It’s May Day! May Day! Which can only mean one thing!
I don’t know. Who really celebrates May Day in the strictest sense? If you’re like most people, you hear it as one word and think PANIC! Particularly, like the type in the movie Airplane.
May 1st elicits a lot of questioning, like “It’s May? Aren’t there supposed to be 31 days in April?” Being this deep into hockey and basketball playoffs, coupled with Mel Kiper’s 78th mock NFL draft, you always wonder how this much baseball has already gone by.
Today marks one month into Dodger season, which coincides with the formal celebration of “Snap Judgement Day”. It’s actually three holidays wrapped into one. Think Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa all occurring on the same day. There are three ardent denominations that come out of the woodwork for this holiday. You may not know them by appearance alone, but they will approach you at home, work or religious place of practice to spread their gospel when you’re least prepared.
As for me, I’m not religious enough to actively place in any one of these sects, but with fans this passionate, it’s hard not to turn your head. Let’s look what each are proselytizing so we can identify who will have the right to say “I told you so” this October. By default.
Do you kneel with Tommy Lasorda on a daily basis to pray to the Great Dodger in the Sky? Then you are among the most fervent zealots waiting to get into Blue Heaven.
There’s no middle ground. You’re either a believer or a HATER working against the cause. Tread lightly.
The Pumpers will point to their 15-12 record as an incredible sign of optimism! So much so that they’ve already crafted their sick day excuses to see Vin Scully parading down Figueroa. Why not? The signs are all there!
The team survived 16,000 miles of travel, daily interviews about their best Australian accent and keeping Yasiel Puig to under 100 mph on most days. The pitching staff has been the best in the division before they add back the best pitcher in the league(not Chad Billingsley). There’s been a Josh Beckett sighting involving low scores outside of a golf course. Even Dan Haren and Brandon League have navigated through some wormholes to be effective pitchers again.
Even the hitters have a lot of promise. The team is in the middle of the league for runs scored despite the injuries and setbacks. Adrian Gonzalez is as productive of a hitter as he is untalkative. Dee Gordon has finally converted on all that potential since we traded for him from the Expos(maybe I’m thinking about Delino DeShields). The only thing that has slowed Hanley down is his paternal instinct to protect his bat from errant pitches. Ethier and Crawford have both been off to slow starts, but at least one of them should turn it around. It all points to the first championship since 1988! And no more losses! All is well!
If you’ve ever overheard someone complain about Scioscia coaching the Angels or LoDuca being jettisoned Moneyball style, then these are the people who have already prepared their Panic Room.
To them, the Dodger’s winning record is a House of Cards flimsier than Kevin Spacey starring in K-Pax. The outfield is overpaid, underperforming and disinterested in making regular contact during plate appearances. The defense can’t get to the ball and when they land on it, the baseball turns into hot potato.
Puig has already hit his Mondesi ceiling, both as a player and enigma. The pitchers are hitting better than the catchers. Uribe is only another buffet away from a slump and Dee Gordon’s skinny frame will dwindle to Nicole Richie proportions if he makes it through a full season. Kemp has the exciting potential to get so many new injuries.
Coletti filled the back part of the pitching staff with cost friendly rejects without understanding that they are rejects. The team is holding Kershaw back to sell minor league tickets before they announce his pending Tommy John surgery.
Don Mattingly doesn’t know how to manage and you can never take him seriously until he grows back that gorgeous moustache! Magic will turn Guggenheim’s attention to the Clippers and McCourt will somehow assume control of the Dodgers! Doom!
The Knights who say Nate Silver
Full disclosure: I used to be a frequent parishioner at the church of sabermetrics, but it finally wore me out. There’s so much data out there that it’ll bend your mind. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, “You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of people know that!”
Can you explain the difference between metrics and advanced metrics? Predicted_PBWB? RANKWXRL? FRAR2? Does having a grasp of any of these stats make you feel like you’re building a championship team? I can’t believe people call me old fashioned for referencing OPS!
If you factor in PECOTA, the Dodgers have the best chance of winning the world series. Go to ESPN and they’ll tell you they’re only a middle of the pack team.
You have to be careful with this group. Unlike the other factions, you don’t find them, they find you. When you say things like, “Zack Greinke is looking very good this season,” you’ll notice them snicker behind your back. Give them a cross look and they’ll hack into your computer.
The best thing to do is just stand there and let them say their peace. They’ve kept this information pent up for a long time and have been waiting to share it. At the appropriate time, bring up the Cosmos reboot. Then mention Seth MacFarlane produced it. It might give you enough of a segway to talk about something else or run while they’re fetching their telescope.
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To the rest of us, there’s still five months left in the season. A lot can happen in that time. Is that reason enough to prognosticate? Sure. There’s a whole industry behind it.
There’s good reason to why baseball has been named our national pastime. The word itself suggests you are partaking in something leisurely. You can’t watch whole game with the intensity of a hundred yard dash. The game is five hours long(with Beckett pitching)!
Instead, I look forward to going to a game to relax. To take in the sun. Read the program. Talk with some friends. Turn on the radio to enjoy every word out of Vin Scully’s mouth. Sip a cold one while enjoying the view of the San Gabriel Mountains. And every once in a while notice who’s on the on deck circle.
It’s almost summer. You can appreciate every moment without feeling any pressure. It’s baseball. Seventy-two percent of people know that.