone in between, onward and upwards my friends.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Swift, are you kidding me? No extended MASN coverage?

  54. MicheleS - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Ghost.. no extended coverage.

  55. Manassas Nats' Fan - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    Phil wood sounds like me. so thrilled

  56. Exposremains - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    I was one month old the last tine this franchise was in the playoff, took my entire lifetime to see it again. I lost my quebec nordiques and they went on to win the Stanley Cup in Colorado. Im looking for the Nats to do the same thing.

  57. Duane - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    MicheleS, I don't get it. What is wrong with those people at Angelos headquarters. Are you telling me the Hoes won't have extended coverage if they clinch?By the way, Go Yankees, A's and Angels

  59. zregime - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    We Are The Natitude, hear our noiseAs we blow our lungs out for the DC boiesThey're modest and humble, to a faultBut they're right on the vergeOf doin' a John GaltAnd sayin' yeah y'all we can win this thangGimme gimme gimme gimme that ringFirst step nowNext step soonAs Desi hits a tater over the moonAnd Lombo's line drives have their men guarding nutsDrew's sick stuff feezin' all the chump buttsYeah now oh yeah how does it feelOur Nattie Bad Nasties are the realest dealThat's what I'm sayin'Here we goTo the prime time stuffAnd the big October ShowNatties in sixI don't care who faceThen the NatsInsider will be the placeTo partyIt's awesomeThe trophySome huggin'We got this, guys.

  60. Doc - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Congratulations to all you Nats' fans wherever you are in the world. You deserve to be rewarded for your faith.For me it's the Nats forever! But a small part of me, as with other Expos' fans, is still remembering 'what might have been' for that star-crossed Canadian team. Last guy that I saw walk off the field for the Hated Dodgers was coach Tim Wallach—best 3rd base guy that the Expos ever had.Baseball always has a way of coming full circle.On to the WS Nats fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    As usual, Davey said it best: "We're not done yet."Congrats to all: Mark, Mrs. Z, Baby Z, all the Nats Insiders, Rizz, Davey, coaches, players. They deserve it. One loud, long:"WOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOO!!"(Copyright, MicheleS, All rights reserved.Any rebroadcast, reproduction or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of MicheleS is prohibited.)

  62. RickH - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    Congrats, Nats!!! Let's hope we have 4 more celebrations (clinch division, win playoff, win division, win World Series)!

  63. RickH - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    Yes, congrats to Mark for launching this blog and bringing us all together. But, Swift, I think technically WE paid Mark's way to Viera.

  64. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:04 AM

    Let's all drink a toast to cortisone, the wonder drug!!!

  65. Dryw Loves the Nats - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    It's really real.

  66. baseballswami - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    Once again I will point out that we are all frauds. No way we were going to celebrate that low-rent wild card spot. Busted. Feels better than we thought it was going to, right? Not ashamed at all. After where we have been, 91 wins and a wild card berth? It does mean something.

  67. JaneB - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    I was holding out for the Division Clinch, but I cried anyway. To quote MichelleS woooooooooooohoooooooooo. 8 more to the next celebration. I love them no matter what. I truly do. But tonight I love even the dust mites under the bed. GYFNG!!!!!

  68. JaneB - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    PS Thank you to Mark for this community of Imaginary Friends, who make it all the richer and a lot more fun. ANd thank you, Imaginary Friends!

  69. peric - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Finally, finally here … I do hope Ted Lerner is celebrating … it was impetus to see a winner before too long given his advanced age. The Nats will now be the youngest team in the playoffs and the most inexperienced. No expectations is probably the best way a true Nats fan should approach it. Just be happy in the moments;For they will longer be few and far in between thanks to Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson and all the talented people they hired. Look out National League the Nats have arrived! At the end of the Mayan Calendar there is a curly W sign, full of hope, pointing to the future!

  70. Joe Seamhead - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Thanks,Mike Rizzo, and Davey Johnson! And a very special, heartfelt thank you to Stephen Strasburg.

  71. Scooter - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    Swift Eagle said…Striking Out Nats-Killer Hanley to end it was so great!Post of the week. That's just what I thought.

  72. peric - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    Maybe now we can put those cantankerous ghosts to rest : Teddy Ballgame, Curt Flood, Denny McLain, Del Unser, Hondo, Stround, Casanova, and Dave Nelson plus Jeff Buroughs that era's Espy and Harper (what a joke) and Pete Broberg (as the Stras). And most of all Bob Short as the AngelHoes. Oh well maybe NOT HIM!

