Here's the thing about baseball, though. We don't know which games will hold particular intrigue. Unlike in the NBA -- whose marquee games are easy to foretell -- baseball is extremely unpredictable. I don't mean unpredictable over the entire season. We can probably anticipate whether most teams will have good, mediocre, or bad records after the 162-game marathon. Sure, there will always be teams that defy expectations, like the 2012 Orioles or the 2013 Indians. But MLB's half-a-year campaign usually forces the cream to rise to the top of the league.
What I mean by unpredictable, instead, is the chance of seeing a great game on a day-to-day basis. I've written before about how I missed Dwight Gooden's no-hitter in 1996 because my mom didn't want us out late on a school night. How could we have known, though, that a washed-up former superstar would toss such a gem on a Tuesday night in May? The same concept holds true for David Wells' perfect game, which was witnessed by throngs of little girls who only attended to receive a Yankees Beanie Baby.
|You never know if the 4-train is taking you to a good game. (Photo via zackhample.mlblogs.com)|
There are a few reasons for baseball's unpredictability. Most obviously, pitching matchups dictate much of the allure of singular games. Also, even if two great teams face off, there's always a chance that you'll see a crappy game. Meanwhile, Crash Davis taught us long ago about the impact of dumb luck over the course of a season.
The daily grind of baseball means we're just as likely to witness greatness in an otherwise meaningless game as we are at times when we'd most expect it.
I definitely didn't want this to turn into a John Sterling-esque "You just can't predict baseball, Suzyn"-type post. I hope it didn't read that way.
Just remember this post if Jacoby Ellsbury blasts four homers in a game this season, or if Masahiro Tanaka strikes out 18 opponents one night. And if either of those things happens, please remember that I predicted it.