If They Play .500 Ball…

Ah, Memorial Day. Barbecues, ugly yet well-intentioned memorabilia and as fine time as any to take stock of the season, less in wow-it’d-be-cool-if-they-could-beat-a-real-team terms and more in what-a-sad-day-when-the-Tigers-are-on-top terms.

More importantly, every ballclub is now past the 42-game marker, a milestone our good friend Hawk Harrelson once said was the number of games any team will play with any significance in a given season; there are 60 you’ll win and 60 you’ll lose, so it’s really a matter of what you do with those other 42.

(Hawk’s actual wording may have been a bit longer, with a bit more double negatives thrown in, but the point was made.)

Now, there is much to dislike about Hawk’s broadcasting but this one actually made sense. Few teams win 100, and just as few lose that many; conversely, few ever lose less than 60, and just as few win less than 60. Forty-two games! Genius!

Anyway, one school of thought suggests that with the significant piece of the schedule out of the way, the rest of the season is effectively an averaging out despite what may actually happen in the won-loss column.

(Another suggests [correctly] that the American League Central is a terrible, terrible division that even the unhitting and unhittable White Sox can take. This seems more agreeable, yet less likely with each passing day, but we’ll save discussion that for another time.)

So what of it? Where does an even split down the road leave everyone? Let’s find out!

Current Record: 24-18
End Result: 84-78
Notes: No way. Eighty-four seems like just about the right number of wins to take the Central, but no sane person would concede this to the Tigers just yet. Does anyone really believe Adam Everett is a .305 hitter? Come on.

Current Record: 22-22
End Result: 82-82
Notes: In the scheme of things, this is not that bad an outcome. The Royals win nothing, yet compared to the past few seasons’ carnival of horrors in KC, they’ve won everything. Go Royals!

Current Record: 22-23
End Result: 80-82
Notes: You could argue this works out to 81-81, but after last Thursday’s act of brutality it’d be preferable to see them lose as often as possible.

Current Record: 19-24
End Result: 79-83
Notes: Elevating themselves to .500 for four months and still finishing a game behind the Twins. How embarrassing.

Current Record: 17-28
End Result: 75-87
Notes: Look to Cliff Lee for a strong second half, going 7-1 down the stretch with an ERA under 3. For the Blue Jays.

And in the end, the Tigers dominate nothing while the sub-.500 Twins lord over one and all. The Sox believe they can win, even while they lose, and nothing is quite what it seems. Perhaps Harrelsonian logic is not the best means of peering into the future after all.