I have noticed something intriguing this baseball season. And maybe it happens every year. Or maybe it is more noticable to me because I've never been the fan of a champion baseball team. But it seems to me that a lot of people are letting a few baseball games carry a lot of weight. I can't tell you how many people have asked me what is wrong with my White Sox. Or worried about our chances to repeat. Or complained about their own team so early on. Or gloated because there team has a better record than the defending champs. This seems odd to me. There have been 8 games.
Now, I am no scientist, but it doesn't make sense to me to project how the whole season will go based on less than ten games. I had a Detroit Tigers fan e-mailing me early this week with much gloating about his team sitting at 5-1. Well, that's great but I don't care how they are doing after 6 games. Talk to me after 162. Or even 60. Give me a better research sample here. I am betting the Tigers will not win 135 games this season (which is what their 5-1 pace indicated). In fact, going by only the current numbers, this is what we could all expect this year:
Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman getting 326 strikeouts.
Atlanta's Oscar Villarreal winning 60 games.
Cleveland winning 135 games
The Phillies winning 23 games.
Bronson Arroyo hitting more than 30 homeruns.
Jim Thome belting 100-plus homeruns (this one might actually happen...)
The thing about making too much of stats right now is that every team will have a 5-1 stretch this season. But because it comes in the first 6 games, we get excited? Every team will lose 4 of 6 games this season. But because a team starts the season with that run, it means a team is worthless? No. That's why I scoffed when the Chicago Sun-Times last weekend ran the headline "From First to Worse" about the Sox. After 6 games. And while I wasn't exactly pleased that the Royals beat the Sox twice already, I had to stop and think "Well, they are bound to get two wins from us this season...that may be it." (Of course, the other thought is that maybe the Royals are just THAT good...but, of course, that is just lunacy.)
You just can't tell from less than 25 games how a team will do because the baseball season is long and unpredicatble. In fact, National League Central fans may be worried right now about the three teams tied at 5-2. But I'd be worried about the Pirates. The last time they started 0-6, they won the World Series. The beautiful thing about baseball is that anything can happen.
So, am I saying that you can't tell anything from the first couple of weeks of the season? That nothing should bother you or excite you? Heck no. There are individual performances right now to take note of--either good or bad--and look for trends. For instance, Ozzie Guillen is playing two bench guys an awful lot already. That could be a worrisome precedent. Jim Thome is hitting a homer almost every game. That's exciting. And Scott Podesednick is looking to still be hurting. That could be bad. These are indicators to take note of.
But letting the Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers just play out the World Series now is not quite the way to go.