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Nats' Game 5 loss keep Washington, D.C. in sports success cellar

Nats' Game 5 loss keep Washington, D.C. in sports success cellar

The Washington Nationals lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2016 National League Divisional Series after being unabkle to rally back from a 4-1 deficit, falling 4-3 after Clayton Kershaw came in to close the game out

What does that mean?

It means that 1) The Nationals season once against in heartbreak and,

2) CSNMA gets to trot out the ugliest sports statistic in the city.

Washington, D.C. remains the only city with four major sports team to fail to reach a conference final since 2000.

Washington has not had a major professional sports team reach the conference finals since 1998, when the Capitals defeated the Buffalo Sabres to reach the Stanley Cup Final.

In that time, all but five cities with at least one major pro sports team has reached a conference finals, but Washington, D.C. is the only city with more than two teams to fail to do so. 

If the heartbreak wasn't enough, the fact that Cleveland, arguably the most downtrodden pro sports city in the country, overcame demons to win their first professional championship since 1964. The Cavaliers appeared destined for heartbreak, but then the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, and Cleveland was no longer the laughing stock of pro sports.

With Cleveland hoisting a title banner, Washington, D.C. remains firmly entrenched in the top 5 among least successful pro sports cities.

Buffalo has never welcomed a championship team back to town. Despite the Braves dominating the N.L. in the 1990's and the Falcons making a Super Bowl, the town's apathy for their pro sports teams keep them firmly in the running.

But D.C. stands alone when it comes to even sniffing a championship series, at least for another few months.

Spreadsheet Notes:

- Grouping the New York and Bay Area teams could go any of a number of ways. The Mets/Jets/Islanders were grouped together as were the Yankees/Giants/Rangers/Knicks given traditional but not guaranteed fan allegiances. The same applies to Oakland/San Francisco/San Jose.

Green Bay was grouped with Milwaukee because the Packers are Milwaukee's football team, even with the close proximity of Chicago. 

The professional teams in Tennessee were grouped together to create a adequate sample size for the area.

Certainly, there is overlap, especially in major markets on the East Coast,  but this is the most adequate way to get a strong sample size of the major sports cities.

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Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time

HOUSTON -- Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer, Howie Kendrick had a two-run triple and the Washington Nationals beat Houston for the ninth straight time, 4-3 Tuesday night in a matchup of division leaders.

Washington's winning streak over the Astros dates to 2012. The Nationals have won 13 of 14 against Houston since 2011.

Kendrick's triple tied it in the third before the Astros went back on top with an RBI single by Josh Reddick in the bottom half. Anthony Rendon doubled with two outs in the fourth before the homer by Wieters, which landed just to the right of straightaway center field, gave the NL East leaders a 4-3 lead.

Tanner Roark (10-8) allowed six hits and two earned runs in 5 2-3 innings and Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Charlie Morton (10-6) gave up four runs in six innings for the AL West-leading Astros.

The Astros threatened in the eighth against Brandon Kintzler when Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles and the Nationals intentionally walked Carlos Beltran with one out to load the bases. But Max Stassi grounded into a double play to leave Houston trailing.

George Springer led off the Houston first with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Reddick.

Beltran doubled off the wall in left-center field in the second and scored on a single by Derek Fisher.

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Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

Why Nationals' Max Scherzer picked college over pros — at first

When Max Scherzer was a teenager, he didn't know that one day he'd actually become a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He had no guarantee he'd make it to the majors, much less play in five consecutive MLB All-Star games. 

All he knew was that he had the option to go pro as a kid or go to college, and back then, the Nationals' ace needed a contingency plan in case baseball didn't work out. Fortunately for Scherzer, it did, but he doesn't regret going to college at the University of Missouri, telling Santana Moss on CSN's "Route 89" going to school was a no-brainer.

"It was actually a really easy decision," Scherzer told Moss. "When you get drafted out of high school, you're going to be going into the minor leagues, and that can take three to five or six years — multiple years — in the minor leagues, and you're forfeiting your right to further your education."

Scherzer was drafted in the 43rd round by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003, but he opted to play for Mizzou for three years, which turned out to be a great decision. The Arizona Diamondbacks then drafted him in 2006 in the first round as the 11th overall pick. 

"A lot of times when you sign out of high school, you don't make it to the major leagues," Scherzer continued. "So I realize that your education — that's your safety net.

"You need to further your education in college, and if you do get drafted out of college, you're in a much better position to try to chase your dreams because if it doesn't work out, you still have one year left of school and that's much easier to obtain rather than try to go through four years when you're not coming out of high school."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound