(BaseballStL) -- In sports, it's easy to play well when no one expects anything if you. It's easy to say that you get no respect and you're going to show the world why you should.
But playing when everyone expects the world out of you is different. And that's the situation the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in this year heading into 2014. Fresh off a NL title and World Series appearance, the entire baseball world thinks the Cardinals are a lock to win the division again and make another title run.
One would think it's difficult to play under those conditions. Well, one would be right.
"It definitely is hard. It seems like everything you read, everyone you talk to, they all talk about the expectations for our team," pitcher Michael Wacha said. "But we set our expectations high so that's nothing new to us. When we come into camp we expect ourselves to go out there and win."
"We have a lot of expectations on us which really don't matter," manager Mike Matheny said. "The expectations we put on ourselves are higher than anything anyone puts on us. We have enough talent where if we put things together the wins will be a natural byproduct."
The Cardinals also say they have a "target on their back" because they are the National League champions. They know each team is going to give them their best shot much more so than if they were playing someone else.