If only everyone would have that same philosophy. In my opinion, the enjoyment of baseball is completely sucked out by those who feel the need to make predictions. The expectation that fans have, is created purely to satisfy themselves, and most times is unrealistic. Why can’t we just watch a game, and take it for what it is intended to provide? Entertainment. If your team has to win 10-0 every night for you to consider it successful, and therefore, enjoyable…then you are watching the wrong sport.
Case in point: My White Sox are on the road against Tampa Bay, who have a great home record, and are sending an emerging young stud pitcher to the mound named David Price. His record is 7-1, and his ERA is low…the Chicago team is sending their aging #5 starter to the hill, who was absolutely lit up in his last outing to the tune of 7 runs (including 3 very long balls) in only 2+ innings of work, he was a disaster. Add to this, that last night the Sox lost 5-1, and quite frankly looked like zombies. The team was uninspired, and nobody is expecting this team to do anything dramatic for the remainder of the season, let alone put up much of a fight against the class of the AL so far this season. Why even bother tuning in, right? But, hidden in this gloomy scenario however, is a room full of professionals who obviously hadn’t yet gotten the memo that their season was over, and that the only other team to beat young David Price this year, was their own.
So, just when you thought the outcome (based on the expectation of what was going to happen) was already decided…the opposite happens. Freddy Garcia, with all of the guile, and experience that has earned him the nickname of “Big Game Freddy” goes out an basically shuts down one of the more potent offenses in all of MLB. With a fastball topping out at (maybe) 85mph, and a bevy of other off-speed “junk”, he keeps the Rays off balance and at bay for 7 strong innings. Meanwhile, the White Sox put up just enough offense with a couple of homers (one from an unlikely source, Ramon Castro’s 1st of the year) to pull out a nice, solid team win against a very good team, and on the road to boot. The formula for unlikely success on this given night was: Strong starting pitching, solid relief pitching out of the pen, and some timely big hits. Was it a masterpiece? Not exactly, but the point is: IT NEVER NEEDS TO BE ONE.
Tonight is a new game, a new opportunity to build on a solid win and the outcome is in doubt, unless of course you have an expectation of what “should happen”. My advice? Just watch, and enjoy what you see. Baseball has a very long season, and although each game counts and in its own right is important, it is most certainly very unpredictable. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, the opposite usually happens.