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Like the Nats, the Caps have suffered their share of heartbreakers in recent seasons. Unlike the Nats, at least they've made the playoffs and been in position to win.
It obviously happened last night with the Capitals, who were swept by the Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals and despite four consecutive division titles are now 2-4 in playoff series under coach Bruce Boudreau.
It's certainly happened plenty of times over the last two decades with the Redskins, who have copyrighted the notion of getting fans excited in the offseason only to underachieve come the actual season.
It's happened with the Wizards, who despite anticipation over No. 1 draft pick John Wall posted the fourth-worst record in the NBA and over the last three years own a .276 winning percentage.
And, of course, it's happened with the Nationals over much of the last six-plus years, from their stunning collapse from 100-win pace to .500 record in 2005, to back-to-back 100-loss seasons in 2008-09, to the ultimate torture: Stephen Strasburg undergoing Tommy John surgery less than three months after making one of the greatest debuts in baseball history.
This is just the way it seems to be in D.C., where none of the big four local teams (sorry, D.C. United) has won a championship since the Redskins hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on Jan. 26, 1992.
That's nearly two decades without a title, an amazingly long stretch for a city with teams in all four major pro sports leagues.
So here's the question as we wait to find out Boudreau's fate and as we contemplate how the Nationals are going to score a run off Roy Halladay tonight: Which local team will be next to win a championship?
The easy answer is to say the Capitals, because they're the only one of the group to even reach the playoffs in the last three years, and they did just earn their conference's No. 1 seed for the second straight year. But something about that franchise just doesn't add up. Something just doesn't seem to click for them once the postseason begins.
The Redskins do appear to be on the right track now, with Mike Shanahan in total control of football operations and getting rave reviews for stockpiling draft picks this year in an attempt to overhaul the roster. But that strategy, obviously, is geared more toward building a winner down the road, not immediately.
The Wizards, quite frankly, are a mess. But they do have a franchise player to build around in Wall. And more than in any other sport, it's possible to turn an NBA franchise around quickly with only a couple of star players.
Which brings us to the Nationals, whose slow-and-steady approach to building a contender has brought improved results the last two years. Anyone who doesn't believe this franchise is closer today to winning than it was two years ago hasn't been paying attention at all.
But how close are these guys to winning? The ultimate optimist would say the pieces could conceivably all fall into place next year, with a healthy Strasburg and rookie Bryce Harper joining Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and others to form the nucleus of a potential winner.
The ultimate pessimist would say the Nats still have a long way to go, that Strasburg likely won't be 100 percent next year, that Harper can't be counted on to dominate from the moment he arrives in the big leagues, that there's still a dearth of championship-caliber pitching behind Strasburg on the depth chart.
So what do you think? Which of the big four local teams -- the Nats, Caps, Skins or Wiz -- is most likely to win a championship first?