Washington Nationals

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Sports in Washington D.C./Washington Nationals
VAMONDE Washington D.C.
Written By VAMONDE Washington D.C.

Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals compete in the Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. From 2005 to 2007, the team played in RFK Stadium; since 2008, their home stadium has been Nationals Park located on South Capitol Street near the Anacostia River. The Nationals are the eighth major league franchise to be based in Washington, D.C., and the first since 1971. The current National League club was founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, part of the MLB expansion. The Expos were purchased by Major League Baseball in 2002, and the team was moved to Washington, D.C. and named the Nationals before the 2005 season, marking the first franchise relocation in MLB since the Washington Senators moved to Texas in 1971.

While the team initially struggled after moving to Washington, the Nationals have experienced considerable success in recent years, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, although they have yet to advance out of the first round in the playoffs. Two of the team's first overall picks in the MLB Draft, Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010, attracted new levels of attention to the team. At the time of his selection, Strasburg was called the "most-hyped pick in draft history," and Harper later became the youngest position player to be selected to the MLB All-Star Game. Including their time in Montreal, the Nationals are one of two franchises, and the only one in the National League, never to have won a league pennant or play in a World Series.

Baseball History in the Nation's Capital

Numerous professional baseball teams have called Washington, D.C. home. The Washington Senators, a founding member of the American League (AL), played in the nation's capital from 1901 to 1960 before moving to Minnesota and becoming the Twins. With notable stars including Walter Johnson and Joe Cronin, the Senators won the 1924 World Series and pennants in 1925 and 1933. The franchise became even more successful after moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season and were renamed the Minnesota Twins. A second Washington Senators team (1961–1971) had a winning record only once in its 11 years, although it featured slugger Frank Howard, who was inducted into the Ring of Fame at the new Nationals Park in 2016. The expansion Senators moved to Arlington, Texas for the 1972 season and changed its name to the Texas Rangers. The city of Washington spent the next 33 years without a baseball team.

Although there was some sentiment to revive the name Senators when the Montreal Expos franchise moved to Washington in 2005, legal and political considerations factored into the choice of Nationals, a revival of the first American League franchise's official name used from 1901 to 1956. Politicians and others in the District of Columbia objected to the name Senators because the District of Columbia does not have voting representation in Congress. In addition, the Rangers still owned the rights to the Senators name, although the Nationals were able to acquire the rights to the curly "W" logo from the Rangers. This logo looked a lot like Walgreens logo, but the drugstore chain never sued because, even though people have trouble telling the logos apart, it is believed the chain does not see this as a problem.

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