Great events are decided by trifles. Scholars, of course, won’t have it so. Policies, they say, and the subtly laid schemes of statesmen, are what influence the destiny of nations; the opinions of intellectuals, the writings of philosophers, settle the fate of mankind. Well, they may do their share, but in my experience the course of history is as often settled by someone having a belly-ache, or not sleeping well, or a sailor getting drunk, or some aristocratic harlot wraggling her backside.—Harry Flashman
Those not familiar with George MacDonald Fraser‘s series of historical novels—ostensibly, the “papers” of Harry Flashman, nonpareil rogue of the British empire—would do well to get acquainted with these works of genius, from which the above quote is purloined. (Specifically, it is from the first page of the second volume, Royal Flash.) We quote it here because it seems so applicable to baseball. Luck. Chance. Fate. The random act. How easy it is for the best laid plans (of Theo! of Cash!) to be dashed by a flukey play or circumstance. But maybe that’s what makes the game interesting. Something to keep in mind over the next week, as we’re all studying our stat sheets, PECOTA projections, and other analytical tools so we can better predict the fortunes of our favored franchises as the season is set to begin.