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Philly reacts to Nationals' division title

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Philly reacts to Nationals' division title

When the Washington Nationals clinched the N.L. East on Monday night, it came with a set of bizarre circumstances. Not only did they secure the title at the end of a game they would soon after lose, their opponent on the field was the very team they were supplanting after a five-year reign. Despite being out of it for months, the Phillies were the defending champs and until last night had bragging rights over their upstart rivals.

In a game the Nationals lost, they won at the same time. And conversely, the Phillies lost on a night they won.

So after the crown had officially changed hands, the reactions from both teams and their media contingents were obviously much different. Those roles have also switched with the Philly side now taking stock in a season that will end after game number 162.

We went around the internet looking for the Phillies reaction to Monday night and here is what we found.

Philadelphia Daily News columnist David Murphy seems pretty upset about the loss:

"Cliff Lee once famously said Philadelphia fans do not need a teleprompter to know when to cheer. Well, neither do Nationals fans. They need a Hype Guy, which is really just another name for a male cheerleader who bounces up and down from section to section like a tailless, jersey-wearing Tigger, screaming and whistling and annoying the bejesus out of anybody who might actually be attempting to monitor pitch locations and secondary leads and other less, well, "hype" aspects of the game.

Nationals Park is not a place of nuance. It is all concrete and aluminum and national advertisements; game day is a succession of desperate gimmicks broken up by nine innings of baseball. During the early stages of Monday night's game, it was not immediately clear which was greater: the dramatic tension that surrounded the Nationals' unresolved quest to clinch the NL East, or that which surrounded a foam Teddy Roosevelt's quest to clinch his first-ever victory in a race against other presidential mascotcaricatures. See, the mascot race, while cliche from its inception, has nevertheless evolved to occupy a central role in the Nationals Park game-day experience, with poor Teddy doing his best Bull Moose Party impression and falling flat on his face during each competition."

"Without a doubt, it is different here. The excitement is more manufactured, the emotion less raw than it is in the historic sporting hotbeds of the Northeast, where the meaning of the mission has been passed down for generations."

(As if the Phillies sold out games when they were bad)

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel goes down fighting:

It made me mad, yeah, yes it did, Manuel said about the Nationals claiming what the Phillies had owned for the last five years. Im a bad loser. Nobody should be a good loser. Im a bad loser and I always will be.

Ive been mad for three or four weeks. It just hadnt been coming out.

Manuel again:

"That is the first time I ever won and got beat."

CSNphilly.com columnist John Gonzalez has an interesting metaphor for the new division champs:

"And so they went down to D.C. to play the final series of the season three games against the Washington Nationals, who have been perched atop the NL East almost all year long, like some strange gargoyle that was unexpectedly added to the top of a previously beautiful building"

The Courier Post doesn't have much on the game itself, but their headline seems to have an opinion on the night:

"Phillies spoil Nats clincher"

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year

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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

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