I’m no pro at baby-rearing: I’ve just been babysitting my four-month-old nephew for a week-plus. But, that week coincided with opening weekend, and so an interesting parallel was born. The teams that were supposed to contend – they are not unlike crying babies. There are only four basic approaches to mellowing out a crying baby, this semi-expert says.
Feed the Baby
In this case, feed the baby with information about why the team will right ship. Talk about sample sizes and fluke in-game occurrences. Empty the bottle of its contents: reason based on precedent. Point out that we’re only about 2.5% of the way into the season, and what that might look like in another sport – half-way through the first game in an NFL season, for example. Keep feeding until the baby is sated, and then burp them so they don’t get indigestion.
Change the Baby
Maybe the team did mess itself. I mean, the Red Sox went into Texas and got swept. Poor pitching, poor defense, poor hitting – one big, dirty diaper can make for high-decibel emoting from the baby. Changing the diaper might mean some sort of small move at low volume (cooing) – a defensive shift, perhaps, or a fifth starter role change – or it might mean having a short memory. Take the diaper off, wipe the butt, and move on to the next series. The baby doesn’t remember that he just exploded in his pants once the pants are gone, so everyone should try and forget a bad series in like manner.
Put the Baby to Sleep
In this case, it’s all about being soothing. Yes, it’s terrible that the team showed its flaws so soon. But they’re a good team! They still have Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder, Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke will get better, it’s okay. It’ll be fine. Start singing a song to distract them – my nephew particularly enjoyed the Batman song, for instance. Point out some other strengths of the team, or mitigating circumstances for the problems that the team encountered. Distraction is key, so if you can find some sort of story about player bonding sessions or wild and wacky pranks being played, this isn’t a bad time to deploy.
Entertain the Baby
Sometimes the baby is just mad that he’s seen too much of one thing. Lo and behold, we have a new series starting up now, so new competition will be like a switch in toys. Don’t like Captain Calimari any more? Well, how about Playful Panda! He plays song if you pull that thing in his butt! Boston didn’t like its’ Texas toy, but should be fine playing with its’ Cleveland toy early this week. Momentum is just the name of a chewed-up baby toy, and is only as important as this week’s opponent, in other words.
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