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Revisiting Opening Day media predictions on the Nats

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Revisiting Opening Day media predictions on the Nats

I've often said it's important that we as sportswriters be held accountable for what we write. We ask players and managers to be accountable for their performance. It's only right that we hold ourselves to the same standard.

Which makes this day-after-the-season tradition one of the more enjoyable -- albeit embarrassing -- posts of the year.

You may recall back on Opening Day when I and eight of my counterparts who cover the Nationals made our season predictions. Well, it's time to revisit those predictions and see how we did. (Hint: We didn't do nearly as well in 2012 as the Nationals did.)

As an added bonus, I'm also including my Opening Day predicted standings, postseason results and major award winners. Yeah, I'd like to have a few of those back, too.

Enjoy, and try not to mock us too much...

2012 OPENING DAY MEDIA PREDICTIONS

Who will represent the Nats at the All-Star Game?
Mark Zuckerman (CSNwashington.com) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann
Adam Kilgore (Washington Post) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jayson Werth
Dave Sheinin (Washington Post) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
Amanda Comak (Washington Times) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
Bill Ladson (MLB.com) -- Ryan Zimmermann, Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond
Dan Kolko (MASNsports.com) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg
Pete Kerzel (MASNsports.com) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzalez
Brian McNally (Washington Examiner) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg
Craig Heist (WTOP) -- Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann
WINNER: Ladson was the only one to get Desmond right (though I suppose we could raise the technicality that Desmond never actually represented the Nats AT the game). Zuckerman, Kilgore, Kolko and McNally got Strasburg right. Nobody had Gio.

What will total home attendance be?
Bill Ladson -- 3,000,000
Amanda Comak -- 2,745,670
Brian McNally -- 2,700,000
Craig Heist -- 2,550,000
Mark Zuckerman -- 2,368,914
Dan Kolko -- 2,280,000
Dave Sheinin -- 2,313,753
Adam Kilgore -- 2,226,652
Pete Kerzel -- 2,099,631
WINNER: Actual attendance was 2,379,794, so the winner is me, missing by only 10,880. If only I could put my attendance savant skills to something of actual significance.

When will Bryce Harper make his MLB debut?
Pete Kerzel -- May 6 vs. Phillies
Adam Kilgore -- May 17 vs. Pirates
Brian McNally -- May 25 at Braves
Craig Heist -- May 27 at Braves
Bill Ladson -- June 1 vs. Braves
Mark Zuckerman -- June 19 vs. Rays
Amanda Comak -- June 19 vs. Rays
Dan Kolko -- June 20 vs. Rays
Dave Sheinin -- July 6 vs. Rockies
WINNER: Harper debuted on April 28, so Kerzel came closest, missing by 8 days.

How many home runs will Harper hit in the majors this season?
Craig Heist -- 13
Adam Kilgore -- 12
Pete Kerzel -- 12
Mark Zuckerman -- 11
Amanda Comak -- 11
Bill Ladson -- 10
Dan Kolko -- 9
Brian McNally -- 7
Dave Sheinin -- 7
WINNER: Harper hit 22 homers, so nobody actually came close, but Heist came closest.

How many strikeouts will Stephen Strasburg record?
Brian McNally -- 180
Mark Zuckerman -- 177
Bill Ladson -- 177
Dave Sheinin -- 165
Adam Kilgore -- 155
Craig Heist -- 150
Amanda Comak -- 147
Pete Kerzel -- 142
Dan Kolko -- 140
WINNER: Strasburg struck out 197 batters, so McNally was closest, missing by 17.

What will Jayson Werth's batting average be?
Bill Ladson -- .290
Pete Kerzel -- .287
Amanda Comak -- .273
Brian McNally -- .272
Craig Heist -- .270
Mark Zuckerman -- .268
Dan Kolko -- .268
Adam Kilgore -- .265
Dave Sheinin -- .264
WINNER: Werth finished right at .300, a surprise to everyone but Ladson.

How many home runs will Michael Morse hit?
Mark Zuckerman -- 28
Amanda Comak -- 28
Brian McNally -- 26
Adam Kilgore -- 23
Craig Heist -- 23
Dan Kolko -- 21
Pete Kerzel -- 21
Bill Ladson -- 20
Dave Sheinin -- 18
WINNER: Sheinin hit this one right on the money. He gets to spin the big wheel again for a chance at 10,000.

What will Ian Desmond's on-base percentage be?
Bill Ladson -- .360
Amanda Comak -- .326
Brian McNally -- .325
Pete Kerzel -- .325
Craig Heist -- .320
Mark Zuckerman -- .318
Dave Sheinin -- .315
Adam Kilgore -- .314
Dan Kolko -- .310
WINNER: Desmond set a career-high with a .335 OBP. Comak came closest at .326.

How many games will Adam LaRoche play for the Nationals?
Pete Kerzel -- 132
Adam Kilgore -- 130
Bill Ladson -- 130
Mark Zuckerman -- 127
Dan Kolko -- 125
Craig Heist -- 110
Brian McNally -- 98
Amanda Comak -- 91
Dave Sheinin -- 31
WINNER: Nobody predicted LaRoche would play in as many as 154 games, but Kerzel was the closest at 132.

