As much as we tell ourselves not to put labels on things, not to make assumptions just because that’s the way things have gone before, it still is something that is done far too often, especially in baseball. Such actions and observations have become commonplace in the sports world, from members of the media as much as the fans. That’s not to say that history and/or trends don’t play out the way they have before, it’s just that they have become too convenient of an option to employ at the first sign of some success or distress.
The recent 2-5 road swing by the Rockies became an omen for the easily discouraged (or can I say negative) followers of the ballclub that it was the beginning of the end for their chances in 2014. History tells us that the month of May has not been kind to the Rockies through the years. The .434 winning percentage is the lowest for any month. 10-18 in 2012 and 12-16 last year get the naysayers to bleat that it’s getting ready to happen again. Heading into the Tuesday game with the Giants, the Rockies are 9-7 for May, and that includes that recent trip. What’s going to play out for the remaining 11 games this month is anybody’s guess, history or otherwise, so let’s not get so caught up in a bad stretch being the indication of what’s next. By the way, in 2 of the three seasons that the Rockies have made the postseason, they have had a record under .500 for the month of May.
The same can be said for individual players. The label ‘superstar’ is placed on people much too quickly, and then just as quickly snatched away when the player doesn’t live up to the standards expected after a brief sample of his talents. More of a problem, in my opinion, is the dismissal of a player as being washed up, or having diminishing skills, because the numbers don’t add up to a level of performance he enjoyed earlier in his career. There is ample evidence that age, injuries, and even the game itself, catch up to a player, but that doesn’t mean he might not enjoy a little bit of a renaissance. The veteran player that regains health, or one that finds himself in a better environment, both in the clubhouse and on the field, often provides results that trends say he shouldn’t. The fantasy baseball experts wrote off Justin Morneau this past offseason. The trends, they said, show that Morneau wouldn’t do much for the Rockies, regardless of any influence Coors Field might have. This 2014 season still has more than 115 games to go, but in the case of Justin Morneau (.327-9-32 through 5/18), history and trends are not always accurate. His addition has been a significant plus for the Rockies.
TIP OF THE WEEK: I know I talked about the show “Game of Thrones” a few weeks ago, but I have to mention it again. Have you ever seen a series that bumps off more of its principal characters than this show does? You have to watch every episode to see who is surviving and who gets the axe...sometimes literally! Don’t miss it.