On Expectations

After the Orioles’ sweep over the Yankees I wrote a post called “The psychology of winning,” then life happened and I didn't get a chance to post it. Basically it was about how this team simply knows how to win. They aren't fazed by the great Yankee mystique anymore and, while the Yankee lineup is terrible, it represented a psychological milestone for this team.

Since then, the Orioles lost a series against a woeful Chicago White Sox team and have dropped two to that very same Yankee team who is riding a six game winning streak coming into today. The Orioles’ bats this week have largely been silent and they have lost each of their last three games by one run. Two of those losses came in the ninth inning as late inning relief has faltered.

Today I woke up to a blog post over at Orioles Hangout entitled: “Sinking Ship.” And the boards are littered with threads foretelling the coming doom of the franchise. Some even go as far to postulate that Buck Showalter is losing the clubhouse.

My God.

The common response you get when you challenge people that hold these beliefs is: “Winning brings higher expectations.”

Well that’s just super.

The problem with expectations is this: they don’t mean jack and if expectations like this will mean that you are going to lose it after every bump in the road then you need to re-evaluate how you follow baseball and the world.

I am growing very weary of reading people lose their biscuits every time something bad happens with this team. Ladies and gentlemen, this is baseball. It is a game of failure, streaks happen both good and bad, one game at a time, [Bull Durham quote here], etc. etc. Yes these have been three very frustrating losses and you know what? There will likely be many more frustrating losses to come. But odds are there will be a much greater number of wins and I am confident that most people will look at these over-dramatic convulsions of doom-saying and laugh.

But, I do recognize the fact that I may be wrong and perhaps the 2013 Orioles are doomed and this is the beginning of the end. Perhaps the sky is actually falling and I should not be mocking the Chicken Little’s of Birdland. Which brings me to my last bit on expectations.

Okay, you expect the Orioles to compete for a championship, again that’s just super, but what will happen if hey fall short of those expectations? How about dramatically short of those expectations? Will the writhing masses shun the team, burn the memorabilia, and flagellate themselves as punishment for ever having faith in the first place? Likely not. I sincerely doubt anyone with such “high expectations” will automatically disown this team if the season does end up a disappointment. And if my theory is correct and a disappointing baseball season will have no direct impact on the quality of one’s life then why so serious? It is a game people.

I love this team as much as the next guy. Those that know me know me as first and foremost as an Orioles fan (teacher, husband and primate fall in somewhere behind on the list) but I just can’t get that worked up over it. And I am certainly not going to lose my mind over a bad week of baseball in early July.

Everyone take a breath. That wasn't the car exploding, it was just a bump in the road.