Spring Training, Day 15: Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Sometimes, I’m a 10 year old. I could come to Space Coast Stadium five times a year for the next 10 years, and I will never, ever, ever not chuckle and think of Space Ghost when I see the name. Then again, if you ever watched the old Space Ghost Coast to Coast show, you know why. That was great stuff.
I saw the Nats and Braves today and it wasn’t really much of a contest. A not-exactly-Opening-Day lineup thumped an almost-exactly-Opening-Day Nationals lineup, 7-2.
And so it got me to thinking about the nature of baseball, and sample sizes, and stuff like that. We lose sight, far too often, of just how much randomness is built into a baseball game or even a series of baseball games. The lesser team wins a large percentage of the time. We’re so used to football, or even basketball, where upsets are shocking for a reason. In baseball, it’s just not like that.
So you get a game like today, with Ernesto Mejia and Blake DeWitt getting key hits in a Braves win over Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. These things can happen in ANY baseball game, and even more so in a spring game, where guys come out early and you get weird lineups. It just can’t be emphasized enough. Weird things happen in baseball games.
This then got me thinking about the World Baseball Classic, where there was this great rush to assign meaning to three games. The U.S. goes 2-1, so everything is OK, but if it had gone 1-2, it would mean we needed to re-assess everything? This is madness. The difference between winning and losing one baseball game could be any of a thousand things completely divorced from the relative strength of the teams playing it.
Not that they don’t care. Not that the games are meaningless to the people playing in them. Absolutely not. That’s why it’s fun to watch. But as far as something to draw conclusions from? One game, be it in Viera or Phoenix or San Juan, is just one game. Always.
End of sermon.
Today’s game in a nutshell: Stephen Strasburg was dealing, and then he was in trouble, and then he was out of the game, and then it became a rout. Strasburg explained that he’s really working on getting more effective out of the stretch, and it was with runners on that he got in trouble today.
Player of the day: Facing the Nats’ Opening Day Lineup, Paul Maholm was terrific. He pitched five shutout innings with two hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Excellent work.
Quote of the day: “I know there’s a lot of new TV deals that have made that possible. But I don’t know. I barely know the infield fly rule.” — Fredi Gonzalez, on the fact that some different teams have been spending big in free agency in the past couple of years.
Miles driven: 62 today, 1395 for the trip
Starbucks trips: 1 today, 15 for the trip
Up next: I’ll see the Braves again tomorrow, this time at their home ballpark in Greater Disneyburg. I’ll be on columnist duty as they face the Cardinals, with Julio Teheran and Jake Westbrook taking the mound.
And, finally, the playlist:
Johnny Marr’s got a new album out, and it’s pretty good. How ’bout we delve into his career for some highlights?
The Smiths, “What Difference Does It Make?”
The The, “Dogs of Lust”
Electronic, “Feel Every Beat”
Modest Mouse, “Dashboard”
The Cribs, “Ignore the Ignorant”
(man, how great is Johnny Marr’s résumé?)