Expectations Redux

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about the increased expectations for the 2013 Orioles after the great 2012 run.  

After last nights 8-3 loss to Seattle, it's as good of a time as ever to talk about expectations.  The loss to Seattle, a much improved team, produced the third series loss of 2013 for the O's.  Perusing Twitter and blogs this morning, I read a lot of comments from fans that are unreasonable and/or short sighted.   

"This loss is why I am mad about losing to the A's on Sunday."

"If we can't beat the Mariners and the Twins, how are we going to compete?"

"The Yankees and Red Sox just keep on winning."

By definition, a fan of anything is "fanatical."  Fanatical is defined as "filled with excessive and single-minded zeal."  When you put so much energy, attention, and devotion into something, you obviously want a positive return.  It's like that in many facets of life.  But it's also wise to know that in most cases, the term "fanatical" is not positive.  What are the people who stalk celebrities called?  Fanatics.  Who sets off small bombs on street corners throughout the Middle East?  Fanatics.

If you expect certain outcomes to occur, regardless of the circumstances surrounding them, you are being set up for failure.  Last year after the All Star Break, the Orioles dropped to 45-42, putting them in third place behind the Yankees and Rays.  What happened after that?  Lots of wins, enough for 93 total to close the season.  

But it didn't happen because of a blown game in April against the Athletics or a series loss on the road in Seattle in the midst of a grueling 11 game, 11 day west coast road trip.  

Individual wins and losses don't define a team.  That's hard to understand, especially in today's society where individual results are portrayed as the be all, end all.  

"But Tim, this team has deeper issues and I think the season is lost."

My initial response is to ask why you have become a Red Sox or Yankee type fan.  Overly negative when something goes bad and overly positive when something goes right.  

I would also say that this is a deep organization, with lots of resources.  Tsuyoshi Wada and Kevin Gausman will be available in June to shore up starting pitching issues.  The bats haven't been a problem and I really don't see them being any more of an issue than they were last year.  The increased walks throughout April are a positive trend.  But even if that becomes an issue, remedies are available to solve the problem.

I'll be the first to admit that I like the quick fix as much as anyone.  A win always feels better than a loss.  No doubt about that.  In the end, it's patience and a willingness to let the season play out (for better or worse) that make baseball so much different (and in my opinion, better) than football, basketball, and hockey.