Every now and then, I get a complaint from a reader who argues that the vicious D.C. sports media would rather tear down than build up; that local media members are overly pessimistic and cynical; and that loyal D.C. sports fans deserve a more optimistic home-town press corps.
To those people, I typically just say “12-4″ and move on with my life. But in case that reference is too dated, here’s a more recent example of the great optimism that fills our hearts, leading hope to spring eternal like a tired writer springing toward a chips-and-dip set-up at an open-bar happy hour reception.
Each spring, Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com surveys his fellow Nats scribes about their expectations for the upcoming season.
Last year, 11 out of the 11 surveyed writers predicted the Nats would make the playoffs.
The Nats, of course, did not make the playoffs. And they won nine games fewer than the most pessimistic Nats writer had predicted.
Thus, properly chastened, the gang of media members prepared for the 2014 season with a new, more realistic, less starry-eyed attitude. This time, 10 out of the 10 surveyed writers predicted the Nats would make the playoffs.
Of course, there were some slight corrections downward. Last year, the 11 surveyed writers predicted an average win total of 98 wins. This spring, the number has dipped to 94.8, although 100 percent of the surveyed writers predicted the Nats would win at least 92 games, which is well above the Vegas over-under of 89.5.
Last year, nine of the 11 predicted the Nats would make the World Series, with the other two opting for the NLCS. This year, only two of the 10 predicted a World Series visit; seven went with the NLCS, and one shirking pessimist who might or might not work for The Post predicted a loss in the NLDS.
And expectations were similarly adjusted downward for Bryce Harper. Last year, the writers predicted an average of 32.5 home runs from Harper. This year, the predictions averaged just 31.3 home runs.
But anyhow, maybe D.C. sportswriters are super biased against the home teams. I’ll hang up and listen.