“If I would’ve told you in April that the Tribe would only be a few games back in August with a shot at the Wild Card, you’d have taken it, right?”
(Yes, yes I would’ve).
What about this:
“If I would’ve told you in April that the Tribe would go 1-6 over a seven game homestand in August that would take them out of contention for the division, you’d be rightfully pissed, no?”
You don’t hear that one as much.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jon’s piece on perspective. The Tribe has improved from last year and they are playing meaningful games late in the season. This is good and much better than they’ve been in recent years. They also crapped the bed in what was possibly their biggest homestand of the season. This is… not so good. Somehow the 2013 Indians have accomplished the rare feat of both exceeding expectations and being thoroughly disappointing.
The real culprit in all of this is hope. Hope changes our expectations. Sure, we can recognize that Tribe has greatly improved from the last few seasons, but their improvement gave us hope that the division was actually in reach. Expectations changed. Then the Tigers showed up and hopes were dashed. Disappointment reigned.
As the saying goes, “expectations are just premeditated resentments”.
Keeping that perspective is hard.
Personally, the most frustrating Cavs game last season was their late season 98-95 loss to the Miami Heat.
Realistically, this shouldn’t have been the case. Entering the game, the Cavs’ record was 22-45 and they had lost seven of their past nine. Meanwhile, Miami’s record stood at 52-14 and they had won 23 straight games heading into The Q. These teams weren’t close on talent and were heading in vastly different directions. This game wasn’t expected to be close and a Miami blowout wouldn’t have been shocking.
Expectations were low.
It was a weird game. You had a scoreboard malfunction that delayed the start of the contest. You had a fan run out on the court begging LeBron to come back to the Cavs. Oh,and the Cavs blew a 27 point lead in a blink of an eye.
Once again, I blame hope.
With the Cavs up big early on, there was hope that they, of all teams, could be the ones to snap Miami’s historic winning streak. How sweet it would be to see LeBron’s streak snapped at The Q. It could’ve been a lone, majestic bright spot in an otherwise dismal lottery season.
Expectations had changed.
But as these things tend to go, Miami made a run. The Heat turned up their defensive activity, forced some turnovers, made some threes, and erased the large Cavalier advantage. The 27 point had lead evaporated and Miami had taken control. With three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, LeBron and company had built at nine point lead (95-86) and it looked like the Heat were going to win the game going away.
The Cavs had nearly a 30 point second-half lead and it looked like they were going to lose by double digits. Expectations had changed again and depression was settling in.
But the Cavs came back. They didn’t wilt over the final three minutes. They got some stops, Wayne Ellington made a three and Tristan Thompson hit some (left handed) free throws and suddenly Cavs had the ball with 26 seconds left, down 96-95. They had a chance to win the game.
Wayne Ellington took a terrible three with five seconds to go, Miami got the rebound, hit some free throws and CJ Miles missed a game-tying three as time expired. Ball game, Heat 98, Cavs 95.
I was pissed. I was pissed I watched the Cavs blow a 27 point lead. I was pissed that Byron Scott didn’t seem to mind that much 1 . I was pissed they blew a chance to snap Miami’s win steak. I was pissed that, while down a point with under a minute to go, they chose the “bench player step back three” as their go-to move. It was frustrating. It felt like I had watched them lose twice.
After the loss, I heard a lot of people saying things in the vein of, “hey, if I would’ve told you before the game that Cavs would’ve had the ball with a chance to win late in the game you would’ve taken it.”
Well, sure. But expectations changed.
One can both recognize that your expectations were exceeded (they lost by not as much!) while still being profoundly disappointed (they blew a 27 point lead while I got up to make a sandwich!). It’s the same with the Tribe. You can recognize that the Tribe has a better season than expected, while also losing your sh*t over a 1-6 homestand that all but gave the Central Division to the Tigers.
What kills me is that expectations that Cleveland fans hold for their teams are fairly low. We’re looking for adequacy. WFNY’s unofficial poll of Browns fans has the team going 9-7 next season. 9-7! Is that optimistic? Sure it is! Considering a bunch of homer fans picked them to finish above average 2 , that’s not too wildly optimistic. With the Tribe, all most of us are hoping for is meaningful games in September. Crazy stuff. Meaningful baseball games throughout the entire season. As for the Cavs… I imagine if you polled the CavsZine4 writers, you’d find us hoping they’ll finish around .500 (maybe even a little higher if all those guys who never stay healthy can stay healthy).
But expectations change. The goals for April might not be the goals for August. Competing with the defending champs isn’t quite moral victory after you let them sneak away with a win. 9-7 might not look the same after a 5-0 start.
Cleveland fans haven’t seen a playoff game since 2010; our expectations are fairly low at the moment. Keeping perspective can be healthy and good, but in-the-moment disappointment will always be tough to swallow.
But hope always leads to more expectations. And those expectations inevitably change.
- hey, Luke Walton looks like he’s pooping his pants and your team is imploding, call a time out please! [back]
- I’ll settle for “Not Embarrassing to Watch in Public,” please. [back]