After last night’s game, the Brewers have played 12.34567% of their season (Seriously.) The portion of an iceberg visible above water is typically one-ninth of the total volume, or 11%. So, in other words, we have so far literally only seen the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the Brewers’ season.
This presents something of an issue for writing about the team. If there is some sort of a unified theme to my baseball writing, it’s trying to get at the core of how we perceive and understand the game with human brains. So much of what we witness over the course of a baseball season is driven by cold statistical concepts like regression to the mean, and our brains aren’t really built to handle that. We’re much better at constructing narratives and pat explanations, and so that’s what we do, even when it’s inappropriate. I could sit here and make up stories about what I think we’ve learned about the Brewers as a team based on their performance thus far, but I don’t think we’ve learned enough to do that. I don’t think the proverbial tip of the iceberg gives me enough data to infer anything new about this team that I didn’t before the season started. So, instead of trying to do that, here’s a list of percentages roughly equivalent to the percentage of the season the team has played so far, to try to get across the idea of how small the sample is. Enjoy.
-The percentage of the human population that is left-handed
-The percentage of MLB seasons featuring the Marlins as a team
-The percentage of US residents who live in California
-The percentage of Adam Dunn’s career plate appearances which end in a single
-The percentage of adult American males under 5’6″ tall
-The percentage of whole numbers evenly divisible by 8
-The percentage of Americans who approve of how the U.S. Congress is handling its job
-The percentage of Miguel Olivo’s flyballs which were home runs in 2011
-The percentage of U.S. Internet users’ time spent on Facebook
-The percentage of the world population living in North America and Western Europe
-The percentage of websites on the Internet containing pornography
-The percentage of Protestant clergy who are female
As a closing note, the Minnesota Twins currently have the lowest winning percentage in the Major Leagues, at .250–which is more than twice as high as the percentage of the schedule the Brewers have played so far. It’s early.