Who will lead the pitching staff in wins? How many?
Bill Ladson -- Jordan Zimmermann, 20
Dan Kolko -- Gio Gonzalez, 17
Amanda Comak -- Gio Gonzalez, 17
Mark Zuckerman -- Jordan Zimmermann, 16
Brian McNally -- Jordan Zimmermann, 16
Dave Sheinin -- Jordan Zimmermann, 16
Craig Heist -- Jordan Zimmermann, 16
Adam Kilgore -- Jordan Zimmermann, 15
Pete Kerzel -- Jordan Zimmermann, 14
WINNER: Gonzalez beat everyone's expectations with 21 wins. Kolko and Comak had him leading the staff, but with only 17 wins.

How many games will Drew Storen save?
Dave Sheinin -- 40
Amanda Comak -- 39
Mark Zuckerman -- 37
Dan Kolko -- 34
Brian McNally -- 32
Pete Kerzel -- 31
Bill Ladson -- 30
Adam Kilgore -- 28
Craig Heist -- 28
WINNER: Nobody. Storen saved 4 games. Even if we counted the postseason, he can't finish with any more than 15, which is still nowhere close to the lowest prediction.

How many games will the Nats win?
Pete Kerzel -- 88
Adam Kilgore -- 87
Dan Kolko -- 87
Brian McNally -- 87
Amanda Comak -- 86
Bill Ladson -- 85
Craig Heist -- 85
Mark Zuckerman -- 84
Dave Sheinin -- 83
WINNER: The Nats proved us all wrong, winning an MLB-best 98 games. Kerzel came closest at 88.

MARK ZUCKERMAN'S OPENING DAY MLB PREDICTIONS
NL EAST
1. Phillies
2. Marlins
3. Nationals
4. Braves
5. Mets

NL CENTRAL
1. Brewers
2. Reds
3. Cardinals
4. Pirates
5. Cubs
6. Astros

NL WEST
1. Giants
2. Diamondbacks
3. Dodgers
4. Rockies
5. Padres
-Wild-card winners

NL WILD-CARD GAME: Reds over Diamondbacks
NLDS: Giants over Reds, Brewers over Phillies
NLCS: Giants over Brewers
NL MVP: Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson, Marlins
NL Rookie of the Year: Drew Pomeranz, Rockies

AL EAST
1. Rays
2. Yankees
3. Red Sox
4. Blue Jays
5. Orioles

AL CENTRAL
1. Tigers
2. Indians
3. Royals
4. White Sox
5. Twins

AL WEST
1. Rangers
2. Angels
3. Mariners
4. Athletics
-Wild-card winners

AL WILD-CARD GAME: Angels over Yankees
ALDS: Tigers over Angels, Rays over Rangers
ALCS: Tigers over Rays
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
AL Cy Young: Jered Weaver, Angels
AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Moore, Rays

WORLD SERIES: Tigers over Giants

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year

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Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals' Dusty Baker thinks Washington teams are positioned to win a championship this year

Nationals manager Dusty Baker is back for a second year and feeling optimistic for his Washington team. Spring training has begun in Florida and it has Baker thinking about how the Nats can create some excitement for local sports fans.

In an interview with American University’s WAMU radio station, Baker said D.C. wants to be a "city of champions.” Furthermore, he thinks it can be pulled off before the year ends.

"I came here to win a championship and you know I would love nothing more than to bring one to Washington. Washington, I didn’t know it before I got there, but it’s had a tough time getting out of the first round in a number of sports."

He projected the Nationals to bring home the next championship for the District, but he knows they have competition of late. 

"Washington Wizards are looking pretty good. I’m pulling for them first because their season ends before ours, so I’ve been really following them. The Capitals have a good thing going. I started watching the Redskins more this year.

"You know once it gets contagious in a city and you get a positive attitude throughout the city, then it transfers to the sports teams. So we want to be known as a city of champions, before the end of the year hopefully."

Baker has a reputation for bringing out the best in his teams, especially managing star players. He managed the San Francisco Giants for ten seasons before moving on to the Chicago Cubs, a team he managed for four seasons.

He's never won a World Series, but has taken a team to Game 7. He also finished third for the 2016 National League Manager of the Year award.

So, what are Baker’s steps for the Nationals to get that ultimate prize? A simple formula, really.

"I think that we’ve got to stay healthy, number one. We’re trying to fill the holes that we need to fill, and we’ve got to play," he said. "You know last year we were very close, we were one hit away or one play away or one pitch away from going to the next round against the Cubs."

While he says he came to win Washington a championship, he's also enjoying his time in the city. 

"I love D.C. Before that, San Francisco was my favorite town; that’s my home. But I tell you, D.C. is definitely in the running," he said. "I thought San Francisco had the best seafood, but man, you guys have the best seafood I think in the world."

Thanks, Dusty!

The Nationals play their first spring training game against the New York mets on Saturday.

RELATED: NATIONALS REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE