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Do You Believe in Miracles? (the Rich Harden story)


When Al Michaels famously said "Do you believe in miracles?" after TeamUSA beat the Russians in the 1980 Olympic hockey game, I responded, "No."  It was a rhetorical question, but probability and statistics rule our lives.

But to quote Trillian, (my girlfriend Zooey Deschanel), "It's not impossible, just highly improbable."

When it comes to decisions which really affect my life, my career, my family, I'm conservative with my predictions, when it comes to the A's, I can sustain a certain level of disbelief.  If I propose the A's can win 90 games this year, and really they only win 85, what's the big deal?  I still had a fun time rooting for them.  Only one team jumps around at the end of the WS, I hope it's my team, but if not, I'll have fun rooting for them anyway.  

Then we get to Rich Harden.  Can I bend my world view enough to believe he can be valuable?  I really really want to believe.  If you look at his K/9 IP numbers over his career, Rich is awesome.  He would be 4th on the BR active list if he had 600 IP.  He has had multiple years with over 10 K/9 IP.  One year he topped a list I saw in the Bill James Almanac "Number of pitches thrown above 95 mph."  

I have always loved watching him out there, I remember once Ken Korach saying "when you watch Rich Harden pitch, his stuff is just electric.  You believe he could go out and throw a no hitter every time out."

Now Rich Harden is 29, and I get an update he has stiffness in his lats.  Shit.  My ability to believe he can be the 5th starter is getting stretched awfully thin.  I remember when he was traded, I said, "good riddance, you've let me down too many times."  There's a tiny tiny slice of me that can still believe in him, but if it was a pizza pie chart of what do to if you found a million dollars it would be the slice that says "give it back".  I want the "keep it."

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