It’s a phrase that is said over and over when a season starts in any sport. It doesn’t matter if it’s hockey, basketball, baseball, or football; this applies to every player and every team. The phrase is it's still early.
Can anyone give me a good reason why everyone uses this line so much? I really can’t fathom why that is a good answer to any question on how an athlete or team is performing. Let me give you some examples.
Chipper Jones is sizzling hot, hitting .415, and he doesn’t look to be cooling down. Let’s just say he hits a wall and gets ice poured on him. Chipper will still end up with at least a .350 average at the end of the year; and will having everyone saying how fantastic of a year he has had. Chipper will also be in the MVP race as well.
Another good one is Brandon Webb, who is an absolute beast! He is 8-0 and looks to be on pace for 1,000 wins. If he were to lose his next four starts and become 8-4, people will still put him in the conversation for best in the game. Being 8-4 will still leave him some room to be in the Cy Young race at the season end.
It’s a lot easier to bring up an average after 100 at-bats than after 400 at-bats Also, it’s easier to turn around a 1-3 start then it is to be 1-6. Or like in Barry Zito’s case, 0 and infinity.
This is how a horrible start can hurt you. Justin Verlander is considered one of the game's best pitchers. Coming into today, he is 1-6 with a 6.43 ERA.
Even if he turns it around and pitches like he did last season, it would be impossible to bring that ERA down past 4.00. He would probably end up with more than 10 losses as well. Then all the naysayers would talk about how bad of a year he had cause of his start.
Everyone knows it’s hard to turn things around after a bad start, but I still can’t fathom why everyone still says it's still early. If anyone can help me with this, please do.
P.S.: If you don’t believe this is true, please take a look at the numbers of Ryan Howard, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Cabrera, and Travis Hafner at the end of the year. Then listen to the media and bloggers heckling them.