Analyitics

Monday, July 30, 2012

0.500

It is, of course, very easy to cheer for a team that is at the top of rankings.  And it is perhaps even more exciting to cheer for a team that isn't quite there, but that is making a run for the playoffs. 
And then, there are certain satisfactions to being a fan of a team of lovable losers.  You can complain endlessly around the water cooler.  Any victory, no matter how small, will be an impressive victory.  And when you wear the cap of a losing team proudly, you show just how great of a fan you are.
But the fan of the 0.500 team knows none of these pleasures.  The team may show flashes of brilliance, beating the Yankees two games out of three.  But that enjoyment is tempered by knowing that the team will surely lose the next series, or the series after that, dragging them right back down.  And though your team won't be making the playoffs, nobody sympathizes with your disappointment.  Indeed, it is bad form to even complain, because other teams have it much worse. 
So you plug along, wondering each day if the team will buy, or sell.  Hoping it will be different next year.

5 comments:

  1. It's a good point. You see this a lot in basketball in particular - teams caught in this trap of being good enough to compete for being first round cannon fodder in the playoffs but not bad enough to accumulate enough high-level draft picks so that they can get good players that matter. In other words, you need to get really bad before you can become good. In baseball, it's easier for teams with high payrolls to build good teams... as long as you're not limited by poor contracts. Which is what makes the Lackey and CarlCrawford contracts so infuriating above and beyond the players - it ties the hands of the team when it comes to making other moves. And that's what I see going on with the Sox - they have needs that they can't fill because they are unable or unwilling to spend more cash given their current commitments.

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  2. While I agree that the Red Sox have needs, I don't think they are needs that can be filled by spending more cash.

    In Youk's 29 games with the White Sox, he has accumulated more home runs, more RBIs, and more walks than he managed to in 42 games with the Red Sox. I'm willing to bet that if and when Beckett changes teams, he is suddenly going to start looking like an ace again.

    As I see it, what the Sox have is a cultural failure. One that was at least in part brought on by past spending habits.

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  3. There's that too. It's pretty blatant that the Sox clubhouse is not warm and fuzzy, at least for the guys making the big bucks. But it doesn't seem to be affecting the new guys so much: Middlebrooks, Ross, Nava (until somewhat recently), Ciriaco, Morales, etc. all are performing well. The main problem is that the starting pitching has sucked - and that's where we don't have a lot of flexibility. At least it sounds like today's trade - Albers and Podsednik for LHP Breslow - is to get Morales back into the rotation, which may help a little bit. But your original point still stands: as constructed, the team is average with no quick way out. Remember, next year we get Lackey back!

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  4. bobby v disagrees: http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/story/_/id/8247133/bobby-valentine-thinks-boston-red-sox-playoff-team

    of course, he get's paid to disagree though.

    my question... if they do put together a run and make the playoffs, does that make up for the collapse of last season in your minds?

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