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The Washington Nationals are a professional baseball team based in Washington, D.C. The Nationals are a member of the Eastern Division of the National League of Major League Baseball (MLB). The team moved into the newly built Nationals Park in 2008, after playing their first three seasons in RFK Stadium. The new park is located in Southeast D.C., near the Anacostia River and with views of the Capitol.
The Nationals name derives from the two former Washington baseball teams which had the same name (used interchangeably with Senators). Their nickname is "the Nats"—a shortened version that was also used by the old D.C. teams.
An expansion franchise, the club was founded in Montreal, Quebec in 1969. As the Montreal Expos, they were the first major league team in Canada. They played their home games at Jarry Park Stadium and later in the Olympic Stadium. In 1981, the Expos won a division championship, won their first-ever playoff series by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 3–2, and advanced to the National League Championship Series, where they would go on to lose that series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3–2, in their only postseason appearance during the strike-shortened 1981 season. The Expos had their highest winning percentage in the strike-shortened season of 1994, when the team had the best record in baseball. The team's subsequent shedding of players caused fan interest to drop off. After the 2001 season, MLB considered revoking the team's franchise, along with either the Minnesota Twins or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After being purchased by MLB in 2002, the team was moved before the 2005 season to Washington and renamed the Nationals. This was the first complete name change for a relocating team in MLB since 1972, when the Washington Senators left D.C. to become the Texas Rangers.
The Nationals are one of two MLB franchises, and the only one in the National League, that has never played in a World Series (the Seattle Mariners are the other).