Grand Slams



Nothing in life is guaranteed, they say. And they’re right, if you’re only talking about good outcomes. But there are a few things guaranteed in life, and they’re all bummer-material. You are guaranteed to die. You are guaranteed to fail at something in your life. You are guaranteed to be (depending on your philosophical view) imperfect.

Yep, that sucks.

But to seemingly compensate, life gives us lots of good probabilities. There are very good chances you will accomplish something in your life. There is a high probability that something will go your way and you will, at least for a short while, consider yourself lucky. Life can be seen as a balancing of these two realities: acknowledging the inevitibility of evil, but hoping for the probability of some sort of good. And every truth about life can be applied to baseball. That’s why we love it so much.

Every year, the ESPN pundits make their predictions about team performance and player performance. And they know up front that they’re all guaranteed to be at least partially wrong. But the probability that they will be right more often than they’ll be wrong is very high because they know their stats and they know player trends and team trends. This is the position in which we find ourselves this year in baseball.

At the beginning of the year, anything is possible, and our hopes are high for our respective teams. Cubs fans believe the end of their curse is coming soon. Cardinals fans believe they’ll repeat. Philly fans believe they’re the best thing since sliced bread. Yankees fans speak with a dumb accent. But are these hopes legitimate? Well, we’re about to find out. The gun has been fired and the teams are out of the gates and racing toward a postseason berth (although it should be noted that the long baseball season is more like a tortoise race where slow persistence and tenacity wins more often than sprinting does).

So what does the first week tell us? Well, we’ve found out quite a few things. And they are:

1) Japan loves baseball

The season opened in Japan and the capacity at the stadium was over 125% full. As Christopher Walken would say, wowie zowie.

2) Being fat doesn’t hurt in baseball.

Exhibit A: Prince Fielder is mashing along with his portly teammate Miguel Cabrera. Both weigh roughly 5 shrimp-boats apiece.

3) Speaking of the Tigers, they wasted no time dominating their opponents. They swept the Red Sox to open the season.

Yeah, the Red Sox.

4) Fantasy Baseball is difficult.

Who would’ve guessed that Omar Infante would have 3 HR before Pujols hit his first? Actually, who would’ve guessed that Infante would hit 3 HR all year?  Ah, but such is the fantasy world, where nothing is as it seems.

5) Ozzie Guillen’s mouth runs whether he coaches in Chi-town or in Miami.

First he said he loved Fidel Castro. Then he remembered what a buffoon he could be (although I love Guillen for all his antics) and has publicly apologized twice in sincere, emotional fashion. The Marlins suspended him for 5 games anyway, but man are they gonna be fun to watch this year!



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