Finding Stasis

The Cardinals have won five in a row.  This is good.  I hope they keep it up.  Of course they won’t, because we all know the laws of the universe say they will eventually lose.  It may be today, it may be this weekend or next week.  Baseball is and has always been a cyclical thing.  Highs and lows.  Good seasons and bad seasons and just so-so seasons.

Individual performances are in flux.  This is the natural order of things.  Statistically, baseball players all have a mean.  It is that level of performance where their central tendencies lie.  It is their expected value.  This applies to both the player’s offensive and defensive abilities.  Some players have a high mean in offense but not in defense and vice versa.  Some have high or low means in both.  That mean will gradually change over time as age and wear and tear on the body cause the performance to decline.  There are other factors which can affect the mean, so not every player’s true mean is known in the same amount of time.  Once it is known, however, it is fairly easy to predict where a player’s performance level will end up over time.

With the Cardinals so far we have seen players play to their mean.  We have also seen players both playing below their mean and above their mean.  Eventually, but not always in the same amount of time, the player will regress either upward or downward to their mean.  The underachievers will heat up and overachievers will cool off.  That is the way it has always been.

The key to long term success is to find stasis, or the level of stability where forces are equal and opposing. This is extremely difficult to do in baseball because it is rare that every player on the team plays to their mean all at the same time.  This is why there are winning streaks and losing streaks, players who are hot and players who are slumping.  It is the natural ebb and flow of baseball.  Teams are in flux, players come and go throughout the season, affecting the ability to find stasis.  You can build a winning baseball team by filling it with players whose means in either offense or defense or both are at an above average level, but you can never guarantee success.

As a team, stasis may never be achieved in any given season.  That is what makes baseball fun and exciting.  We get excited by the overachievers and frustrated by the underachievers, and then it all changes and we continue the cycle.  The goal of course is to win, however you get there.

We as fans go through highs and lows with our teams and with our individual favorite players.  It is the nature of being a fan.  The key to trying to find stasis as a fan is to realize that that the team and the players are going to disappoint us at times. We have to understand that we are seeing today, or tomorrow or for the next week, may not be what see throughout the season.  We have to understand that playing baseball is hard, and that players will not always play to their mean.  We have to have patience and let it all play out.

This is not an easy thing to do as a fan.  I have never found it easy at all, and I go through times of elation followed by times of depression as a fan of baseball.  I have to continuously remind myself that no matter what is happening right now, it is going to change.  I search for my stasis as well.  None of this means that I can’t complain about a player or the manager or the team as a whole.  It just means that at the end of the day, it will play out the way it plays out and things will continue to change, for good or bad, and I have to adapt.  I have to search for my stasis, even if I never find it.  That’s what being a baseball fan is all about.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jerry Modene

     /  June 18, 2014

    As Whitey Herzog used to say, “Not too high, and not too low.”

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    Reply

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