T-shirt #203 - Detroit Tigers Baseball Club - Orange
Expectations are the root of many problems with relationships. I know many of you already know about this problem. But I believe that thinking over this territory is always a useful exercise.
I spend a lot of time examining my expectations. Often, when I have a reaction to something, no matter where it falls on the positive-negative spectrum, I examine my expectations as I analyze my reaction. If I am having a negative feeling, then was this reaction produced because my expectations were not met? But even if I have a positive reaction, I wonder about expectations. Were my expectations fulfilled? How can I have these expectations fulfilled again in the same way so as to produce the same positive feeling?
Given the way the world is full of disappointments, I try to temper my expectations when it comes to things like sports. Setting my expectations too high can set the stage for misery, as I suffered with the Tigers last year or as I suffered with the Pistons in 2005. After many sleepless nights in 2005 as the Pistons lost Game Seven of the NBA Finals, I swore not to take sports so seriously, and so far, I sleep even if the Tigers lose.
Expectations for the Detroit Tigers this year were far too high. After last year's run to the World Series and the team's crushing defeat, the only reasonable expectation according to most people for this year would be to return to the World Series and win it all. But winning the World Series is not an easy task. Winning any sporting championship is a special and difficult accomplishment. Winning the World Series is surely no more difficult than NBA or NHL finals or even the Super Bowl, but it's no easier either.
Though the Detroit Tigers did not quite dominate their division and the entire American League as many expected they would give their talent level, they did lead the AL Central for most of the season, though hardly by a wide margin. They clinched the AL title much later than most other teams in other divisions. Though they flirted with reaching the best record in the AL, they were outplayed by the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox, but not by a lot. The Red Sox won 97 games and the Athletics won 96 games compared to the 93 games won by the Detroit Tigers.
The Red Sox scored more runs than the Tigers in the 2013 regular season (853-796), hit more home runs (178-176), had a higher on base percentage (.349-.346). The Tigers led in hits (1625-1566). But even with Boston leading several offensive categories, the Tigers were very close in two of the categories I listed. The Athletics were hardly offensively dominant. Tigers hit the ball way more often (1625-1403), scored more runs (796-767), and were on base more often (.346-.327). However, surprisingly, the Athletics hit more home runs (186-176) and hit more doubles (301-292).
Though the Tigers dominated the majors in strikeouts (1428 with the Indians as the closest second with 1379), the Athletics were better in pitching with ERA (3.56-3.61), Walks allowed (428-462), Hits allowed (1339-1369), and WHIP (1.22-1.25). Still the statistical variance on some of those categories is very small. The Athletics may have led in ERA and WHIP but not by very much. And given that the Athletics got to play Houston more often than the Tigers did, it's no surprise that they won three more games.
Oakland has an edge in the season record 3-4 and now with the post-season added 5-6. Oakland was 52-29 at home this year compared to the Tigers road record of 42-39.
Once again, like last year, the Tigers are playing a Game Five in Oakland to win the ALDS or go home. Just like last year, Justin Verlander takes the mound. There has been plenty of chatter about how JV has not been as dominant this year as in past years, but he ranks sixteenth in the AL in ERA with only one single Athletic starter above him (Colon). He's fourth in Strikeouts. And he dominated the Athletics in Game Two, a game the Tigers should have won. Hardly a disappointing season. And yet, some people's expectations for JV are so far out of whack that there's been disappointment in his season so far.
Likewise, The expectations for the Tigers have been out of whack. World Series or bust? Even if the Tigers lose tonight, they had a very successful season and have the pieces in place to make another run next year. The Tigers are taking their best shot tonight. I do not love the anxiety produced by win or go home games. But I must admit that the games are incredibly thrilling, especially if the Tigers win as they did in spectacular fashion Tuesday, with a home run by another player for whom expectations were a bit out of whack, Victor Martinez, but who turned it up a notch in the second half the season and finished strong.
As for expectations, people need to examine the situation. Baseball is not like marriage in which another person can be relied upon to act a certain way, to treat his/her partner a certain way. Baseball is not even like a job in which interpersonal communications skills and teamwork strategies dictate how well work is accomplished. Baseball is a dynamic system full of chaos and chance, affected by luck and superstition. It's never been a sure thing that the Tigers will win, and being too sure of a win is a certain way to jinx it.
Let's all take a deep breath, temper our expectations, and then cheer like HELL.
I am making no predictions and delivering no trash talk about tonight's game. I want to see a Tigers win, obviously. But it will be what it will be.
- chris tower - 1310.10 - 8:41
365 T-shirts - the reasoning
This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.
I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.
I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.
When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.
The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.
I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.
Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)