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Fan Confidence: Tomorrow Never Knows


It's hard to be dissatisfied with a 5-2 start to the season. Winning is always better than losing, regardless of how its done, with perhaps the exception of cheating, but early in the season it can represent a trap. In the same way that Spring Training stats are deceiving through both limited samples and asymmetrical competition, so, too, early seasons stats will deceive more than they will illuminate.

The very first Fan Confidence column I wrote was in regards to Willie Bloomquist's (!) hot 2011 start. He slowed down, though, and became the useful, if utility, player that he always has been in the Majors. Last year I wrote about Chris Young's hot start, and then he subsequently suffered in injury and never regained that first month's form.

Likewise, we focus on Gerardo Parra's hot start, he of NL leading hits and .7 fWAR after only a week (or, we could also focus on a certain former D-back who has also had a great start), and we imagine the possibilities. Could this be Parra finally coming into his final Pokemon form? we breathlessly wonder.

Yet we also know that it is unlikely that Parra will not continue to hit .400 anymore than Justin Upton will hit 135 home runs. This is the life of a baseball fan; one eye constantly on the previous day's boxscore whilst the other is raised to the curving horizon.

So it's tempting to fall into the trap that anything we've seen so far is particularly representative of the rest of the season. Consider it baseball's Poincaré conjecture: if we only use freshly acquired counting stats, then we're too close to the situation to properly assess it.

Still, we've had it good this past week. It's even better when you consider that the full lineup hasn't even been used yet. The team has scored runs, had decent pitching outside of a few disasters, and pulled it out. Imagine how much better it could be when Adam Eaton and Cody Ross arrive.

It's still early April, so it's still the time for dreaming. Perhaps in a month or two we'll wonder why we ever had hope. But for now, we can turn on, tune in, and drop out.