Monday, 9 June 2008

Off the ledge, buddy

This must be how conspiracy nuts feel. Too often I feel like I'm the only one who can see things rationally and yet I can't just unsee it simply because the great majority seem to be seeing something else. Sometimes even folks I normally agree with a lot are not seeing it my way either and that just makes it worse.

I'm talking, of course, about the persistent temptation among many to be horribly crushed and disappointed about a temporary reversal in the teams fortunes. After a May that should be the inspiration for poems and songs right now, the Jays have a few reversals at the beginning of June and all the anxiety and depression of late April is back as if it never left.


This particular rough week is little more than an accident of scheduling. As much as one always has a spot of emotionalism after a loss, and more so after a surprise loss of a game you were winning, it is still an overreaction, taken as a whole. Consider this: you take ANY good team in the league - White Sox, D'Rays*, Red Sox, whoever - you send them out to Anaheim to play the LAAoA for three games and what is, on average, the usual result? Win one, lose two. Take any team in the league and send them to NY to play the Skankies for three games and what is the expected result? Lose at least twice.

That, my friends, is EXACTLY what the jays did. they gave us the usual ordinary average typical outcome of 2-4 on those six games. That they did it in heart-rending fashion is emotionally significant but doesn't cost us any extra in the standings than if we had lost in a more lack-luster fashion. In fact, I would submit that we ought to be impressed the jays played so well for most of two other games that they stood such a good chance of outperforming the rational expectation. Beating up on Wang is a good thing even if Giambi managed to pull his fat out of the fire.

Furthermore, when you host pretty much anyone in baseball for three games, on average you are going to lose one of those three. Statistically, it's the "normal" outcome. We lost two of them to Baltimore and all of us have a right to be throughly disgusted with Friday night's loss. But, that said, the reality of June is that in the 7 games we have played, we could reasonably have been expected to lose 4 of them, and we lost 5 instead.

Big. Fat. Hairy. Deal.

When are people going to learn to take a long term perspective on a long season and not get so wiped out by the occasional unexpected loss? There will be unexpected wins along the way too (like sweeping the first place ChiSox in a 4 game set, or winning 2 of 3 from a hot Phillies team) so please, people, off the fucking ledge already.

*Yes, i said D'Rays by golly. Devil-fucking-Rays. Since they changed their names they have been playing well so, ya know, fuck the name change. I, for one, intend to re-establish the Devil's Curse by calling them the DEVIL Rays until they start playing in the grand tradition of Devil Rays baseball.

P.S. Johnny? I don't know about everyone else but if you are gonna post a skin pic I expect to see female flesh, capiche? Even that somewhat padded gal from earlier in the year is a considerable improvement over your choice. Work on that, eh?



eyebleaf said...

ppl like me get all fucked up over these losses because just a week ago we were 5 games above .500 and seemingly ready to make our move...and now we're right back to that darned .500 level...

stagnation bothers me. i just want to close the gap and move into the upper echelon of teams, because i know this team is better than our record right now.

johnny said...

I get my knickers in a twist b/c I feel like this is the year they should be all in, balls to the fucking walls, because the Yankees appear relatively weak and the Rays are only getting stronger. To not Dombrowski up and get that one or two players that take you from average+/good to awesome just burns my brisket. Alex Rios and Aaron Hill are young players in first half slumps, but Shannon Stewart's continued unemployment just isn't acceptable when you've got Adam Lind in the mix.

I've only seen one streaker before, at a CFL game in Ottawa. When you see a dude's weiner twirling in a helicopter motion from the wind currents because he's running full speed, it's hard to know whether to laugh or groan. I go with the former.

The Southpaw said...

That's why I said it was an accident of scheduling. If that Angels series had been buried in the middle of a great may, no one would have thought anything of it. The fact that we had road series against the Angels and Yanks in back to back series creates the optical illusion of regression.

But I don't think we have regressed. ESPECIALLY when the disappointing losses came at the expense of what had, until now, been the most reliable part of our team. Yes, this team is not as close to first as it was a week ago, but it's also gone - even with the bad week - from six under to 1 over in the span of 40 games. We shouldn't forget that. Johnny mentioned being 9 or 10 over or so for the first half and with our soft schedule in June that's still entirely possible.

If we play the next 30 games through to the break at the same pace we have played since May 1, we'll be 51-44. Is seven over a huge disappointment when you wanted 9?

That's not to say I disagree about Lind, or about dealing for Bay or someone - I do.
But I also realize that we have played damn good ball, on the whole, for 40 days and that without our supposed "breakout star" doing a damn thing, our highest paid "best player" on the DL most of the time, our highly regarded second basemen having turned into an Eckstien clone, and Brad F'n Wilkerson in the lineup every day.

If we played this well for this long with that many reason why we shouldn't, WHY would I NOT be full of expectation when those things change (and I do assume Rios and Hill will get hot at some point which I think is reasonable)?

eyebleaf said...

being 7 over instead of 9, sure i won't be bitching much...but in this state, i just don't see happening. seattle's what, 19 games under .500, and we're making em look like a pretty good ballclub through 4 innings tonight...

i actually supported the decision to send lind down earlier...but i've come around to you guys...if we're going to be a .500 team (until we get to 7-10 over .500 we are IMO a .500 team)...i'd rather be a .500 team with adam lind than a .500 team with shannon stewart/kevin mench/brad wilkerson...what's the point of him being in the minors anymore, and yo-yo-ing inglett back and forth?

i can only sense something nefarious. what else?

fucked up man. fucked up.

eyebleaf said...

twice we had the bases juiced in the 10th...and we couldn't deliver...that, my friends, is our season in a nutshell

The Southpaw said...

I found tonight's game disgusting and disheartening with no redeeming value at all. It looked like something out of the last half of April but, AGAIN, I have to point out that it is ONE GAME. We played good ball for a solid month, doing all those things people complain we can't do (including hitting w/RISP) and so, no, I must disagree. tonight's game was NOT typical of our whole season so far - it was typical of the worst part of our that transpired six weeks ago.

the fact that we laid down and died in a game that we had every right to win doesn't change all the things I have said before. Rios still won't hit this bad all year, nor will Hill, etc, etc.

But this game IS a microcosm of Jays fandom....far to many will take their ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED disgust with tonight's game and assume it's a justification for writing off the team as being nothing more than what we saw tonight.

eyebleaf said...

it's tough man, it's tough...i know we were good in may...but we're about half-way through june and we're still just a .500 team...that's the bottom line...not when hill and rios break out, although rios looked great tonight, but the record is what it is...and we can't hide from it...the fact that have a decent average as a team and a decent obp yet can't score any runs, yes, i would say that is our season so far...that is the main problem...

i'm not writing off the team...nor am i saying this is what they will be for the rest of the season...but the problem has been driving in runs when guys are on base, and that was never more evident than in tonight's 10th inning