Monday, April 03, 2006
Today at 3, the Cardinals and the Phillies are going to kickoff the 2005 season with a game at Citizens Bank Ballpark. At the end of the day one team is going to be 1-0, and another is going to be 0-1. There will be 161 other games this year, rending the outcome of today's game virtually (although not entirely) meaningless. Last year the Astros lost to the Cards 7-3 on Opening Day and went on to win 89 games and go to the World Series. The game was hardly emblematic of their season and it hardly set any "tone" either. The 'Stros took a loss, shook it off and came back.
Personal achievement is the only thing really at stake at Jimmy Rollins seeks to run his consecutive game hit streak to 37.
I'd state that how you open a season is unimportant, unless you drive yourself into a hole so deep that you can't get out of it. And even then, nothing is out of the question. I point to the 2001 Oakland A's. As late as July 5th, just a few days before the All-Star Break, the A's had a losing record: 41-43, twenty games behind the Seattle Mariners (61-23) in the AL West and nine games behind the Boston Red Sox for the wildcard. The A's caught fire and proceeded to run off a 61-17 record (.782 winning percentage) to win 102 games, finish second and make the playoffs as a wildcard. That, despite dropping (badly) 10 if their first 12 games to the season. The '01 A's are an extreme example, but a good one, of how the opening to a season is fairly unimportant. Until June 1, the season is pretty meaningless.
The most important days of the baseball year are July 31st (trading dead-line) and the final day of the season. What team you take into the stretch run and where you end up are the most important things. Baseball becomes magical in the mid-summer when the season starts taking shape and when you can relax in the stands, eat a badly over-priced hot dog, and remember other lazy summer days from your youth.
So enjoy Opening Day, Phillies fans. I'll check on the score tonight before I go to bed. I just want to see J.Roll get a hit.
other than that, I think that opening day is fantastic and deserves all of the fanfare it can get.
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