What We Have Learned from Opening Day

Josh SaboContributor IApril 6, 2010

ATLANTA - APRIL 5: Jason Heyward #22 of the Atlanta Braves heads to the on deck circle against the Chicago Cubs during Opening Day at Turner Field on April 5, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

With opening day behind us, there are many sports analysts trying to tell us what we learned.

Some sports writers and fans are ready to cast judgments on how the season will unfold based on one game.  

After only one game these “experts” are ready to tell us just how wrong we all were about the Red Sox lineup, how weak the Yankees' and Twins' bullpens are, and how Jason Heyward matched his hype in one game.

These are the more logical statements.

While some of these bold statements may end up being correct, basing it off a sample size of one game is simply foolish.

For instance, I firmly believe Heyward will be a star in this league, but one great game is not going to make me believe he can carry an offense.

For all I know, Heyward may end up slowing down, like Jordan Schafer did last year.

Heyward may be the next Willie Mays, but that doesn’t mean he’ll carry a team in his rookie year. Just think of how many people would have guessed Chris Coghlan would win the NL ROY last year.

If opening day is indicative of anything, it’s that certain people will use anything to help their argument, no matter how illogical it is.

For example, the Yankees vs. Red Sox game on opening night showed Red Sox fans that their offense was a lot better than analysts predicted, however the fact that Beckett struggled was just a fluke.

He’ll come around; he just didn’t have his stuff that night, no big deal.

So Red Sox fans somehow realize it’s merely one game when it’s suitable for them.

The same thing goes for Yankees fans, who are excited that Brett Gardner slapped the ball the other way, but ignored everything else that went wrong that day, such as C.C. Sabathia tiring out and the bullpen’s failure.

The truth for all we know is that Sabathia and Beckett’s poor starts weren’t flukes, however unlikely as that sounds. We do it all the time, like when we point out how good Casey Kotchman looked yesterday.

If we are to guess how a season is going to turn out based on one game, then I guess Placido Polanco is on course for his best season yet, at age 34, and that David Wright finally figured out how to hit home runs in Citi Field.

I could even claim that the Pirates are a dark horse for the Wild Card based on their win over a solid Dodgers team.

But we would never say any of those things, because in those instances, we see just how silly these “experts” are.

We haven’t learned anything about how this baseball season will unfold, and we probably won’t learn anything until the middle of May.

On May 1st of last year, the Blue Jays, White Sox, Marlins, and Mariners were all leading their respective divisions.

This simply proves that it takes a while for things to take shape in this sport, and that taking opening day too seriously is just foolish.

Generally, when an average player or team has one bad game, we tend to call that a fluke.

All I’m suggesting is that we apply that same cynicism to the early part of the baseball season.

After all, if a player or a team can have a fluke season, it’s only sensible to assume a good start is a fluke as well.