Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Eating my words: The 2007 Edition

I am the first to admit that I'm an idiot. That is not the kind of claim I make proudly, nor is it the kind of statement I'll make without some factual evidence to back it up. So, for proof, let's look at all the times this season (plus part of last off-season) I've had to eat my words on this blog. Behold:

Gil Meche: I was not sure what I thought of this "Meche" fellow:
Not sure how I feel about this one. This seems to be some big talk for an up-and-down pitcher who's never been in the spotlight before. For $11m a year, he'd better live up to some of that talk. For the moment, I'm still "meh" on him, and that's sad. I want to put all my trust in Dayton Moore, but something about Meche's acquisition and giant contract seems...off. Time will tell.
(From Feb. 17)

In reality, Gil was a quality starter. Maybe he wasn't an "ace" by most ballclubs' standards, but we aren't "most ballclubs." We needed a #1 pitcher like Meche to get us started. He did his part, starting 34 games for a total of 216 IP and a 3.67 ERA. His win-loss record is in no way indicative of his talent as a pitcher, and I'm confident that next year's numbers will be better there.

EDIT: So the problem with being somewhat social is that sometimes my friends come over and interrupt me from writing (the nerve!). The end result is that I publish posts with blanks where Gil Meche's stats need to go. My bad; it's all fixed now, I think.

The Cleveland Indians:

I thought for sure I posted about them before the season started, but apparently I did not. However, I am an honest woman, so I'll confess: I disagreed with baseball analysts who picked Cleveland to win the AL Central. And here they are with a chance to win the entire AL. Color me wrong.

The endurance of Royals starters:
Around the beginning of the season, I stated with great confidence that a number of Royals starters could -- nay, WOULD -- pitch complete games:
Could any of them go the distance...? My answer: a definite YES. Gil Meche and Zack Greinke will both have complete game wins before the All-Star break. I think that [Odalis] Perez could do it too, but it will take him a little longer.
Ha! None of those fellows gave the team a complete game. In fact, only once did a Royals player go all the way: Brian Bannister on August 17. For the record, I was correctly excited about his acquisition.

So there you have it: scientific proof that I can, in fact, be a complete idiot. But it happens to the best of us; even the great Joe Posnanski (who, if you didn't catch this sooner, is blogging again!) does this occasionally. It happens. But the way I see it, things like this create some amount of job security for sports writers.

If stats were the sole indicator of how a baseball team or well-paid new pitcher would perform, then why play? The Yankees would win every World Series, Paul Byrd would not have started over C.C. Sabathia, and Gil Meche would not have scored the big-money contract that made him the Royals' ace. That's the beauty of baseball, though. No matter what happens, and no matter how many games we've seen, and no matter how much we think we know, we can always be proven wrong. Every team and every game provide some writer the opportunity to make a bold prediction, and the opportunity to have his words fed back to him after the game. And even if it means looking like an idiot after almost every prediction I make, I wouldn't trade that beautiful mystery of baseball for anything.

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