A View From Studio 3: Too early to predict World Series success
Today's 'view' is aided by the use of a rear view mirror along with the handy work of the MLB Network Research Department. While this is typically the time of year to project, predict and forecast the future, it seems a bit fruitless at this point in 2015. There are impact players rehabbing from major injuries and others who may still change uniforms, many of whom have the ability to affect division races from coast to coast.
Right now, we're kind of stuck in a baseball purgatory.
The 'Max Scherzer watch' is about as exciting as a Yule Log and waiting for a rare January blockbuster trade requires the patience of Job. Because Scherzer and fellow righthander James Shields have yet to land and Cole Hamels may still be moved, booking your plane tickets to the Fall Classic is a waste of time and money.
One premier arm can change everything. But it also guarantees nothing. That's the conundrum facing general managers of all shapes, sizes and budgets when considering a $200 million arm. The reality is that luck, timing and talent are all factors in success.
Need a reminder? Think all the way back to October. How many of us predicted the Giants would hoist the trophy again? But one dominant lefty carried San Francisco to a title while arguably the best hurler on the planet entered the record books for all the wrong reasons.
Madison Bumgarner made history for postseason success, Clayton Kershaw for playoff futility. Upon reflection, both acts are equally amazing. We witnessed one of the great pitchers in our lifetime fail on the big stage when Kershaw became the first hurler EVER to give up seven or more runs in consecutive postseason starts. His eight earned runs versus the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLDS followed a disastrous outing that ended the NLCS a year earlier. A couple of bad innings changed baseball history. It was truly mindboggling that the guy on the mound was an all-time great.
There is no question that Kershaw enters 2015 on the short list of best pitchers in our lifetime. The stats back that up. He was the youngest pitcher ever to win three Cy Young Awards. He's the only pitcher ever to win four straight MLB ERA titles. And his stats are comparable to those of Sandy Koufax in his prime.
Baseball can be summed up by one quote from an iconic non-sports figure. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, "Ya know, you never know."
Hall of Fame
One thing we do know, with some sense of certainty, is that Kershaw will end up in Cooperstown one day. I hope by that time the Hall will have done away with plaques that include team logos. Last week it was announced that Randy Johnson's likeness will include an Arizona Diamondbacks logo. I get it. He won four Cy Young awards and a World Series title with Arizona, but the absence of the Mariners logo diminishes his accomplishments with the club that he helped save, a club with a loyal and deserving fan base. In the mid '90s Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. were the faces of Seattle baseball. Without them, and the Mariners' run to an unlikely division title in 1995, the team may have relocated. Times have changed. Some players switch teams so often it can be tough to recall which clubs or how many clubs they've played on. Honoring an all-time great is about the body of work and not always about the franchise for which he played.
Speaking of the Hall
For the first time since the 1950s, Cooperstown will enshrine four players at the same time. It's a good guess that hotel room and restaurant reservations will be nearly impossible to secure as fans converge on upstate New York from all corners of the country. Literally. Johnson played in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. Craig Biggio in Texas. John Smoltz dominated in the South and Pedro Martinez will draws thousands from Northeast. Let there be no doubt that baseball is still America's game.