By LUKE ENGBERT
“And strike three! You’re out!” As the Nationals continue their playoff run this 2017 season, we can only hope that we don’t hear that phrase too often. At least not in reference to the Nats. Unfortunately for Washington fans, the teams from the area do not have a stellar track record when it comes to playoff success.
Perhaps the most painful proof of this statement is the Nationals themselves, since once again they are one of the contenders to win the World Series and if they choke up now, they will only succeed in continuing the trend of losing when it counts.
Unfortunately, most of us all remember the Nationals performance last season. Coming off a very respectable 93-64 regular season, they proceeded to fall short in the first round to the Dodgers, losing the series 3-2. Furthermore, this is the fourth time in six years that the Nationals have taken the NL East title, although they have yet to assert themselves as anything more than that in any of those years. However, they do have potential as a team, and this is not meant to be a condemnation of their chances for the future.
Realistically, it’s not just the Nationals who always choke up. With NFL season also underway, the Redskins are sure to keep fans on the edges of their seats all season. Everyone remembers two years ago, when the Redskins placed first in NFC East. Even last season, the 8-7-1 record which they managed to pull off was still a step up from the 3-13 and then 4-12 seasons a few years before.
However, if we think about the last time the Redskins won the playoffs, there’s not much room to be hopeful. That was in 2005 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10. Then they proceeded to lose the next game following and accomplished nothing.
Hopefully, this year the turnout will be a little different because like the Nationals, the Redskins have a solid roster of young players, all of whom are capable of being a part of a winning team. If they receive the proper coaching, of course, and injuries are kept to a minimum.
The Capitals and the Wizards also have a history of falling short in the postseason. Especially the Capitals, acknowledged as one of the best teams in the NHL constantly, they can never quite manage to take it all the way to the Stanley Cup.
Arguably, Washington has a decent amount of talent. We hold our own in games and have the potential to reach the top. There is certainly room for improvement in the coaching staff, especially the Redskins. That is a complicated issue however, and an issue which is really underscored is the pay scale of players.
Pro athletes make so much nowadays that it takes a certain degree of motivation or drive out of the game. Winning doesn’t really differ from losing when you are making millions at the end of the day. Perhaps this is part of the playoff problem. The only proof lies in the games won. That is what fans care about. I can only hope that as we round out the baseball season and continue to go through football season, Washington will alter their trend and win a few postseason games.