Goldman: Great teams should be appreciated no matter the outcome

From SABR member Steven Goldman at FanRag Sports on September 11, 2017:

Every year about this time I seem to have a reason to trot out this chestnut of an anecdote: In 1944, with the world at war and the major leagues populated by some combination of 15- and 46-year-olds and guys with one arm, the St. Louis Browns and St. Louis Cardinals won their respective league pennants. Asked which team could win the World Series, a sportswriter considered the degraded of both rosters and declared, “Neither.” 

With the exception of rare seasons like 1927 or 1976, when teams like the Yankees and Reds, respectively, towered so far above their competition that the final result seemed preordained, this is the predicament we generally find ourselves in as the season winds down. Most teams are, to borrow from Benjamin Franklin, half-improvised and half-compromised to begin with (the Yankees didn’t play to go through an entire season without a first baseman, just to name one example) and Lady Regression to the Mean is a harsh mistress. Except for those same rare seasons, no team plays at a .250 pace for 162 games and no team is truly a .700 team either. The Astros and the Dodgers are finding that out now in a way so harsh it leaves bruises—and shatters fan confidence.

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Originally published: September 11, 2017. Last Updated: September 11, 2017.