Ryan Zimmerman took the red Nationals t-shirt and pulled it over his jersey on the field at Nationals Park following Thursday's 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. He plopped a gray and white cap on his dome. A foreign word was spread across the chest: "Postseason." The even-keeled Zimmerman sported a broad grin across his face.

For the first time since 1933, a Washington baseball team was headed to playoffs. Zimmerman, 27, endured 573 losses over seven previous seasons with the Nationals before he could finally enjoy this night. He believed the team's owners and signed a six-year, $100-million extension in the off-season because he felt a moment like this would eventually arrive.

The face of the Nationals' franchise, a fan favorite who was at his best when the team was at its worst, the franchise's first-ever first-round pick who wants to end his career here, the longest-tenured National who made the Washington area his home — had finally gotten a chance to play in the postseason. Thursday's victory might not have been more satisfying to anyone in the Nationals' clubhouse than him.