Have you ever made an uncharacteristic mistake?
Did you forget the cover letter on your TPS report? Did you pay a credit card bill late? Did mess things up with that girl you like when she did nothing to deserve it?
When I analyze baseball or, more specifically, baseball players, I try to remember that they’re human. You’ll see this in my writing a lot as I think of myself as someone who can dig into a spreadsheet but also ponder the human element when considering future events.
Ichiro had 10 consecutive seasons where he placed 200 or more balls somewhere other than in a glove. He did that while maintaining a .300 average. Both of those streaks will end this season. Not because of who he was in 2001 or 2004 or 2009 but because of who he was in 2011.
Just like we couldn’t expect expect him to do those things this year based on performances from years past, we can’t expect him not to do it again in years future.
There’s also been a lot of talk surrounding General Manager Jack Zduriencik’s contract extension. I’d say most in the blogosphere are happy about it, as indicated in many fine posts such as Jason Churchill’s. Not everyone agrees, though, because they feel the proof is in the pudding. Even though the pudding Zduriencik inherited was more soupy and stale than thick and yummy.
Don’t consider the results of solely this season when forming your opinion for next year. Is Trayvon Robinson a big league every day left fielder? How about Kyle Seager at third? Casper Wells? Justin Smoak?
Dustin Ackley may seem like the only surefire bet, and perhaps that’s how it’ll end up, but remind yourself how old these kids are and the different adversities they’ve faces as human beings.
Baseball is hard. I don’t know this for a fact, but I bet facing the horror of destruction back home, being thrust into the majors for the first time, being traded or experiencing the death of your father before you’re able to rent a car without a surcharge are extremely difficult things for a man as well.
You’ll remember the cover letter next time so your boss doesn’t can you. You’ll make the next payment on time because you don’t want another late fee. You’ll treat that pretty lady right so long as she gives you another chance.
Baseball players are human. Just like us. Our past doesn’t determine the ballplayer or person we can strive to be.
We just need a chance to grow.