Mar 31, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Davey Johnson started the “World Series or Bust” hysteria in December.
Asked to make their MLB season predictions, four of seven baseball experts from Sports Illustrated picked the Nationals to win the World Series. A fifth picked them to reach the Fall Classic.
Three of four experts from Yahoo! Sports concurred: The Nationals will win the World Series.
And over at ESPN, 16 of 43 experts picked the Nats to win it all, 29 of 43 picked them to reach the Series, 38 of 43 picked them to win the NL East and all 43 picked them to at least reach the playoffs.
Talk about pressure, huh?
“Hey, it’s better than being picked last, isn’t it?” Davey Johnson mused last week from the dugout at Space Coast Stadium when informed how nearly every major publication out there has tabbed his team as the sport’s preseason favorite.
Johnson, of course, has never shied away from the spotlight. If anything, the overly lofty expectations placed on the Nationals this season were ignited by their 70-year-old manager, who at the Winter Meetings in December declared the team’s new mantra: “World Series or Bust.”
Ever since, the Nationals have been the darlings of national media outlets, scouts and Vegas oddsmakers, all of them convinced D.C. will be home to baseball’s best team in 2013. It’s enough to make your head swell and chest puff out, but within the clubhouse, that doesn’t appear to be a problem.
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