MLB Opening Day

The Atlanta Braves host opening day festivities at SunTrust Park in 2017. In the MLB, early-season games tend to not be a strong indicator of season-long performance.

As the first week of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season draws to a close, fans from certain cities have been thrilled to see their teams doing so well. In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners are currently in first place in their respective divisions (American League East, Central and West); while in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers hold leads in the East, Central and West divisions, respectively. These teams have brought hope to their fan base as the Rays, Twins, Mariners and Phillies all missed the postseason last year. However, should fans hesitate before crowning any one of these teams as potential 2019 World Series Champions after one week of play? The answer probably won’t surprise you.

To see whether the first week of the season is any indication of a team’s success over the course of the year, we can just look at the records of each team from the first week of the season over previous years.

On April 5, 2018, after a week of games, the leaders of each division (Both American League and National League) were the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. Out of those teams, only the Red Sox and Astros managed to reach the playoffs at the end of the year. Furthermore, the Twins and Mets finished below .500, and the Pirates and Diamondbacks ended the season 13 and 9.5 games out of first place in their respective divisions.

On April 9, 2017, after the first week of the season the division leaders were the Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. By the end of the season, only the Twins, Cubs and Diamondbacks made the postseason, with the Orioles, Angels and Marlins failing to reach a .500 winning percentage.

The MLB regular season consists of 162 games within a 187-day time frame. Seven games have been played so far. That means 155 games are left to be played. That’s a whole lot of baseball. Teams get hot over the course of the season and some fade away from contention as the season winds down. In 2017, the Dodgers started the season a lukewarm 4-3 before rattling off a historic 43 wins in a 50-game stretch in August, fueling them to a world series appearance. In the same season, the Baltimore Orioles came out of the gates with a 4-1 record, before finishing the season in dead last in the AL East with a 75-87 record.

If baseball history has taught us anything, it’s that the first week of the season doesn’t mean anything. The Mariners might be 7-1 right now. They might also finish the season in last place. There’s still six months of baseball season left; let’s all be patient and root for sustained success from each of our favorite teams.

This is the opinion of Zach Johnson, a sophomore International Relations major from Tai Tam, Hong Kong. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to mthomas@theloyolan.com.

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