The Other Fifteen

Eighty-five percent of the f---in' world is working. The other fifteen come out here.

What today meant

If you're in a hurry, I'll save you the trouble of reading the rest of the post: Today's game meant absolutely nothing.

Oh, sure, it was fun to see baseball again and hear Pat and Ron. It was exciting to see the team score so much, and it was nifty to get a win. Winning is always better than losing, after all. I enjoyed the entire thing tremendously. And why not? Once a week or so - maybe more - during the regular season I'll follow the I-Cubs on Gameday. I have absolutely no trouble getting excited for a meaningless baseball game.

But that's what today's outing was - utterly meaningless. More so than a AAA or AA game, really; maybe even as meaningless as the Arizona Fall League or the Dominican Winter League.

Royals Review - always entertaining, by the way - has a nice read on why spring training stats are so meaningless. The short version: they aren't real baseball games. One inning, you could be facing a AAA journeyman, the next, a High-A prospect. Often guys aren't playing to win - you can bet that guys who have their jobs sewn up don't give max effort, saving themselves for the games that matter. Pitchers who have a specific pitch they want to work on or need to feel more comfortable with will throw that pitch regardless of count, batter or situation. Your average AAA journeyman (what we like to call a "replacement player") can make nice, solid contact if they know you're throwing nothing but your split-finger and they sit there and cheat on it.

And besides, the parks down in Arizona don't resemble major-league parks very much (not even Chase Field). They're exceedingly high offense. Teams will play around with moving players to positions to gauge their comfort levels, so you can sometimes see an utter travesty of a defensive alignment. And to top it all off, everything's an extremely small sample size.

So Ryan Theriot got three hits today. Does that tell us anything that we didn't know about him before? Mike Fontenot hit a home run in an extreme home run park - did anyone think he couldn't? We know absolutely nothing today that we didn't yesterday - anything we think we've learned is just us projecting our hopes and prognostications onto events that can't possibly mean what we think they mean.

So just relax, and enjoy. Because we don't know what we think we know.

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