Let's not call it anything yet. In fact, let's not even mention it. As Bobby Valentine was apt to point out to a scrutinizing Boston media after the Red Sox started 0-2 this year,
"I don't know what a ‘start' means. Is two games a start? Is a month a start? I think we can still get off to a good start.''
It's always surprising how fans and sports writers alike are quick to pass judgement on a baseball team so early in the season. Yet sure enough, there they are, fiddling with the panic button less than 10 games into the season.
You have seasoned Angels sports writer for the OC Register Bill Plunkett writing about Pujols "slow start." You have Landon Hall of the same paper writing things like "The Angels are supposed to have one of the elite starting pitching rotations in the majors, if not the very best. But three games into the young season, only Jered Weaver is living up to the label. "
Strange to say that since the rotation has five pitchers. Maybe save statements like that until the entire staff has taken at least one turn. After all, a week further into the season and CJ Wilson has looked excellent. While Weaver had somewhat rough start against the Twins.
To be fair to Hall, he did mention that it was only three games into the season. And his words were hardly as dramatic as Red Sox writer for the Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy comparing the Red Sox to the Titanic, after only two games. Really, beat sports writers shouldn't be criticized too much, though. The grind of writing about baseball for 160+ games is tough and filling those word counts can imaginably hard. Still, such sensationalism only adds fuel to the stupidity fire.
Instead, here is an offering of 5 sobering examples of why the "start" to a baseball season is vague and often times, doesn't even matter.
* 2006 St Louis Cardinals had the lowest winning percentage of any World Series winner of .533%
* 1995 Seattle Mariners were 2 games under .500 on August 1st and won their division in a one-game playoff
* Angels fans should remember that their 2002 World Series championship team started a ugly 6-14 in their first twenty games.
* The 2005 Houston Astros were 15-30 after 45 games. They clinched the wild card spot and saw their first ever appearance in the World Series.
* The 1987 Minnesota Twins were an even .500 ballclub 40 games into the season. They ended up winning the World Series despite have an atrocious road record of 29-52.
Lay off that panic button, pal. Crack a beer and watch some basketball (or hockey) for a bit before you start pulling your hair out over the beginning of your favorite baseball teams' "start."