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Great Moments in hubris: The Nationals will make the playoffs every year forever

Sep 18, 2012, 10:30 AM EST

Nationals cap logo

It’s not outside of the realm of possibility. The Yankees have made the playoff almost every year for 18 years. The Braves did it year after year for ages. Until this season the Phillies had a nice run too.

But it just seems … wrong to say stuff like Thom Loverro of the Washington Examiner says here:

…if you’re into magic numbers, you might want to start the count for 2013, 2014 and beyond.  Yes, the Nationals are annually going to be traveling down this road to playoff baseball … The Nationals are good, and they’re going to be better next year — and perhaps the year after that and beyond.

I’m not suggesting a jinx or anything. I don’t believe in those. It just seems like anyone, as a point of analysis, who starts from the proposition that a team is going to win in perpetuity, basing that assumption on the sure-fire maturation of various prospects while making no room for the possibility of injury or bad luck is going about things backwards.

The Nats are a decent bet to be good for several years. But it is a bet, and even if they have better odds than any one team in that division, I think “field” gets even better odds than the Nats.

  1. kevinleaptrot - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    He may have gone out on a limb, but at least he didn’t predict that the Lerners would open their prodigious wallets and shell out crazy money for free agents. That would have been nutso!

  2. stex52 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Don’t believe in jinxes? how in the world can a baseball fan not be superstitious? It’s unnatural!!

    • chumthumper - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Not to mention “old school”.

  3. wethog66 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    For those of us in the DC area that read Thom’s stuff, or listen to him on local sports talk radio, this isn’t surprising. If there were a position in the Nats organization of Davey Johnson Jock Sniffer Loverro would have that job.

  4. natslady - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Lovarro is a nice enough guy, but doesn’t have a lot of credibility around here.

    It’s not just bad luck and injuries (the Nats have had plenty of both, and with Morse and Espinosa both questionable, there could be some tough times ahead even this season)–it’s the other teams in the division.

    Now that they are healthy, the Fillies are showing stuff. We take for granted that they are “old” but the rotation is still something to look at. Atlanta isn’t going anywhere, they have a good core for next year. and (I hate to say it) Fredi has learned a lot from last year. Now, the Mets…. OK, the Mets.

    But I’m not as negative about the Fish as some people. Well, I’m negative, in that I HATE THE FISH like all Nats fans do, but I don’t see them folding up their tent, er, their home run structure. I don’t see them as a last-place team year-in-year-out.

    Yes, the Nats are a good and YOUNG team, we all know that. And some guys coming up (e.g., Karns, Meyer, Rendon) signal that the well is not dry. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Aw, come on. Can’t we let a Washington homer enjoy being a Washington homer? I don’t think there is any presumption of objectivity here, and the bulk of his audience probably appreciates the optimistic outlook. It is not completely unfounded.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 18, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      Of course, Craig can’t let us Nats fans enjoy ourselves. Now that the Nats are contenders along with the Braves, he needs to troll us fans, as he has done to Phillies fans. OK by me; being trolled is a sign that the Nats have arrived. I do wish Craig would use better sources than this guy and Thomas Boswell, though.

  6. burgandyandgold - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I don’t know. If I was Strasburg I would quietly play out my contract and sign with someone else. I would never get over being shut down in the middle of a possible world series run.

    • kevinleaptrot - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      If he isn’t over it yet, he’ll get over it soon enough. What he wouldn’t get over is another Tommy John surgery. And that’s a fact!

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        They’re only 17 games out of first. They still have time to turn it around. I mean, if the Red Sox go 17-0 and Yankees and Orioles lost every game, they would both finish at 83-79, with the Red Sox going 81-81.

        Then, all that would have to happen would is for Matt Weiters (3.1 WAR) and Mark Teixiera (3.5 WAR) to test positive for PEDs and for MLB to pass that rule that deducts wins from a team based on WAR with positive PED tests, and the Red Sox are in!

        See, totally possible for them to still come back and win this thing.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        My apologies for somehow managing to post this twice, and in this case, as a reply to the wrong comment.

        I hereby strip myself of my computer privileges for the next week.

  7. Joe - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    I remember when the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford and traded for Adrian Gonzalez, and were going to be the hands-down favorites in the AL East for the next few years.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      They’re only 17 games out of first. They still have time to turn it around. I mean, if the Red Sox go 17-0 and Yankees and Orioles lost every game, they would both finish at 83-79, with the Red Sox going 81-81.

      Then, all that would have to happen would is for Matt Weiters (3.1 WAR) and Mark Teixiera (3.5 WAR) to test positive for PEDs and for MLB to pass that rule that deducts wins from a team based on WAR with positive PED tests, and the Red Sox are in!

      See, totally possible for them to still come back and win this thing.

    • 18thstreet - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Yes, and all they did with those two players was have the best offense in baseball in 2011.

      The prediction was not crazy. No one anticipated how the pitching would fall apart. I’m just tired of the implication that the team’s failures were somehow Crawford and Gonzalez’s faults. It was entirely the pitching.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

        I think the point was that there are lots of things that have to go right for a team to make the playoffs, and that those things often do not go right. That pre-season projections do not guarantee anything.

  8. ptfu - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…

    So how’d that prediction turn out, anyway?

  9. unlost1 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    …AND they will sit their best pitcher every year!

  10. hushbrother - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    The all-time champions in this category are Philadelphia Eagles fans. Act like they’ve won the last five Super Bowls.

    • philsgamer - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Showing your hate for a completely different team, in a completely different sport in a completely different city. Nice work.

      Shows that you have no clue when it comes to Eagles fans. They are some of the most self-deprecating people in the sports world.

  11. Paul Zummo - Sep 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Par for the course for Loverro, though to be fair he’s not as bad of a homer as the guy he sits next to every day on the air (Kevin Sheehan, who picks the Skins to make the playoffs just about every year). Loverro is one of those old school guys who still thinks wins and Batting Average are the best tools to measure player performance, and who still cries over the death of the penny daily.

  12. thatyankeedude - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Wow I’m thinking that he may want to let his team do the talking before he declares them king. You never know what could happen in baseball, they may have key injuries that never heal or make bad decisions. Who knows?

  13. verytalldad - Sep 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    so a baseball blog mocks predictions from other bloggers. is this a media criticism blog now? talk about baseball.
    writers make predictions bc they need something to write about. this blog apparently now has so little to write about it mocks everything. that makes for a crappy blog.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 18, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      “is this a media criticism blog now?”

      “Now?” Aww, you must be new here. WELCOME! :-)

      • natstowngreg - Sep 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        Not just media criticism, but literary, political, culinary, philosophical, musical, and cinematic criticism. Indeed, most any type of criticism one could want. Even the occasional baseball criticism.

  14. rs2driver - Sep 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    NL East, barring catastrophic injuries of course,hands down next year will have three World Series type teams. Nats, Phils, and the Braves. Each just about interchangeable for top spot next year. NL East best division in majors…period.

  15. schmedley69 - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    I’m a certified Nats hater, but I like Thom Loverro. I enjoy listening to him on SportsTalk 980 in Washington. The Nats should be a good team moving forward, but I think they have played above their heads this year. I don’t expect guys like Gio Gonzalez to be THIS good again in the future. He is a nice pitcher, but I’m thinking this is kind of a career year kind of deal for him. They should be in the mix with the Braves and Phillies next year, but to project beyond a year in pro sports is kind of ludicrous these days. There are too many variables.

    I just hope the Nats go down in flames this year, so that pompous windbag Thomas Boswell won’t have anything to crow about and can go back to predicting Super Bowls for the Redskins.

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