How many times have you heard some idiot talking sports head on TV or the radio or the internet tell you “It’s only April. The games don’t matter until August” or at least heard words to that effect? I’ve heard it a lot. Unfortunately I have to admit I’ve probably even said it. We all like the comfort of it, but if you think about it, we al so all know it’s utter nonsense. A case in point–the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals.
In case you didn’t notice the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs although they won the last game of their season. They lost the final playoff spot to the San Francisco Giants (of course they did, it’s an even numbered year) by one, count ’em, one game. On 5 April 2016 the Cards played the Pittsburgh Pirates and lost 6-5. On that same date the Giants played the Milwaukee Brewers and won 2-1. There it is, team, the critical game of the season. Had St. Louis won that one game, then they would have been in a one game playoff to see who got to face the New York Mets in the wildcard game. But, nope, they lost and in doing so lost the chance to tie the Giants and go on toward a possible pennant and World Series date.
Now I know you’re going “wait a minute, they lost a bunch of games, most of them after 5 April.” And you’re right. Any one single win by St. Louis would change the nature of the playoffs in the National League. My point isn’t so much that they lost on 5 April, but that the idea that early season games don’t count as much is just plain silly. So the next time you hear someone say it (and you undoubtedly will in April 2017) remind yourself that this particular so-called expert is an idiot (even if it’s me you hear say it–or type it).
And now on to the playoffs. Congrats to all the winners (and to you, Bloggess, on your Orioles). And Go Dodgers.