PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For years, I've told fans that spring training records mean absolutely nothing. For years, I've trotted out the 1984 Tigers' experience, since they went directly from an 11-17 spring into a record 35-5 start when it counted.
Spring training records mean nothing. So why do I care that the Astros are now 1-16-3?
Well, I don't. Not that much, anyway.
But the Astros sure aren't making it easy to defend them. They looked every bit of 1-16-3 in today's 12-1 loss to the Mets. You can't even blame this one on minor leaguers, because the Astros brought a representative lineup to Port St. Lucie for the game (Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada, among others), and they still looked absolutely awful.
"The fans, I'm sure they're in full panic mode," Berkman said.
What about Berkman? He's an outstanding player, and from the looks of things he's stuck with one terrible team.
Except he insists that's not the way he looks at it.
"I think this [record] is an anomaly," Berkman said. "I'm not the least bit concerned. As long as we stay healthy, our front-line guys are as good as anyone in the league. So I think we're going to be fine.
"I put zero stock in it. If we were 15-1, does that make us World Series favorites? These games are meaningless."
I agree with that. I've always believed that. I know that the White Sox had the American League's worst spring record last year, and they won the American League Central. I know the Mets had the National League's worst spring record in 2007, and while they didn't win the division, they should have (and they did win 88 games).
I know spring training records mean absolutely nothing. I also know that 1-16-3 looks ridiculously bad, and right now, so do the Astros.
"We can't have a good spring now, so we might as well lose the rest of them, too," Berkman joked. "Then when we get to the regular season, we'll be owed a lot of wins."
By the way, if you're wondering who the Astros beat, it was the Nationals, in the very first game of the spring.