DCSB: Take a good look at these Nats

Starting tonight, “there will be a sense of a fond but bittersweet ending for many fans,” Boz wrote in this morning’s paper, which was like the original newsletter. “This homestand…
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Strasburg and Harper in Atlanta, in 2014. (Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Starting tonight, “there will be a sense of a fond but bittersweet ending for many fans,” Boz wrote in this morning’s paper, which was like the original newsletter. “This homestand will be a time for hard acceptance that a Nats team with enough talent on paper to reach the playoffs has instead run into a storm of injuries, inadequate front-office planning, ownership interference, a lack of leadership in the clubhouse and the unforced error of hiring a rookie manager who may someday be adequate, though today probably isn’t that day.”

Only that.

“Next spring training, this team will be radically different — and the Nats have planned for it for years,” he wrote later in the piece. “Take of mental picture of these familiar Nats. It’s the last.”

Sounds kind of sad when you put it that way! When the Nats lose in Game 5 — something they do well — there’s a suddenness to it, a jolt, something hard to immediately process. The slow burn toward a bad season’s end is different. It lets you think things out, mull over the future, remember the past. And Boz’s column reminded me of one of the many reader emails this week trying to make sense of a possible future without Bryce Harper, which has felt inevitable but still somehow staggering after watching him since he was a teenager.

“Look at other franchise players and how you view them,” Corey S. wrote. “Ovi has never been a perfect player, and people wanted him traded for years before he broke through. He is now the most beloved sports figure in the city (probably in its history). Take Ryan Zimmerman. Obviously not as talented as Bryce, and fans were so frustrated with him as recently as two years ago. But there is no doubt he will go down in Nationals history as a universally beloved and respected player. If Bryce stays and the Nats at some point win it all, he will be adored and put into the stratosphere of D.C. sports legends. Don’t fans want to at least get the chance to root for that? Isn’t that the point?”

Those are the questions we’ll all be pondering over the next few (likely) meaningless weeks: How this team and its stars will be remembered, what went wrong this season, how seven years can possibly fly by so quickly. This is the Wistful Homestand. The Caps — plus Scherzer and Strasburg and Soto and Robles — should be enough to stave off any talk of windows closing. But for these Nats, time is almost gone. So take a good look. It won’t cost you much.

As always, send me your deepest thoughts on email or , and let’s do it again next week, starting Tuesday because of the holiday. — Dan Steinberg

Quick hits:

Take a good look at these Nationals. You won’t be seeing a lot of them next season.
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Nationals-Brewers series preview: A chance to gain wild card ground?
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Robert Griffin III didn’t play for the Ravens vs. the Redskins, and the mystery deepens
Will Baltimore keep him on its roster?
By Matt Bonesteel • Read more »
As college football season dawns, Maryland braces for days of reckoning
With Jordan McNair’s death casting a pall, the program searches for answers that likely will lead to more difficult questions.
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Elena Delle Donne getting ‘round-the-clock rehab’ for bone bruise, status for Game 3 in doubt
“She’s tough. If she can play, she will,” Mystics Coach Mike Thibault said of his star’s availability vs. the Atlanta Dream.
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MLS matches during FIFA fixture window will play havoc with D.C. United lineup
There are five MLS matches during the Sept. 3-11 window, and United is involved in two. Five to seven D.C. players will miss at least one game as a result.
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