Who, me? Contrary?
So the 2013 schedule came out today. (Well, technically yesterday in the Eastern and Central time zones)
And it’s been dissected and analyzed, and I’m a bit of a schedule geek, so I find that stuff interesting. There’s plenty of it around if you care to take a look. But there’s one thing that came up a few times that I disagree with, and why does one have a blog if not to disagree with conventional wisdom?
There’s an angle, a point a few people have made, about Interleague play in September. About how, for an AL team going on the road in September for Interleague games, there’s a special disadvantage because they’re doing without the DH in the most important games of the year.
And, I mean, when you first hear it, it makes sense. Except there’s a big problem: September games aren’t any more meaningful than any other games. They’re equally important, or maybe even less so.
In a literal sense, every game counts exactly the same. You lose a game, you lose a game. There’s not extra weighting for September games. Unlike, say, college football, where the last games are in fact more important because they have more bearing on the polls. Or college basketball, where a team’s final 10 games are a factor for the tournament committee. In baseball, every game counts the same. One win, one loss. If you start 100-0, then go 0-62, you’re in the playoffs. Start 0-81, finish 81-0, you’re not.
But let’s go a step farther than that. The most important games of the year are almost certainly in July. That’s when a GM shapes what his team will look like over the final two months. Let’s say the Brewers had exactly the same record they do now, but they had five more wins in July and five fewer in August and September. So they were 49-49 on the morning of July 27, and 23-22 since then. Well, they’d have a better team than they do right now, because they probably would still have Zack Greinke.
It’s a credit to them that they’re charging like they are without Greinke, but they’d be better with him in their starting rotation. The Phillies would probably be better with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence.
If you told me a team was going to win N games, say 90, and asked me how I wanted them distributed, I’d want more in July than any other time.
Today’s playlist, btw, is “Twenty-Five For the Rest of Our Lives” by the Henry Clay People. Recommended album.