Rachel Levitin: Context, not one loss, defines an entire season

Life’s pretty busy these days, what with the constant news cycle, work weeks that extend beyond 40 hours even if they shouldn’t and the general buzz-buzz-buzz attitude that American culture unintentionally employs upon its citizens. That’s why it makes sense that busy folks would be baseball fans.

Here’s my logic:

It’s a long season. There are at least 162 games in a season. That allows fans the opportunity to catch up if a game or two (or more) just so happen to be missed. And - just to crank out a recent example of a game that would’ve been a good one to miss - how about last week’s 11-10 loss in the 11th inning to the Braves.

The loss was a rough one. There’s no denying that. But that singular loss is of no consequence. If anything, it’s a solid reminder of days gone by in NatsTown combined with the truth: Those losses are going to happen no matter what team you’re on in baseball. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Astros, Yankees or Nationals - losses happen, even ghastly ones.

Why even bring all this up? Fans obviously erupted with a bit of disgust (especially over Twitter) about the game. But if put into context, that loss isn’t a bad thing. Rather, it’s a to-be-expected outcome.

To quote the 1988 movie Bull Durham, “It’s a long season and you gotta trust it.”

It’s all about perspective, so let’s shine some light on it: As it stands, the Nationals are sitting atop the National League East in July with a 57-39 record. If they split their average at .500 the rest of the way, Washington will still win 90 games in 2012. In 2008 and 2009, the Nats won 59 games each season.

All I’d really like to get across here is that instead of dwelling on the agonizing details of singular games gone by, take a look back at the context of each season and apply it to the present for context’s sake. The overall takeaway from a complete season of Major League Baseball isn’t defined by a singular game but rather moments strung along the way that ultimately combine to create the story of the season.

The good news is that the story so far is a cumulative tale describing years of patience, planning, talent and strategic execution of plans put in motion.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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