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For the second time in three years, the Washington Nationals won the NL East and cruised into the playoffs, only to bounce out in confounding fashion. This year, at least, there was no Game 5 heartbreak—but only because the Game 2 heartbreak (not to mention Tuesday night’s Game 4 gaffes) meant they didn’t even make it that far into the divisional series against the San Francisco Giants. As these photos show, fans were in high spirits heading into Game 1 at Nationals Park last Friday. Maybe next year, the good times will last a little longer.

Photos by Darrow Montgomery