I started a thread last year that several of you enjoyed, so I'll bring it back for this year. For those who are new or didn't see it last year, it's basically a way I've always broken down the season into a golf scorecard.
There are 162 games in a season, and 18 holes on a golf course. If you divide 162 by 18, you get 9. That means that every nine games the Reds play is the equivalent of one hole of golf. Next, we need to establish par. If you watch a tournament, even par isn't going to be good enough to win, but it will probably have you on the leaderboard on Sunday and you'll probably cash a nice check. In baseball terms, I figured that number to be about 90 wins...not going to be enough to make the playoffs in most seasons, but probably going to have you in the chase through most of September and probably keep your fans relatively happy. So, if 90 wins is "par", we just divide 90 by our 18 holes and get 5. That means if the Reds go 5-4 over a nine game stretch, they get a par. 6-3 would be a birdie, 4-5 a bogey, etc.
I started doing this when I was younger as a way to keep an even keel throughout the season, much like I realized I needed to keep an even keel on the golf course. How many times do you make a double or triple bogey and then wind up wasting the next couple of holes because your head is still ticked off about that putt you just missed? I started playing better golf when I learned to let the bad shots disappear and focus instead on only the next shot. Today, I can make a double bogey and calm myself by reminding myself that I'm still on track to reach my goal for the day.
Similarly, last night's victory in Arizona completes 2007's first hole with a par (5-4). It would be easy to get upset about how it should have been a birdie (or maybe even an eagle), but I also remind myself that par is a good number, it keeps us on track with my overall goal for the season, and now I can just focus on the next game, series, and hole. That's not to say I wasn't upset on Monday and Tuesday nights, or that I won't be thinking of those games when we're 1 game out in mid September. I'm just saying this segmentation of the schedule helps me keep a positive outlook. Would have been nice to get an opening birdie, but you give me 17 more pars, and I'll take my chances in September.