Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Here Today, Gone Today


I was watching "Around the Horn" on ESPN today. They were discussing the future of Randy Johnson and whether he was in trouble because he had a terrible outing against the Blue Jays yesterday. Three of the four writers said that he was definitely in trouble and that his career was in either a freefall or serious decline. I bring up this particular topic because yesterday they were talking about Greg Maddux. Maddux has gotten off to a great start this year and all four of the writers said that he was on his way to great year.

Now I'm not sure whether Johnson is done or Maddux is about to have a renaissance in Chicago, but what I do know is that it's way too early to make those sorts of prediction. And if you are forced to make those predictions then shouldn't you look at the track record before making some ridiculous proclamation? Greg Maddux won 13 games last year and lost 15 with an ERA of 4.24. The previous year (2004) his ERA was 4.02. The last time Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux played in the same league was 2004 and Randy had an ERA of 2.60. It is true that Randy's ERA went up over a run last year, but he did have to adjust to moving to the Yankees and changing leagues to the AL where more runs are scored. He still won 17 games and was 10-2 after the all star break and his ERA was still a 1/2 run lower than Greg Maddux.

Every pitcher has bad starts. I'm not sure why there's always a rush to say that Johnson is done whenever he has a bad start. Clearly he's not the consistently dominating pitcher he used to be, but I don't think he's quite ready for the scrap heap yet. Maddux is an all time great, but if his last two years are any indicator, his fast start will not last. He will continue to be an effective starter but not a spectacular one. Johnson still has the ability to dominate. And whatever his issue was on Tuesday, I'm fairly sure that he'll figure it out.

It's amazing how far goodwill goes with sports writers and commentators. They are all willing to throw Johnson under the bus at the first opportunity, yet they will bend over backwards to support Greg Maddux. It really is just amazing that sports writers would base their argument on one start or on a handful. Aren't these guys supposed to be paying attention to what happened before yesterday? Why not say that Chris Shelton is going to hit 120 home runs this year? I mean he has 9 through 14 games. Using their logic, it only makes sense that he'll continue that pace throughout the entire season.

Once again, the sportswriters who should know better, are guilty of shortsightedness. It's a shame that most of the general public actually take these people at their word.

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