As longtime readers of this blog know I do not write very often about baseball. There are a few reasons for this but the main one is pretty straightforward: I simply do not watch enough to accurately assess too much of anything when it comes to America’s pastime. For the most part I barely manage to keep up with the big stories – such as Pujols going to the Angels or the shocking dismantling of A-Rod’s reputation and skills, the rise of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and of course, the retooling of the Toronto Blue Jays in a suddenly weak division.
However, as much as I try to ignore baseball, there is certainly a lot going on in the MLB. With the season openers less than a week away, some of the experts are starting to make their picks and (spoiler alert) there are some ballsy predictions going around.
Namely the ones from Sports Illustrated’s baseball writers who are overwhelmingly picking the Washington Nationals to win the World Series. To quote guru Tom Verducci
“Manager Davey Johnson has managed this team before: the 1986 Mets. Like the ’86 Mets, the Nationals are coming off a 98-win season, are loaded with young pitching, star players and a deep bullpen and expect to win. Washington has no obvious flaw.”
Take a moment to allow that to sink in: Washington is a perfect team. They will win because they are the deepest, most talented team and they are primed to be the Champs. Wow. A lot has changed since the last time I really focused on baseball. Surprisingly, not too many people are choosing the Toronto Blue Jays to win (they will probably fall apart) despite their massive new off season acquisitions. Instead the experts are picking Washington – a team that built through the draft with two cannot miss prospects in back to back years. If all breaks their way the Nats could be World Series Champs, boast the NL Cy Young Award winner (Strasburg) and the NL MVP (Harper).
For some reason this is hard to believe. Even though Verducci and the other experts feel they are a strong contender, this is still the team that handed a Series to the St. Louis Cardinals when they were one out away from moving on to the NL Championship Series. They definitely have good pitching but the experience is still somewhat lacking and they need to be able to win the big games when it matters most.
This season also features a lot of teams that have added a lot of contracts. The Angels, Blue Jays, and Braves all added big time players but none are guaranteed anywhere near the chemistry or pitching that the Nationals can boast. Then there is the Tampa Rays who are suddenly always in the playoffs and always in the hunt for the World Series despite ridiculously low payrolls and a shockingly good farm system.
However…if we do get a Washington and Tampa World Series, what will it mean for baseball? Is a changing of the guard – which has to happen – completely in the works? How can everyone ignore the Angels who arguably got better with Josh Hamilton? There are more questions than answers at this point but right now, the presumptive favorites are the Washington Nationals. Can they be trusted to make a serious run?
Maybe not, they are, after all the best argument againt them is that they are the Washington “Freaking” Nationals. Soon though, they may be World Champion, Washington “Freaking” Nationals.
(Editor’s Note – It was write about baseball or a certain streak that is going on and it is best to pretend the streak is not happening so it can continue unabated.)