Baseball knowledge is a constantly changing thing. It's like any other form of information: some of it is uniform, and some of it is constantly fluid, changing based on era, culture, and shared experiences. There is, though, one piece of baseball knowledge that pretty much spans the masses. It is this: having better talent is a good thing.
So it is with no small amount of amusement that you will likely read this Hawk Harrelson quote from the Chicago Tribune. Apparently, having less talent than another team is a good thing.
"I wouldn't trade places with [the Cubs] for a new set of golf clubs," Harrelson said Monday from Glendale, Ariz. I love the position we're in. This is the best group of young players I've seen since I have been with the Sox. And everybody agrees with me [...]"
"Expectations have a way of jumping up and biting you right in the butt," said Harrelson of the Cubs' challenge. "Pressure is the biggest killer of performance in sports. You would much rather be flying underneath the radar. I love where we (Sox) are."
It's easy to see what Harrelson means here. You want expectations to be low, so when you exceed them, your fans are pleasantly surprised. If you fail, no big deal, that's what everyone expected anyway. I get it.
What makes less sense is the notion that the White Sox wouldn't trade places with the Cubs. And I'm not even talking about the relative wealth of the two teams, or their fanbases, or popularity or any of that. I'm talking about players. Though a somewhat inefficient roster, the Cubs are stocked with talent and experience. Their best players are in their primes. They're going to hit a lot of baseballs and field relatively well and pitch the same, which is why people think they will be good. To say you wouldn't want that sort of talent because you'd rather "fly under the radar" is the sort of silliness that makes Harrelson so incessantly annoying.
It's a harmless annoyance, but it is annoyance. And what do you do with annoyances? You talk about them on a blog, that's what.
Naturally, Hawk Harrelson Prefers the White Sox's Preseason Position originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 10 Mar 2009 17:48:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.