April is bad for baseball, weather we like it or not

Well, we had one beautiful week, but the rest of the month was dreadful.

To be sure, I could be talking about the Cleveland weather the last month or so, but I’m actually referring to the Guardians. In the first seven days of April, the Guardians went 4-2. The rest of the month they went 8-12. Beginning around the 11th of the month, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for a week. The rest of the time, it was more like February.

The theme which parallels Terry Francona and baseball in April in Cleveland, Ohio: They play on fairly common ground (usually cold, wet, and depressing) for the first month or so. So, before we all start bemoaning the issues with the Guardians this year, check out the numbers I came up with after doing some grueling digging in the record books for something – anything – to cheer myself (and you, too) up.

In Francona’s 11 years as Cleveland’s manager, the team has a cumulative April (including any March games if played) regular season record of 114-126, which is an abysmal winning percentage of .475. However, commencing May 1, and running through the remainder of the regular season, the team has an incredible record of 743-588, which comes out to a .571 winning percentage. For perspective, that winning percentage would translate into a season record of 93-69 per year, for 11 seasons!

So why the constantly constipated Aprils every year? I thought you’d never ask, but I am ready to present my theory…

1. Francona always puts the health of his players first, and thus has always played with the “big-picture” mentality. Especially when it comes to pitchers, Francona will pull a guy on those damp, chilly nights maybe an inning or two earlier than other managers would, setting himself up for a short-term hit (a potential loss). However, the pitcher Terry yanked in April will more likely be pitching in September when teams are ramping up for the playoff run.

2. Overall, Cleveland teams can’t hit consistently until the weather warms up, which can be mid-May or even as late as June. A roster full of players who have played a large portion of their career in warm climates just don’t seem to get a feel for the bat until they get some consistent 80-degree-plus temperatures. The Johnny Damon-esque batting averages will begin to rise.

The moral to the story is this: History says the Guardians will hit. History also says the Guardians will win. So don’t sweat the start. Life in the village will be all good again soon enough.

One last thing that I just must get off my chest:

When the Cavaliers (the higher seed) lost the first playoff game vs. the Knicks at home, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff attempted to minimize the importance of losing game 1 (along with the home-court advantage) by referring to it merely as a “wake-up call.”

Note to J.B.: teams that haven’t accomplished a thing to date should not need a “wake-up call.” They should be so eager to taste a run at a championship that losing to a team like the Knicks would have been a slap in the face to the entire organization. How can a team that had achieved nothing to date sleep-walk as the Cavs did in that entire playoff series? Game 1 set the tone for the entire series, my friend.

If anyone needs a wake-up call, J.B., it’s you.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.02.2023