Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner had some bold words for the crowd at NatsFest:
"We're going to the World Series this year."
Spoken like a man with the best team on paper.
Look, we all know how easy it is to get to the World Series when you have the team with the best players. Just ask the 2011 world champion Phillies. It's also laughably simple to punch through the playoffs when all the analysts pick you to win, a rule proven by the 2010 National League champion Phillies.
Basically, getting to the World Series comes down to a simple formula.
- Have all the best players
- Want to win the World Series
- Win the World Series
So you can understand Lerner's argument. I mean, the Nats didn't sideline their best young pitcher during the franchise's first ever postseason run because they weren't going to get back. What incredibly talented team has ever not made it to the World Series, I ask you?
Lerner is just presuming that the Nationals aren't going to run into a Cardinals team with all the momentum, or some scrappy bunch of underdogs from San Francisco, or any team with those completely controllable baseball notions of "mojo" and "hustling." Besides, what problem could surface that Lerner couldn't just throw money at until it goes away?
There will be no surprises for the Nationals in 2013; there will be no poorly timed injuries to key players, there will be no stretches of bad luck, there will be no blown calls by umpires. They are the favorite to get to the World Series and therefore they will, and there are no extremely recent examples that could prove otherwise, so don't even bother pointing them out easily.
In all seriousness, it is important to instill confidence in a fan base, especially if you have an exciting team on the verge of breaking through.
That way, in a few years, when you sign Delmon Young to play an everyday position in the field, they have some warm memories to look back on.
UPDATE: Jayson Werth's confidence is also sky-high.