On the Nationals' everlasting NLCS drought

Watching football last night, I couldn't help but be struck by the fact the Patriots have now advanced to the AFC Championship for the sixth consecutive year.

That's pretty remarkable, especially in this day and age. Equally remarkable is the fact New England has reached the AFC Championship 11 times during a 16-year run that began when a sixth-round draft pick named Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe at quarterback.

And I couldn't help but think about how the Nationals must feel about all this. The Patriots have reached their league's semifinal round six straight years and 11 times in the last 16 years. The Nats, of course, have never reached their league's semifinal, either failing to make the playoffs altogether or losing in the first round.

harper-frustrated-hands-in-hair-sidebar.jpgThis streak of futility stretches farther back than the 12 seasons the Nationals have called D.C. home. The Expos/Nationals franchise last appeared in the National League Championship Series in 1981, the franchise's lone appearance that deep in the playoffs in its 48-year history.

(For those of you undoubtedly getting mad at me right now for lumping the Expos and Nationals into the same conversation: Sorry, but it's officially all the same franchise. It just is. Same as the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles. You're just going to have to accept that fact.)

Now the really depressing part of all this: The Nationals have the longest LCS drought of any major league franchise. By a lot.

Here's the current 10 longest droughts by franchise, with the most recent LCS appearance listed...

Expos/Nationals: 1981
Pirates: 1992
Reds: 1995
Padres: 1998
Braves: 2001
Mariners: 2001
Twins: 2002
Marlins: 2003
Astros: 2005
Athletics: 2006

Yes, the Nationals' LCS drought is 46 percent longer than any other major league franchise. Fifteen of the sport's 30 franchises have reached the LCS since 2010. Twenty-six franchises have reached the LCS since 2001. Twenty-nine franchises have reached the LCS since 1992.

And then there are the Nationals.

Seems like it's high time for that ignominious streak to come to an end, doesn't it?

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