There are few things in this world that confound me more than our obsession with other people’s opinions.
Honestly, why is it that we spend so much time caring if Martin Sheen is anti-war, Dennis Miller is pro-war, or if Leonardo DiCaprio is pro-hazlenut? So what if a reliever having a somewhat surprisingly good year is uncomfortable with guys who like other guys, in a different way. Big deal.
I’m referring, of course, to last week’s comments in the The Denver Post from Rockies pitcher Todd Jones, which read: “I wouldn’t want a gay guy being around me. It’s got nothing to do with me being scared. That’s the problem: All these people say he’s got all these rights. Yeah, he’s got rights or whatever, but he shouldn’t walk around proud. It’s like he’s rubbing it in our face. ‘See me, hear me roar.’ We’re not trying to be close-minded, but then again, why be confrontational when you don’t really have to be?”
Once again, I spent my day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Due to rain and wind, we weren’t able to go out on the track, but we did discover that I will be the one in the car tomorrow morning. We’ll go out at around 200 mph and I’m as scared as I am excited. I’ve seen major league fastballs before, and standing in the pits watching Tora Takagi fly by me at 229 mph was every bit as awe-inspiring. The car rushes down the long straight, sucking up air, whooshes by with 800 horsepower screaming, and then vanishes into a tunnel they call a turn. They’re going to strap me into one of those tomorrow. I’m not sure if I wouldn’t rather face Roger Clemens when he’s cross-eyed and angry.
The Red Sox channel the spirit of Jerry Remy to shake off their sloth-like ways, the Reds ask who’s on third, and the Padres would be nuts to convert Oliver Perez to closer. Plus more news and notes from Boston, Cincy, and San Diego.
Welcome to the third and final instalment of my look at the meaningfulness of the first few dozen games of a team season. (Go back and review Parts 1 and 2 here. There will be a test later.) This final article looks to merge a team’s starting record with its established performance over the past few years, to come up with a formula that most accurately projects its final record based on the available data. Warning: If you thought Part 2 was laden with too many equations, you’re not going to like Part 3 any better.
I ended Part 2 with a projection that the Royals, based on their 17-5 start, are projected to finish with about 97 wins. The folly with that logic should be self-evident, but let me share some evidence with you to make the point a little more clear.
When the Royals’ record reached 13-3, my inner circle of fellow Royals fans finally got serious about questioning whether such a strong start really meant anything in light of the team’s 100-loss season in 2002. I decided to look for comparable teams throughout history that had gotten off to a similar start. Using my database of all teams from 1930 to 1999, I found a total of 75 teams that started the season either 12-4, 13-3, or 14-2. Sixty-three of those teams, or 84%, finished above .500. As a group, they finished with a .545 winning percentage.
But it’s not all roses. Because I then whittled down that group to look only at those teams that had played less than .420 ball the previous season, which corresponds to a 68-94 record or worse.