On Timing


The baseball season is kind of like moving into a new apartment. When you first get there, everything looks clean and nice. It even smells great. You can imagine everything you want in that space, and there’s no thought of ever leaving. It’s filled with possibility and you make a promise to your self to make it a great space for you to live.

Then, in a couple of weeks, you start to notice things. Unsettling things. Like the smell of mildew under the sink, or how the floor slopes to the southwest in the living room. You can’t for the life you hang any of your pictures straight and you hope your guests never see the weird discoloring in the tub. You’ve been sold a lemon.

Of course this is a perfectly natural thing to think. It’s part of the strange human condition we all encapsulate in these modern times. It’s perfectly natural to feel this way about your apartment, if only slightly neurotic.

The baseball season is the same way – everything starts out with joyous, youthful optimism. Then something happens: the season actually starts. The Brewers lose. Then they lose again. And you start to worry – is there something wrong with my team? Is there anyway to come back from what’s happening right now? Am I being completely neurotic?

Yes. Yes you are.

The motivation that led to me to writing this article is fairly simple. On one hand I have the daily course of conversation about the Brewers. Friends, family, and strangers on the street all seem to agree that the Brewers are playing poorly right now and there needs to be serious realignment done. Then you have the media on the other, which likes to point out that the last time your team started with such-and-such a record, they finished in such-and-such a place in the standings. ESPN actually asked which team from the AL West had the best shot to get into the World Series yesterday.

The baseball season is 13 games old.

All of this early forecasting had me worrying a little, if I can be honest. When I get worried, I generally peruse the internet for information because, well, some of it has to be correct. I took a look at the records of every post-season team for the last three years, just to see if there was any kind of correlation as to how the teams stacked up based on their first 13 games. Here’s what I found:

Basically the only thing I could come up with is that in order to make the playoffs, you need to play your first thirteen games. So forgive me if I have a hard time looking back on better starts, missing free agents, or complaining about a team’s record at 6-7. We’re three games back in a division race that won’t begin in earnest for another 68 games at least. We’re just getting started and successful teams have had far worse starts than Brewers and turned out fine.

Mark Kotsay has the 10th best batting average in the league right now – I think I can rest my case for worrying about the beginning of the season.

There’s nothing to be concerned about, as far as I’m concerned. This team is talented, and the small mistakes that are costing them games for now will be figured out. They will start hitting, the pitching will settle down, and the Brewers will get hot. We can talk about this again at the end of May, but until then, I’m not moving.

But then again, if you do want something to worry about, here’s a picture from the Brewers Clubhouse: