10.24.2007

The Winner Will Win 4 Games

From the Baseball Crank:

The stage is set...it would be a fool's errand to try to predict this series; Boston is clearly the stronger team, but the Rockies' hot streak is just impossible to project one way or another, plus we have no idea what late-October baseball in Colorado will look like.

I like comments like this because I agree with them. Predicting the outcome of a baseball series is like predicting what the Dow Jones average will be tomorrow. No one has the foggiest idea what it will be and neither is there any way of knowing how the series will come out. Remember last year? I do – all Cardinals fans do. St. Louis wasn’t supposed to beat San Diego, but they did. They sure weren’t supposed to beat the Mets, but they did. And the World Series? This is from the USA Today from Oct. 20 of last year : Prediction The Detroit Tigers' biggest obstacle to a championship will be keeping a straight face. The Tigers in three. (OK, make it four.)

And we all remember how that turned out. Last year was another example, another example in a long list, of the inability of “baseball analysts” to “guess” with much accuracy what the outcome of 4-7 ballgames will yield.

I don’t know how many hundred times I’ve said it, and I’ve now quoted Baseball Crank saying it, so there’s one other sane person in the room, and IT simply is this: nobody has the foggiest idea what will happen between the Red Sox and the Rockies. That’s all.

And you know what? It’s fun that way. But that’s another subject. Having said all that, though, there are some things that you can know generally and look for.

1. You will be surprised by something. Roger Craig said that he saw something he’d never seen before in every ball game. Craig played major league ball for 11 years and managed for 10, not to mention many years on coaching staffs. Saw something new every game. Amazing.

2. Somebody you think will do well, won’t.

3. Someone you are overlooking will come up big.

4. The games tighten in October, generally. So little things (the walk, the error, the extra base, the stolen base, the HBP) are often things you should pay attention to.

That said, how about a list of expectations just to see how many I get wrong. I'll list 10 and we'll see if any of this is correct. I’ll probably miss most of it, which would make my point.

First, (1) I expect that the Rockies winning streak will end. This one’s a little easy, but it also is a case in point. Namely, nobody would have predicted what they’ve done up until now. I think we'll see lots of contributions from (2) Josh Beckett, (3) David Ortiz, (4) Manny Ramirez, (5) Matt Halliday, and (6) and Todd Helton. I think the (7) Red Sox will win in less than 7 games, the (8) Rockies pitching won’t be able to contain the Red Sox lineup, (9) Paplebon will be lights out, and (10) Dice K will continue his unimpressive playoffs.

There, that should do it. Let’s see.

1 comment:

Bob W. said...

There’s much to agree with here, and I say that as being *Far* from a baseball expert. I’m just a casual fan who roots for the home team when I can, and I enjoy a good championship game or World Series.

My youngest daughter reported a few days ago that the upcoming Series was mentioned in her class, and she didn’t know which team would likely win. She wanted to know what I thought. Knowing about the Rockies’ late season streak, and having watched the last two ALCS games on TV, I told her that from what I could tell both teams were very good and it should be a good series. I said I would probably root for the Rockies. (I know people in suburban Denver, and it’s not on the coast – us “flyover country” types ought to stick together.) As for which team is better though, I don’t know; I said “I ought to ask Cousin Mike”.

So here I am, playing on your blog for a while.

Commenting on a few comments…let’s take them top down…

“we have no idea what late-October baseball in Colorado will look like.”

Rumor has it there’s already snow in Denver, for whatever that’s worth.

“2. Somebody you think will do well, won’t.”

I’ve noticed that in baseball, and also in football.

”3. Someone you are overlooking will come up big.”

A player makes say, a grand-slam home run who hasn’t in a long time, if ever. Or a great defensive catch – something beyond what the player thought possible. (Where did That come from?)

Now, a question…I wonder just how much the “home ballpark advantage” will have to do with the outcome. Or it may be more as you say…

“4. The games tighten in October, generally. So little things (the walk, the error, the extra base, the stolen base, the HBP) are often things you should pay attention to.”

As you say, we’ll see.