60-game runs for bet­ter, worse


Chicago Sun-Times - - CUBS BEAT - BY BILL CHUCK walkoffs@gmail.com | @billy­ball

There are cer­tain num­bers and phrases that are iconic when it comes to base­ball. For ex­am­ple, 60 al­ways has rep­re­sented Babe Ruth’s record-break­ing home-run to­tal of 1927. The phrase ‘‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint’’ al­ways has re­ferred to the length of the base­ball sea­son and the pac­ing re­quired to get through it.

Well, you can throw the sig­nif­i­cance of each of those out the win­dow as Ma­jor League Base­ball em­barks on a 60-game dash to out­run the coro­n­avirus this sea­son.

The ques­tion I have been stress­ing about is, how will the Cubs and Sox per­form in this Babe Ruth-ian dash? This is not like ask­ing how Brigid Kos­gei, Lawrence Cherono, Daniel Ro­manchuk and Manuela Schar, the 2019 Chicago Marathon win­ners, would do in the 60-yard dash. This is dif­fer­ent.

There are fac­tors we must in­clude when con­sid­er­ing whether play­ers will re­spond as if this were the first 60 games of the sea­son or the last 60 games of the sea­son. Here are some:

• Con­di­tion­ing: What kind of shape was a player in when re­port­ing to sum­mer camp?

• En­ergy and en­thu­si­asm: Each team is start­ing Game 103 — es­sen­tially — of a reg­u­lar sea­son tied for first place. Will play­ers be able to re­spond ac­cord­ingly?

• No fans/no con­tact: What is the adren­a­line fac­tor go­ing to be when play­ing to an empty sta­dium and no high-fives among team­mates?

• En­forced con­fine­ment: No go­ing out for a beer with team­mates af­ter the game.

• Slow starts: Some play­ers and some teams, for what­ever rea­son, take a while to get started. Can they ad­just?

• Com­pe­ti­tion: The Na­tional League Cen­tral is much tougher than the Amer­i­can League Cen­tral.

• The weather: It’s hot.

• COVID-19: It’s hot.

Here are some num­bers to con­sider when mea­sur­ing your ex­pec­ta­tions. I’ve put to­gether the sta­tis­tics of some Cubs and Sox in the first 60 and the last 60 of their teams’ games in re­cent sea­sons.

Now go wear a mask, wash your hands, stay healthy, take care of your pets and be kind to one an­other.

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