The regular season of Major League Baseball has ended and while stat-heads are tallying up ERAs, RBIs, and other statistics with TLAs (three-letter acronyms), I instead look back and see how the sports prognosticators at The Washington Post did when they gazed into their crystal ball back in March and April when the season was new and hope for all teams (especially the Washington Nationals who went 59-103 in the 2009 season) sprung eternal.
In the special baseball section of the March 31, 2010, edition of the Post, the writers took it upon themselves to predict the order of finish for the team in all six divisions. It should come as no surprise that the Post correctly divined the final placement of only one (1) division – the National League East (Phillies, Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals). The Post’s worst prediction came with the National League West where they predicted:
but the final tally was instead almost reversed with:
Of the six division, the Post correctly picked the leader in three (3) of them (NL East: Phillies, AL Central: Twins, AL West: Rangers).
Now while it is one thing for a gang of writers to make predictions, it is quite another for a person to place their name next to a thought about what will happen in the future. Thomas Boswell, writer for the Post, did just that when he wrote in a March 2, 2010 column that “…the days when the Nats are last in the National League in ERA (5.00 last year) are about to end.”
Gutsy prediction, but he was spot-on as the Washington hurlers had a team ERA of 4.13 and were sixth from last in the NL.
Of course if Boswell got every predication right he could quit his job and play the ponies, but he doesn’t. In his column of April 5, he writes about the Nationals that for “…speed, they have three thieves who may combine for 100 steals, led by Nyjer Morgan…“. Well, the top three stealers for the Nationals only racked up 67 steals (Morgan – 34, Ian Desmond – 17, Roger Bernadina – 16).
Finally, in that same column of April 5, Boswell made the closing argument that the Nationals “…are better, probably by a dozen wins.” Close enough as the Nationals won ten more games this year that they did last year.
So, out of three predictions, Boswell got one hit. Batting .333 ain’t too bad in the baseball business.