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2/15/08 Washington Nationals' Fans Might Not Be As Optimistic As Their Team's Officials...

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     On January 1, 2007 the Washington Nationals' rookie Manager Manny Acta told MLB.com's Bill Ladson, as recounted in Mr. Ladson's washington.nationals.mlb.com article entitled, "Nats hope younger is better in 2007", that in his first season at the helm:

          "...I want to shock the world. I want to play over .500 and
          [also play] meaningful games at the end of the season."

     The Nationals did not finish the '07 season above .500, but Manny Acta's team did play meaningful games in September, disrupting the New York Mets' playoff plans in the last week of the season with a three-game sweep on the road against a New York team that was battling to avoid an epic collapse and fighting in vain to remain atop the NL East.

     After the first game of the three-game September '07 series against the Mets, mlb.com's Bill Ladson spoke to Nationals' Manager Manny Acta, in his article entitled, "Nationals pound Mets in opener", about the the way his team was playing in the last weeks of what would be a 73-89, fourth-place '07 finish in the NL East standings:

          "I'm very proud of my guys, not only how they are playing
          against the Mets, but how they have played the whole
          season. I think it's a big accomplishment for those guys. I
          have to give my coaching staff a lot of credit. We came in
          here and tried to fix some things and tried to make them
          play the way we want them to play. It has worked. Here we
          are: Just as many wins as last year without all those big
          guys we had."

     In 2006, Frank Robinson's last season as Washington's Manager, and the Nationals' second season in DC, the team finished in 5th place with a 71-91 record, a full ten wins below the surprise 81-81, 5th place finish to the Inaugural 2005 campaign that saw the Nationals in first place in the NL East as late as the 20th of July.

     With the start of the 2008 MLB season fast approaching Washington GM Jim Bowden told the press in the Nationals' Spring home of Viera, Florida, as reported in an uncredited examiner.com entitled, "Nationals GM Bowden: 'We're ready to win more games than we lose", that he thinks, "...Washington Nationals can be a winning team this season," and Mr. Bowden is quoted saying, "...I think that we're ready to win more games than we lose. Of course, that takes a lot of young players to step up, but I think they're capable of doing that."

     According to the voting readers here at federalbaseball.com, 104 of whom have cast votes to date, 30%, or 32 out of 104 voters disagree with GM Jim Bowden and think the Nationals will finish the season under .500, with the (75-87) final record possibility receiving the majority of the votes by a slim margin over those 29 voters who chose, (80-82) as the final record and both of their more optimistic comrades who think the Nationals would finish the '08 season at (85-77).

Questions???

Will the Nationals finish above .500?
Can the Nationals win more than the 81 games they won in '05?
When will Playoff aspirations replace the desire to play over-.500 baseball?

*Final Standings in '08 Links*

MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nats hope younger is better in 2007", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20061222&content_id=1766904&vkey=ne ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

MLB.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nationals pound Mets in opener", at washington.nationals.mlb.com:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20070924&content_id=2228407&v key=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

examiner.com's uncredited article entitled, "Nationals GM Bowden: 'We're ready to win more games than we lose'" at www.examiner.com:

http://www.examiner.com/a-1222917~Nationals_GM_Bowden___We_re_ready_to_win_more_games_than_we_lose_. html

Final Voting Results for Federalbaseball.com's Poll entitled, "(81-81) in '05, (71-91) in '06, (73-89) in '07? How Many Games Will The Nationals Win In '08?":

http://federalbaseball.com/poll/1199946883_evcFdeRI