Diamond Notes: The Value of Predictions


By: Austin Alexander – March 25, 2010

Foreseeing bad hops, clutch hits & pitching match-ups + predicting the unexpected

dp_logo1.pngPredicting standings! Las Vegas makes mega-millions each season, weekend and night based on how things will play out… sometimes it’s a coin flip, sometimes it’s the length of the National Anthem at a given event. There are all kinds of things to weigh in on, including the NCAA basketball brackets.

How do your NCAA brackets look right now? Keep in mind, when ranking the tournament field, the body of work was seeded by those whose full-time job is to lock in on which teams are legit and who is not.

Based solely on which teams he liked the sound of, my 4-year old was 27-5 in the first round. Currently he has 9 teams in the Sweet 16. Conversely, Dick Vitale was 17-15 in round one, and only has 8 teams in his standing bracket. Point being, the ball bounces in directions that are always unpredictable. How else do you describe a toddler completely out-dueling a cagey veteran whose life revolves around the sport that he is widely heralded as an authority on?

And basketball is much easier to predict than baseball!

I really wish that it would be professional enough to publish my email inbox. If it were, then every person’s voice would be heard as unaware of all the anomalies that can happen in this sport. But I guess that is what message boards and blogs are for? I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked to explain a games outcome or how in the world DP could have picked a certain team to win their region versus missing the playoffs.

Baseball is the most unpredictable sport without a doubt. Upsets pop up all over college baseball every single day. Who predicted the Rays to play in the World Series two years ago? Two years ago Fresno State had a sub-.500 season, then a great conference run before making a regional, super regional and later winning a CWS title.

Now let’s reel it back to where we are in this thing we call high school baseball. Just in the first month, we have seen monumental upsets as it pertains to ‘prospects’ versus others that ‘fly under the radar’. Some teams have emerged as legit contenders, some have disappointed thus far.

But that is simply what knowledgeable baseball people refer to when they say that ‘anything can happen’ in this game.

Injuries do happen. Balls are lost in the sun. Good young players come out of nowhere. Legit performers get pitched around. Weather adjustments may also produce pitching mis-matches. Bad hops, bloops and bleeders arrive at every game. How about the high school romances and parental restrictions that can sidetrack a teen-ager? Suspect calls by umpires, questionable coaching moves and suspensions occur. I could go on and on but you get the drift.

Predicting what will happen in a baseball game is as sure of a thing as a weather forecast.

Everyone loves a good list, poll or ranking. But part of the reason that baseball can survive any sort of crisis and has stood the test of time is because everyday that we pull into the ballpark, there is no telling what may happen between the white lines! Nowhere is that more true that at the prep level.

So while your NCAA brackets may remain in ruins, enjoy the baseball season for what it is… a brand new day. Every single day is an opportunity to take in a very healthy game played by kids who love putting the uniform on to match wits with an opponent!