60-game runs for better, worse
A LOOK AT HOW SOME CUBS, SOX HAVE FARED EARLY, LATE IN SEASONS
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.