I’m not gonna do…what everybody thinks I’m gonna do…and use that most overused cliché line of all time, derived from Charles Dicken’s famous piece of literature, Great Expectations.
I could, seeing as how the Rockies have had a roller coaster of a season, but I’m still not gonna use that line, gosh darn it.
I just want to talk about how the Rockies had great expectations going into the season, and now that they are mired in mediocrity at 45-50, that’s the main reason fans are so disappointed. The Rockies were expected to make the playoffs, and it’s going to take another historic push to complete that feat.
That’s the funny thing about expectations. They completely change perception. Ten years ago, if the Rockies were hovering just below .500 after 95 games, it would have been business as usual, and basically acceptable in the eyes of Rockies country. The Rockies used to be a team nobody expected to make any noise come playoff time, so mediocre seasons weren’t perceived as large disappointments.
But now, since the Rockies have been to the postseason twice in the last five years, and even made an appearance in the World Series in 2007, expectations have changed. The bar has been raised. The Rockies have gained national relevance. More is expected from them, and that’s why this season is both unacceptable and disappointing for Rockies fans.
Every team has the same goal – to win the World Series. But it would be foolhardy to say every team has the same expectations.
Lets scan around the league, and see how expectations differ.
Take the Yankees for instance. They are expected to win it all every year. Given the media scrutiny in New York City and their mega payroll, anything less than a championship is considered a failure. Bottom line. They are 55-37. Very respectable. Fourth best in the league in fact. But they are still in second place in the AL East, barely trailing the Boston Red Sox. That doesn’t get it done in the eyes of Yankees fans.
The Pirates, on the other hand, are in second place in the AL Central, and their fans are elated. At 49-44, they are on pace to have their first winning season in a mind-bogging 17 years. Pirates’ fans don’t expect their team to win the World Series. They are just happy to see their team contending. Clint Hurdle apparently knows how to put a team on the map.
The Diamondbacks are another team that is exceeding expectations. They were picked by many experts to finish near the bottom of the NL West. Instead, Kirk Gibson has them playing good baseball, and they are in the hunt at 51-44.
The Phillies are the National League’s version of the Yankees. With an almost unfair arsenal of all-star pitchers complimenting their potent line-up, they are pretty much expected to win every series. At 59-35, they are right where they want to be. But if they don’t win it all, the fickle Philly fans will be frowning.
How about the poor Cubs? At 38-58, its looks to be another season lost. But after over a century of disappointing seasons, North-side Chicago fans must be desensitized to losing at this point. You have to hand it to the Cubs fans though. They still show up in droves to support their loveable losers.
The Red Sox used to be in the same boat as the Cubs. They had not won the World Series since 1918. But they broke through in 2004, and have been a perennial playoff powerhouse since. After finally escaping the curse of the Bambino, the expectations for the Boston Red Sox have skyrocketed to championship proportions.
In a city like Cleveland, there are not championship proportions. The Indians haven’t won it all since 1948. But they are currently in a dogfight in the AL Central with the Tigers, keeping their fans enthused and excited.
For Rockies fans, it’s tough to get excited about a team five games below .500. But the rising expectations are a step in the right direction. They are considered underachievers at this point because they have achieved a good measure of success in the recent past. The Rockies are no longer an afterthought or a doormat. They are a legit team with a young core of talent, that should contend for seasons to come.
They have just not lived up to their great expectations this season. Damn you Charles Dickens.
Contact the writer, Zach Cohn, at firstname.lastname@example.org.