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Zack Greinke will not be jinxed

No jinx, just regression to the mean


Royals' ace Zack Greinke is going to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and of course, someone has to mention the alleged jinx:

"I just want to play and not deal with all of the other stuff," Greinke said. "But I know that you have to deal with it. And there's getting to be a lot more now. But, really, I don't care about any of that award stuff anymore. It just doesn't matter."

Greinke's reluctance is not directed at Sports Illustrated. He now generally only talks to the media on those days when he pitches. It has nothing to do with any possible SI jinx?

"They have a jinx?" he asked.

No, they don't. As Sports Illustrated itself noted, athletes tend to make the cover of Sports Illustrated when they, you know, do something worthy of making the cover of Sports Illustrated, and that usually means playing really, really, well. As a result, it is almost inevitable that they will decline in the future as no one this side of Michael Jordan makes an SI Cover and then gets better. The decline looks like a jinx only to those folks who don't really understand how sports work, as well as those who don't understand the difference between correlation and causation.

Greinke is right now riding a wave in which he has gone 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 29 innings over four starts and has not allowed an earned run in 43 innings. Of course he's going to regress a bit, and likely pretty soon. When he does it will be the law of averages -- not Sports Illustrated -- that will be to blame.