Game 1 of 162 and some early season projections


Nationals Park Opening Day 2010.jpgThere are 2,430 scheduled baseball games for the 2010 season and only 13 of them were played yesterday, just one half of 1 percent of all the games. There was one game on Sunday and the Rays and O’s start their seasons tonight.

“There are 161 more to go,” Ian Desmond said. “Just because we lost one game 11-1, it’s just like losing 2-1. It doesn’t really matter.”

At the end of the day, Opening Day is just another day. It is just one of the 162 games, but the Opener is always magnified: the pomp and circumstance before the start, the President throwing out the first pitch, the sold-out park, the beautiful weather and knowing that driving in two runs leaves you on pace to have 324 RBI when the season is done. It just has a different feel to it.

It is tradition following Opening Day–like eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day–to see the regular season projections for a few players that preformed well for one game and see what they are on-pace to do during the 162-game marathon. We will forget for a few seconds that the sample size is only one game and the odds of the projections actually happening are zero. So don’t bet the farm on these projections–sample sizes of one game have the tortoise losing to the hare every time–and don’t bet your friend that Placido Polanco is going to drive in 972 runs. He is projected to do that though… and just maybe he will. It is mathematically possible. Here are five things that could happen but won’t happen because being mathematically possible isn’t the same as being mathematically practical. 

·         The Blue Jays’ Adam Lind is batting 1.000 (3-for-3) with one home run, two runs and an RBI. He is projected to bat 1.000 (486-for-486)–move aside Ted Williams–with 162 home runs, 162 RBI and 234 runs.

·         The Phillies’ Placido Polanco didn’t waste any time making his presence known in the power, home run hitting Philadelphia lineup. He went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI. He is projected to have 486 hits, 162 home runs and a measly 972 RBI, not a bad season.

·         If Albert Pujols wasn’t the front runner for his third straight NL MVP award, he is now. He went 4-for-5 with four runs, two home runs and three RBI to lead the Cardinals to an 11-6 win over the Reds. That is just an average day at the park for Pujols. He is project to have 648 hits and runs, 324 home runs, 486 RBI and one MVP award.

·         Jason Heyward is going to be a star, that isn’t a projection, just a fact. The 20-year-old blasted a 433-foot, three-run home run to right in his first Major League at-bat to turn Turner Field into a tizzy. The 6-foot-4, 220-lb right fielder finished 2-for-5 with four RBI, a home run and two runs. He is projected to have 324 hits, 162 home runs, 648 RBI and one memorable career.

·         Pudge Rodriguez is 38 years young but it is tough to guess that. He made his Nationals debut yesterday with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate including two doubles. Pudge inched closer to being the next member of the illustrious 3,000 hit club and only needs 286 hits. At this pace, he is projected to join the club on July 23, 2010 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. All he needs to do is get three hits every game and not miss a start… as a catcher.

And let’s not forget that 14 teams right now are projected to go 162-0… so much for these projections.

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