  73. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Peric, Angeloser is kicking his dog if he has one. He has to hate this while he calls MASN to make sure the postgame show doesn't go a minute over schedule and tells them to add some extra WB Mason commercialsYou know the old saying, what comes around goes around.

  74. whatsanattau - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    So, it seems unlikely that the Nats will be at home when they clinch unless the Braves simply refuse to lose … What's the protocol here. Do we root for the Braves to hang in there or just go ahead and blow them out of the water?

  75. Section 222 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Fantastic to be in the park for this historic night. And the on-field celebration complete with understated bang zoom fireworks was perfect. A really tight, well played game too. Great pitching, and clutch situational hitting. (Thank you KSuzuki for that sac fly.) And Harper, once again, showing that hustle and speed pays dividends on the scoreboard.Davey said the players did a champagne toast.At 7 pm tonight a friend emailed me with the following question: "I wonder what they'll do if they win tonight. Does protocol prevent a full post-game hootenanny if it is only a WC berth?"I responded as follows: "I sure hope so. A quiet toast would be fine."So I guess I can be insufferable now too. :-)

  76. peric - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Clinching in Philadelphia would be my preference … then let the bell toll; it tolls for thee Philthy fans, it tolls for thee!

  77. Steve J, Alexandria - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Just got home from game: Awesome!!

  78. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    MLB Network got video of Mike Rizzo in his suite pumping his fist. Very cool shot!

  79. peric - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    MLB Network got video of Mike Rizzo in his suite pumping his fist. Very cool shot!If Chase can grab that for Mark it would be a cool piece to put along with tomorrow morning's coffee and Nats blog post.

  80. SonnyG10 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Nice to read all the happy comments from my virtual friends. So happy for myself also.

  81. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:48 AM

    Nats Pitchers #6, #7, #9, and #11 in the NLImpressive. Great pitching and timely hitting and great Natitude!http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/pitching/_/league/nl/order/false

  82. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Puh, puh, pah, playoffs, playoffs!

  83. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    JaneB wrote: "I love even the dust mites under the bed. GYFNG!!!!!"You have a way with words, lady!

  84. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    BTW, for those who can't get enough, MLB is running the game in its entirety right now. An instant classic!

  85. Scooter - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    It actually was a good game, wasn't it, Sunshine?

  86. Gonat - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    At least CSN is covering the Nats and there's Mark Zuckerman on "live"

  87. Natitude - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    The postseason gear is up on shop.mlb.com – cheaper than it was at the ballpark. http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15499666http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15499696http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=15380046They didn't make this for the Reds, but rightly figured DC would want it immediately.

  88. MurrayTheRed - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Got my Playoff hat and t-shirt before I left the stadium tonight.

  89. Oldguy - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    The players were very reserved, but the crowd was really amped up. When Drew was pitching to Hanley, the place was really rockin'.

  90. sjm308 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Just really really happy maybe moreso than I thought I would be! I was standing up, clapping and my spousal equivalent just didn't understand (although she let me watch the entire game). Will be there Saturday and Monday and will definitely get that shirt!Congrats to all!!Go Nats!! Go Playoffs!! Score First!!

  91. Dave - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    I'm waking up very sleepy tonight, because I stayed up later than I intended to last night. It was great to see the Nats clinch the playoffs, but priceless to see and hear Ray Knight's unbridled enthusiasm on the air.It's a great day in Nats Town.Do any season-ticket holders have an idea when our STH post-season "strip" tickets are supposed to arrive? The post-season starts two weeks from today. I have partners who will want to have tickets before the games are played.

  92. Dave - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    PS: I'll be there Saturday and Sunday for my playoff T-shirt. (Like I need another T-shirt–but this one's special.)Incidentally, Christmas 2004, my wife gave me a Washington Nationals T-shirt, with the old baseball-background logo. I still wear it frequently to Nats Park. Maybe I will this weekend.

  93. Anna Peregrina - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    It's a lonely life for a Nats fan here in England. I was brought up properly by my mother (a diehard Cubs fan, so she knew the meaning of suffering) as a Senators fan from 1958. A lifetime of waiting! My kids had to be brought up as O's fans (they're pretty happy too right now), so I'm glad I have you all to share the joy with. GOOOOOOO NATS! YAY! Keep up the good work!

  94. JaneB - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Headed down soon to stay the weekend down there — three games without a 1.25 hour commute each way! YAY! Will be there, WILL get the teeshirt. But I will also rock by Livan Nats shirt for old times sake. I kinda hope the Brewers get in so he gets to go, too.

  95. Dave - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Actually, nothing at all against Livo, but I hope we knock the Brewers out of contention this extended weekend. Let's clinch the division–sooner better than later!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.5
Through Tuesday's games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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