Saturday, April 02, 2011

After Just One Game

The Major League Baseball season is one hundred and sixty-two games long. The old cliche that a baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint, still holds truth. As the season has just begun and only a few teams have played two games and everyone has played once, there is no basis for making projections for the season based on the outcomes of these games. And yet all over Twitter and in quite a few baseball blogs, there are already bombastic statements reading information into a season based on those few games. We've just gotten started folks. As Emperor Kuzko said to Pacha, "Don't read too much into it."

But, if you listen to those around Twitter and in several blogs, you'll believe based on one game that:

  • Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be a bust with the Twins. He made an error and went an unimpressive one for four with a strikeout.
  • Carl Pavano will have a terrible year.
  • J. P. Arencibia is going to be a monster Rookie of the Year candidate.
  • The Blue Jays are going to win 90 games because they have pitching and can crush the ball.
  • The Mariners are going to hit much better this season.
  • Miguel Olivo is a good hitting catcher.
  • Hideki Matsui is too old and washed up. He went hitless on Friday.
  • The Royals are going to have trouble scoring runs. They've only scored four times in the first two games.
  • Vernon Wells is going to stink for the Angels. He's gone one for eight so far.
  • The Orioles have a chance for first place this season.
  • The Bay Rays are not going to be as good as last season.
  • Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are washed up.
  • J. J. Hardy is going to be an All Star shortstop.
  • The Mets are going to lose 90 games. They can't hit and they can't pitch.
  • John Buck is going to show that his year with the Blue Jays was no fluke.
  • Josh Johnson may never lose this season.
  • Juan Miranda of the Diamondbacks is going to be a terrible fielding first baseman.
  • Willie Bloomquist is an All Star.
  • Troy Tulowitzki is overrated.
  • The Diamondbacks have a much better bullpen this year.
  • Ubaldo Jiminez is going to struggle in 2011.
  • Brandon Belt is going to be the Rookie of the Year.
  • Miguel Tejada is going to cost the Giants a lot of runs (The Fan said this too).
  • Buster Posey is going to have to fight the Sophmore Jinx.
  • The Dodgers have a great bullpen.
  • Matt Kemp is going to have a monster season now that Joe Torre is gone.
  • Aubrey Huff is already zero for seven and is already proving that last year was an outliers.
  • Saltalamacchia is a better catcher than Torrealba and the Rangers should have kept him.
  • Julio Borbon isn't a very good fielding center fielder.
  • Michael Young is going to be a terrible DH.
  • Carl Crawford is going to be a bust in Boston.
  • Adrian Gonzalez might have a chance to break Hack Wilson's RBI record.
  • Boston's bullpen is going to be a problem.
  • Adam Dunn is going to hit fifty homers.
  • Carlos Quentin is a legitimate MVP candidate this year.
  • The Indians have horrible pitching.
  • The White Sox bullpen is going to struggle without Bobby Jenks.
  • The Pirates are going to surprise a lot of people.
  • The Cubs will come in last place in the NL Central. 
  • Alphonso Soriano is finished as an effective major league hitter.
  • The Houston Astros need a closer.
  • Jimmy Rollins is going to show everyone that the last three years were a fluke.
  • Brett Myers is going to have another very good season.
  • The Astros are playing too many young guys.
  • Mark Teixeira is not going to have a slow start this season.
  • The Yankees have the best relief pitching in the universe.
  • The Tigers have a terrible bullpen.
  • The Nationals aren't going to hit enough to be relevant. 
  • Axford is going to make the Brewers miss Trevor Hoffman.
  • Albert Pujols is on the downside of his career.
  • Cameron Maybin is finally going to live up to his potential.

The thing is, some of those statements may end up being true. There's a possibility that all of those things may be true. But there is just as much a chance that none of it will prove true. It's a long, long season and one game tells us nothing. One game predicts nothing. If you want to make some of these statements that these things are true after a month or two of the season has gone by, fine. But even then there is danger. The Fan said last year that the White Sox were dead. They then went off a wild winning streak and eventually caught the Twins for a while before fading during the stretch. The Fan said the Reds were dead last year after the Cardinals swept them late in the season to recapture first place. Even that deep into the season, it's difficult at best to predict what will happen.

And so, friends, if your team and your favorite players started off great, hold on because there will be rough roads ahead. If your team or your favorite player went oh for five the first game or lost, then don't lose hope. It's just one game. Hey, the Fan falls into these traps too. In the words of that smarmy song by the Carpenters, "We've only just begun."


Anonymous said...

You've put your finger on the essence of the New York baseball media, which I watched with amusement first hand for the six years I worked and lived there.

Mariano would blow a save and the next day's coverage would be all about how he's washed up, too old, blah blah blah. That was in the mid '00s.

William J. Tasker said...

So true. Sometimes the media is like a teenager believing that things will always be like they are right now.

Thanks for the comment.