Mike Wise recently took some time off from making outlandishly optimistic predictions about D.C. sports teams on Twitter to write a column I actually agreed with, arguing that outlandishly optimistic expectations might not be helping local franchises. Excerpt:
Expectations don’t work here, people. They box everybody in. They make us forget where the outfield wall is and that the object of football while playing defense is to tackle the other player — not just give him a forearm shiver and hope he goes down.
The moment their goal becomes the postseason or winning a title, Washington athletes become prisoners of their own self-induced pressure.
With that in mind, you might think a local franchise would relish being overlooked, would quietly exult at the chance to just play games, without having to talk about championships or outsized media predictions.
Nope. Here’s Brooks Laich, talking to the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Thursday morning.
“The system and structure and the players that we have and the way we’re coached, I think we’re very, very dangerous,” Laich said. “And I don’t think we’re getting enough respect. But I’m pretty confident in our group that we’re gonna earn that.”
Host Eric Bickel later admitted that he was nervous about the postseason chances of a team that narrowly made the playoffs a year ago and is now positioned in a tougher division.
“You know what, I hate hearing people whine about the schedule getting tougher,” Laich said. ” You remember last year, I was injured and I saw you guys at a game? And I said, just wait until you see this team, we have a tough record right now but we’re going to go on like an 11-out-of-12 game winning streak. And we did it.
“There are things that we see that you guys aren’t privileged to see. The media, too. There’s things in video. We break down the video from every game, we break down video of upcoming games, we see what teams are like, their strengths and weaknesses. And every day we see ours. And we know a lot more than people believe that we know. We have a solid, solid team. I really believe that we are right on the cusp, closer than ever before, and I’ve been here 10, 11 years. I believe we are closer than ever before. That’s why I could care less about this new realignment.”