I wait all winter for it to be baseball season again. I make an annual trip to Tampa in March to visit friends and go to Yankees’ Spring Training. I feel like a little kid every time I go to a Major League game. Then, every once in a while, I step back and receive a reality check.
Robert S. Wieder said, “Baseball fans are junkies, and their heroin is the statistic.” I could not agree with this statement more. However, there is a stat that I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around.
On Monday, June 1st, the New York Yankees set a Major League Baseball record for the most consecutive games without an error, surpassing the previous record held by the 2006 Boston Red Sox. How many games was this streak, you ask? 18. No, that’s not a typo…it’s 18. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Yankees, and I love that they are playing good baseball right now, but 18 is a record?!?! I’m not sure I know of any other job in which one would be commended — better yet, immortalized in the record books — for going 18 days without making a mistake.
Is it wrong to expect that someone would go to work every day and not make a mistake? In an era of free agency and big contracts, it’s hard to be excited that my boys of summer went 18 games without committing an error. Isn’t that what they get paid to do? Especially when put in context of the entire season…the MLB season is 162 games long plus the post season. So, 18 games does not seem like a mind-blowing statistic. What’s worse? It took three years for this record to be broken. Not ONE MLB team has managed to go longer than 17 games in a row without an error until last night.
I have a genuine appreciation for the game of baseball, all of its records, and that Elias Sports Bureau has a statistic for a statistic. I spent the summer of 2003 during college as an intern at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown where I experienced firsthand how sacred it is to be a part of baseball immortality. While there, I also enhanced my appreciation for the history of the game and how it’s developed. I can’t help but think back, though, to that summer…one walk into the records room can make anyone feel inferior…and wonder how this record fits with all the rest of the MLB records. It’s 18 games.