12.Jun.2011 Two Points about the Baseball Season
Today, many Beaver fans are reflecting on the season, saying things like, "It was a great ride, we exceeded expectations" and "we were picked 8th, so this is all icing on the cake."
While I do agree it was an enjoyable ride, these fans are missing two key points:
1. Expectations can change over the course of a season.
This is true of anything, not just sports. When a kid takes up guitar, do his parents proclaim, "He is the next Jimi Hendrix!"? Probably not. But maybe after hearing him play a bit, they realize the kid has talent. They may have had low expectations to begin with, but once talent was demonstrated their expectations were adjusted accordingly. This idea seems lost on many fans. They keep repeating the (flawed) idea that since expectations were low in February they should be equally low in June, and the baseball team was simply exceeding these static expectations. In reality, what happened is that collective expectations were raised as the team showed talent, won games, and earned reassessment. This is normal; trying to justify yesterday's elimination using arguments about pre-season expectations isn't.
2. Pundits are often wrong. They were wrong to pick us 8th. Beaver fans should laugh at how wrong the pundits were instead of using the pundits opinions as a gauge or justification of this season's success.
In closing, sure, it was a great year. Back in February, I thought the team would be good (somewhere around 4th in the Pac-10), but not good enough to host a regional or travel to a Super Regional. After the ASU sweep, I felt the chemistry was so good the team could win a National Championship. Once my expectations were that high, I began to nitpick every detail and saw flaws (like no #2 starter, slow/station to station offense, etc) and once again adjusted my opinion. It is okay to change opinions as you observe or receive more data. This is a point lost on many.
The Beavers season ended where I thought it would. I predicted a win in regional, and their being swept in the Super Regional. This wasn't rocket science. It was just a guy taking an objective, realistic view of the team and then determining the most probable outcome (i.e. sure, they could have won, but that scenario was less probable than losing).
Beaver fans need to understand that expectations change over time. Time can be a year, a decade, or in this case, a few months. If you look at it like this, the season ended exactly where it should have. In other words, the team met our adjusted expectations. It's probably the reason the realists (translation: people who read this blog) aren't heartbroken this morning. I just wish more fans were keen observers, as it would eliminate a lot of the excuses, blather, bickering, and vomit-inducing "feel good" reflections such as "it was a great ride, we exceeded expectations!"