Before each of the last few baseball seasons members of the Mets and Phillies have lobbed claims of being the "team to beat" back and forth at furious rates. It doesn't matter what happens between April and October, especially to the Mets, because when February rolls around there isn't a better team to be found. At least not on the paper that the speaker is reading from when he makes the not-so-bold proclamation.
Surprisingly, this sort of mindless jabbering appeals to Justin Tuck of the Giants.
"The experience, we have been there and done it," said Tuck. "We know what it takes to get there. No one can deny that the team we had last year was headed that way until we got some injuries here and there, along with distractions. All of that happens for a reason. On paper I think the team to beat is definitely us."
Tuck is about the last guy of all the players in all the teams in all the sports to say something like this. He came to fame during the Giants' Super Bowl run, a run that flew directly in the face of crowning champions on paper. It's almost like hearing a post-Goliath David write off the smaller guy's chances in a fight by saying that size wins every single time. And if that personal experience wasn't enough, he need only look to those aforementioned Mets and their propensity for declaring themselves champions before a single pitch has been thrown for evidence that it isn't the wisest course of action.
Who knows, perhaps Tuck, a Notre Dame grad, merely dipped into the green beer early. Nothing like a day of intense drinking to lead to worthless proclamations of your own fabulousness.