Must print out…head to bar…demand Sudsy “The 8th Dwarf” read it…play some Chuck Carbo on the pukebox…have a nearly satisfying Diet Coke.
It was my first sabermetric argument. At least, the first one I remember. The year was 1984, and my beloved Mets were battling the Cubs for the NL East division lead. I had a buddy who felt that the Cubs were going to take it, because the Mets had too many young players on their roster (guys named Strawberry and Gooden) who wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of a pennant race. I took exception, wondering why younger players can’t play well in pressure situations. Back and forth we went.
Well, the Mets lost four straight August games to Chicago, never really recovered, and the Cubbies eventually won the division by six games. Strawberry had a lousy August (.177/.333/.241), though he bounced back in September (.652 slugging), and Gooden was awesome in September (1.29 ERA). On the surface, my friend seemed be right, but I never did cede the point. I’ve been told I’m stubborn.
Five years later, the Cubs won the division with a number of young guys named Maddux, Grace, Dwight Smith and Mitch Williams. I thought of pointing that out to my friend, but I’m not one to dwell on things. Just because I still remember the argument nearly 25 years later? Nah, not me.