— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 4, 2016
By Jon Weisman
Watching Madison Bumgarner of the Giants issue a bases-loaded walk in the first inning today grooved me to remember not to invest too deeply in Opening Day.
That RWI was the set-up to a punchline. The next batter hit into an inning-ending double play, and as far as I was concerned, baseball began being baseball right away in 2016.
And we’ve got a lot of baseball ahead of us.
The misgivings that some have about the Dodgers this year would stand out more if there weren’t misgivings about the Dodgers every year. (And if there were ever a year without worries, that was the biggest mistake of all.)
Almost nobody in the game does exactly what’s expected of them. Most overperform or underperform expectations, so much so that predictions really become irrelevant. At best, predictions lay out the odds of which team might have the most players meet or exceed their levels, but they don’t really say anything about the future. It’s kind of like the way I begin the day with nine items on a To Do list, and end the day with 12.
Speaking of lists: With 10 players beginning the season on the disabled list, believed to be a big-league record for Opening Day, the Dodgers might seem to be particularly vulnerable. Given that they are still fielding a contender, I think it indicates the opposite. The pool they are drawing from this season is deep. It’s not that every player will be a key contributor. It’s that enough of them can be. You don’t see someone you like yet at a given position? Just wait a minute.
When this team does get healthier, and as its minor-leaguers mature, it’s got every chance of being a rich brew. And that includes generating the kind of elite performances that October demands.
So we’ll go forward, month by month, game by game, inning by inning, batter by batter. The good will be great, the bad will be awful. We will overreact to anything and everything. But one thing is clear. You don’t count your chickens on Opening Day, and you don’t count yourself out either. Today is only about beginnings. Treat it as a gift, as your partridge in a pear tree.