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For baseball purposes, Memorial Day is no longer significant

May 27, 2013, 2:14 PM EST

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A lot of people say that Memorial Day is when you can stop saying “it’s too early” and that the results are finally significant. Some people say Mother’s Day, some a bit later than Memorial Day, but I think most people think of Memorial Day as the time of the season when who is good and who is bad can finally be known for real.

Joe Sheehan notes today, however, that Memorial Day is no longer significant for those purposes:

Just go back a year. None of the four AL teams that led their divisions on the morning of Memorial Day (the AL East featured a two-way tie) would go on to win them. Two would meet in the Coin Flip Game, two others would miss the postseason entirely. Two AL playoff teams were under .500 at the time, and the A’s were nowhere on anyone’s radar. Go back another year, and it’s much the same: half the teams leading divisions would win them, half wouldn’t. MLB has worked very hard over the past 20 years to build a system that allows for maximum mobility between seasons, and they’ve created one that also allows for substantial mobility within them.

Old habits are hard to quit, and I figure that people will still be calling Memorial Day some sort of bellwether for years to come, but the wild card and attendant expansion has killed that, kids.

That bit of knowledge from Joe, you should know, comes from his newsletter, to which you should subscribe. He writes the equivalent of five big, beefy columns a week, they come straight to your inbox. For under $20 through January of next year. Definitely check it out.

  1. kountryking - May 27, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    How many Memorial Day double-headers are scheduled for today? That’s my measure of relevancy to MLB.

    • Caught Looking - May 28, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      One (Diamondbacks and Rangers). Relevant enough?

  2. heyblueyoustink - May 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Can we maybe move around and insert some words into the headline? Maybe? Not to be picky, it just wasn’t the post I was expecting to follow it, especially after your piece on the camo’ gear last week.

    • historiophiliac - May 27, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      Since you brought it up, those camo unis are super ugly. They could’ve at least let the home teams wear winter camo with their whites. All the desert camo did was make the OE D look dirty. :( It doesn’t even make sense.

  3. beefytrout - May 27, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Memorial Day? During the past couple of seasons, some teams that were leading on Labor Day ending up losing their leads.

  4. scotttheskeptic - May 27, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    So, it is still too early to declare the Phillies as pretenders requiring much work at the MLB and MiLB levels? (I am a realistic Phillies fan, BTW) Or is it too early to believe they can sustain that awesome .480 winning percentage?

    • historiophiliac - May 27, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Are you kidding? With Svelte Delmon Young on the field? There’s no stopping you…as long as he makes weight.

  5. proudlyfrenchcanadian - May 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    So you’re tellin’ me the Jays still have a chance?

  6. sdelmonte - May 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I expect similar stats on July 4.

  7. rufuscornpone - May 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    I read this headline and clicked, expecting an article about how no current MLB players ever served in the military (I have no idea if this is true) and how military service is now essentially a class divide: the privileged rarely serve and the underprivileged find service their only career opportunity. And how this creates a divide where huge portions of the population don’t know anybody serving in the military and how it creates a disconnect and lack of shared sacrifice when wars are being fought.

    Instead it was this. Which is a perfectly fine article, but literally nowhere close to the article I had built in my head during the one-second timespan between clicking and loading. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch “Naked Lunch” and have some alone time.

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