The final out burrowed into catcher Kurt Suzuki’s mitt and closed a chapter in Washington’s baseball history. The strike-three slider Drew Storen threw past Hanley Ramirez on Thursday night ended the woebegone era, when this city was forced to either watch a hapless team or dream of having one.
The scoreboard at Nationals Park flashed “NATS CLINCH” in huge, white block letters. The 30,359 fans exalted. Red and white fireworks exploded into the starless sky, and smoke hovered over the field as the players pulled on red shirts and gray hats emblazoned with words once foreign to the nation’s capital: “Playoffs” and “postseason.”