That old gag, part 2
Well Kurt sense your in love with DLee lets see what he does over the next 20 games and then we can decide where he should be
I really need to create a "that old gag" tag. Anyway...
This talk about 20 games got me thinking. Let's say that over the next 20 games, Derrek Lee has 80 at bats and goes 10 for 80. That's a .125 AVG - and guess what? Where he'd be is STILL in the starting lineup as the starting first baseman! You know why? He's making 8 figures a year with an absolute no-trade clause playing for a winning franchise in a city he likes -- and he has a track record of success. Whether he go 20 for 80 or 5 for 80, Derrek Lee will be in the starting lineup all year long. But speaking of 20 games, let's take a look at a couple of lines...
Player 1: 60 AB, 16 H, 8 2B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .267 AVG, .302 OBP, .702 OPS
Player 2: 80 AB, 16 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, .188 AVG, .239 OBP, .568 OPS
Player 3: 70 AB, 16 H, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .229 AVG, .325 OBP, .739 OPS
Player 4: 75 AB, 15 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .200 AVG, .228 OBP, .535 OPS
Not exactly the numbers of champions, eh? These guys had between 60 and 80 at bats, none of them managed better than 16 hits, none displayed -- based on the numbers, anyway -- the ability to hit at the Major League level. If only there had been a Micah Hoffpauir to step in and replace them all.
Problem is, all of those guys started the seasons with those lines and do you know how they finished up? Player 1 wound up batting .299 with 33 HR, 70 RBI, and a .897 OPS. That was Alfonso Soriano, 2007 edition.
Player 2 finished the year with a .280 AVG, 29 HR, 75 RBI, and an OPS of .876. Again, that was Alfonso Soriano, 2008 edition.
Player 3 ended the year with a .278 AVG, 31 HR, 92 RBI, and an OPS of .860. That was the 2004 line of Derrek Lee.
The only guy to not have an epic year is Player 4, but we can't really hold it against Ryne Sandberg. It was his rookie season after all. He still managed a .271 AVG, 7 HR, 54 RBI, and 32 steals. But it's nice to know that mdonnellyacn1 would have cut the string on Ryno after 20 games, thus preventing Cub fans from enjoying the career of the finest second baseman to ever wear a Cubs uniform.
The moral of the story is actually two or threefold. First, Cub fans are fickle. Secondly, passing down arbitrary edicts about how a player has to look productive after X days is ridiculous and counter-productive. A baseball season is six months in length. Over the span of six months, there will always be periods of time in which a Ted Williams plays like a Neifi Perez, and vice versa. Third, we have become conditioned to be reactionary. We can't let something develop - we need resolution and we need it now! Kosuke Fukudome went 0 for 4! He very well might be a total bust, but nobody - no expert, no pundit, no brilliant baseball mind - knows how well he'll do after one 0 for 4 performance. (However I can predict this ... he will have many more 0 for 4 performances this year. Book it. Done.) I guarantee you that the first time the Cubs have a 5 game losing streak, there will be idiots out there wailing doom and gloom, calling it a lost season, giving up on the team.
It's all thoughtless reaction. I guess the only satisfaction I can take is that no matter how poorly Lee starts the season - and before 2005 he was a notorious slow-starter - he will still be starting all year long. And whether he bats .300 and cranks 25+ homeruns, or he bats .265 and hits a meager 15, the Cubs will still be good, even if the overthinkers disagree.
Update to say... That Old Gag tag created