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USA Today: Nats are 'most-hated' team in baseball

From afterthought to laughingstick to despised?

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Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Sometimes, it is a good thing in sports to be hated. The outward despising of a rival is more often than not a symptom of a number of internal problems, like envy or subconscious acknowledgement of inferiority or weakness. That, at least, is the positive spin Nationals fans can take after reading this piece by USA Today's Bob Nightengale

The Nationals might have been the most compelling story this summer, but suddenly they've become the most hated team in the game.

"If we don't win the World Series, I don't care who does," one general manager told USA TODAY Sports, "as long as it's not those guys.

"They don't deserve to win it. Not after what they did."

Of course, this is about Stephen Strasburg. It always will be about Stephen Strasburg. And it's understandable. It would have taken a very strong personality to stick to a predetermined plan even as it became clear that the Nationals were going to outstrip everyone's wildest expectations for them this year. Mike Rizzo happens to be that strong personality. But there's also an element of "who dares wins" here. What is Strasburg had started Game 2, for instance? We'll never know. But some clearly feel the Nationals should have sent their best rotation out for this season and this series. They didn't, and for better and for worse, they'll take the consequences.