We are now all into 2014 together and together we are still all Washington Nationals fans. 2013 was a year of disappointment and we can finally put that into the past and look only straight ahead to 2014.
So, is 2014 the year for the Nats?
Expectations are high, as they were in ’13 but ’14 is even higher. Stephen Strasburg is one year older and one more year removed from Tommy John surgery. Bryce Harper has also gained a season of playing experience and 2014 is either flourish or bust for Harper.
To go along with those guys you have a two time Silver Slugger winner in Ian Desmond who is looking to once again improve on defense and improve on two great previous seasons at the dish. Denard Span is in his second season in D.C. and in the National League and it could be a huge one.
The Nats have arguably the best pitching staff in all of baseball and an offense that has a lot of potential if it can produce. The excuses have to end about high expectations. If they can’t handle the expectations then they don’t deserve to be talked about in that capacity. Experts and fans will soon start to call them pretenders instead of contenders because the pressure starts to mount.
The St. Louis Cardinals take on expectations every season from their fans and the expectations put on them by the experts. It seems like every season they come through for their fans and make their way deep into the postseason, even if they don’t have that great of a team. They have a will to win and don’t have excuses when they don’t. The Nats need to turn into that type of team, instead of the team with multiple excuses.
So the question remains, is 2014 the year of the Nationals?
I would like to think so, but previous seasons have shown us that those expectations will just become excuses to why they didn’t win. At this point everything is on paper and the games still have to be played. Stephen Strasburg has to last an entire season, Bryce Harper has to become better against left-handers, Anthony Rendon isn’t a rookie anymore and needs to play like it, Adam LaRoche needs to have a 2012 season again at the plate, and finally Ryan Zimmerman needs to cut down on the errors in the field. If all this stuff happens then yes, this is the year of the Nationals, but all of those things happening is very rare.
I just don’t see it being the season for the Nats. Looking around the league, there are some better teams and better ones even in the National League. I would love for it to be the year, I just don’t see it being in the cards in 2014. If this comes back to bite me, I would be glad it does, it means all those things listed above happened in the Nats favor.
To all of our readers and to the Nats, Happy New Year and I hope this year is the one for the Nationals!