We are just about a week into the season and the Angels are off to a disappointing start. All the stats tell us that over the course of the season, this team will be just fine. After all, its not like we are losing games 1-0 like we did last year and there is no reason to think that we will keep giving up 10 runs a game. Jered Weaver and Dan Haren will end up with great stats by the end of the season, Albert Pujols will hit home runs and bat over .300 and this team will win more than 50% of its games.
However, the team blowing leads in two consecutive games and starting the season 2-4 sends my human mind in chicken little mode... think "OMG!!1!! ThE SkYZ's FaLLInGZ!!!!! Albert Pujols is a flameout, Kendrick forgot how to hit, Weaver and Haren are flops and our bullpen is crap!!!!" After all, if they continued on this pace, the team would finish 54 and 108. Yikes!
But this is what makes baseball a great sport. Unlike other sports, this is a season that ensures each team will have slumps and will have periods of dominance. Even the Houston Astros who won just 56 games put together two 5 game winning streaks last year. Just about every team will win 60 games and lose 60 games over the season.
It is this unique aspect of baseball that makes the sport so exciting for us to watch and leads us to feel a part of the team. It is a season where things that seem nearly impossible happen. From the miracle of a 500 foot trumbomb to the simple fact that a few games a year a guy like Jeff Mathis can get a hit, it is this unpredictability that makes baseball so exciting and connects us with the game.
While our heads analyze the stats and come to the conclusion that Albert Pujols must be more machine than man, our hearts make us believe in the power of lucky jerseys, rally monkeys and a myriad of other superstitions that we are convinced can bring success to our favorite players, extend a winning streak and push our team towards a championship.
I love baseball for this reason. There is always a chance; from the great end of the season collapses to the unexpected heroes and 9th inning comebacks, baseball more than any other sport gives you hope until the last out and gives you a reason to believe. It leads us to believe that if we turn our hats inside out, make a rally monkey dance and hope for a comeback we might be rewarded with something magical. Regardless of what the stats might tell us about tendencies, abilities and probability, there is always the chance for magic when the lights are on at the ball field.