We've noted before the lack of fact-checking by Yahoo! game preview writers. That was a month and a half ago, and you would think that an additional six weeks of non-historically bad play from the Nationals would be enough to finally quell this ignorant conception, right? No, not right.
A brand new expert showed a lack of respect for facts or adequate research in describing the Nationals as "lowly" in his preview of last night's game against the NL East-leading Mets. The word "lowly" is fraught with too many desperately negative implications to accurately apply to Manny's bunch. "Lowly" screams "perpetual awfulness", "hopelessness", "no chance of ever going anywhere." That none of these describe the Nats is self-evident. That this "lowly" bunch then went out and smacked the gearing-up-for-a-playoff-cameo Mets 13-4 is another strike against this characterization.
However, this story needn't end with another permanent brand of an "expert" as an optimism-hater. For you see, the expert here in question, Nicolino Di Benedetto, has, in today's Mets-Nats preview, upgraded the Nationals from "lowly" to "bothersome." Here, now, is a label worth considering. While "bothersom" doesn't exacly convey the 'tismy positive vibes of even the backhandedly complimentary "overachieving" does, it says something accurate about this team. They won't go away. They have refused to go to their expertly decreed place of 120 losses, 110 losses, 100 losses, and perhaps ultimately 90 losses. They haven't allowed division champion hopefuls to coast through them on a late-season warm-up for the post-season.
So yes, perhaps they are "bothersome." Perhaps also Di Benedetto is starting to see something his fellow reviewer did not: that the Nats are worthy of more than a simple glance at the standings might reveal.