Monday, June 29, 2009

Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

I woke up this morning as I always do, and watched a rerun of The West Wing on Bravo, as I always do. I even looked forward to it this morning because the episodes flipped over to Season One, which means the episodes are back to being at their best with Aaron Sorkin writing, and without John Wells trying to turn every episode into a menacing prelude of tragedy yet to come.

The episode I caught today was "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc." The title is Latin, and as Josiah Bartlett promptly taught us, it means "after it, therefore because of it."

Normally, when watching the smartest fictional President and his patriotically dedicated staff of walk-and-talkers, I rarely think about the Cubs. But today, post hoc, ergo propter hoc got me thinking.

Basically, the phrase means that since one thing follows the other it therefore must have been caused by the first. The point in the show and the point that is relevant to the Cubs, is that this is not always true, and, in fact, it often is not true.

In the world of the Cubs, Mark DeRosa was traded. Then the Cubs started hitting the ball poorly, ergo, many, many people have surmised, Mark DeRosa being traded was a mistake.

The reasons for the Cubs not hitting probably have very little to do with Mark DeRosa not being on the team. Mark DeRosa being traded did not (as far as we know) cause Geovany Soto to blaze up in the offeseason, gain a ton of weight, and become a less effective player.

Mark DeRosa being traded did not turn Milton Bradley from a league leader in OPS to someone we would all happily trade for Jacque Jones.

Mark DeRosa's presence on the roster probably would not have prevented Theriot from thinking he is a power hitter, Fontenot from showing his true colors as a part-time player, Aramis Ramirez from getting hurt, and Soriano going into one of the coldest cold spells that his streaky career has ever seen.

The Cubs' freefall from offensive powerhouse to rally-killing specialists almost assuredly can not be attributed to the trade of Mark DeRosa.

At the same time, a Cardinals offense that requires Mark DeRosa to bat CLEANUP will not be propelled to greatness with his sheer presence. They are surely better with him, as the Cubs would have been better with him instead of Aaron Miles, but the acquisition of Mark DeRosa isn't going to win the World Series for the Cardinals.

If the Cardinals land Matt Holliday, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, or any other player of all-star quality to put alongside Pujols, then we can start shaking in our We Believe bracelets. Until that time, the world is not ending (my last post was meant to be satire, but has been misintrepreted at about the same rate as the Bible from which I stole the framework), and the division remains inconceivably winnable.

Be frustrated, be pissed, be whatever you want, but don't try and tell me that the Cubs' failure is because of Mark DeRosa.


Arnold said...

Misintrepreted at about the same rate as the Bible?  Wow, your readership has grown since the last time I checked in!  :)

Tim McGinnis said...

Percentage - not quantity of readers.  But maybe I should see if anyone wants to tithe to the Aisle 424 Season ticket fund.

Guest said...

Its clear what caused Geovany Soto to gain a ton of weight and become a less effective player. The munchies. -- Seat 106

waxpaperbeercup said...

players gotta play tim. it really is that simple. all of the soap opera shit aside, these guys have to hit the baseball. with risp they should be able to muster a better average than the lowly nats. with or without derosa there is too much talent for this shit to happen as long as it has happened.

Tim McGinnis said...

Absolutely.  Unfortunately, I think you nailed it almost a month ago when you called this a .500 team.  (

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