Thursday, March 22, 2007

Historically Bad

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports investigates the dubious claims that the sure-to-be woeful Nats are going to be 'historically bad'. It's a fun little article, featuring a defensive Stan Kasten.
"You can look at our team and our defense and our pitching staff," [Brian] Schneider said, "and you go ahead and ask around the league: Teams hate playing us."

Such a supposition seemed fishy, so we did ask around the league: Do teams really hate playing the Nationals? Each NL personnel man uttered some derivation of what one scout put best: "Yeah, like we hate eating chocolate cake."

And yet when pressed further, about whether the Nationals could be 120-loss bad, the scout scoffed.

"No," he said. "No one's that bad."

I don't think the team is going to be historically bad either. But sure, we're going to be bad. If I had to give a gut estimate, I'd say about 97 losses. There just aren't any elite teams in the NL that are going to beat the snot out of us over and over and over. Oh, the Phillies, Mets and Braves'll be good, but there's not a 110-win juggernaut among them.

Further in the article, our good friend Stan Kasten repeats his mantra of late:
"What's always a good reminder for me – and I'm not making a prediction – the last time I had a team projected to finish last was my 1991 (Atlanta Braves) team," he said. "That team lost in extra innings in the seventh game of the World Series.

I'm stealing this from someone (OMG?), but if you look further, the previous five seasons that Stan Kasten's teams were expected to finish in last place, you know what they did? Finished last four teams, next-to-last once.

I suspect we're closer to that reality than to Kasten's sunny mantra/non-prediction.

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