For a good part of the last 2 months I have been very down on the Tigers. I could not pinpoint what it was but they just were not a fun team to watch. The wins they had felt just as emotionally taxing as the losses they accumulated. I will admit to even falling into the “Great, its 2008” crowd a few times. I forgot how long the baseball season was though. I forgot that everything can change over the course of 162 games for a team that has real talent on it. Simply put, I forgot that the Tigers could be good and could be fun.
When we are on a certain path we often tend to think that path will continue. It seems to be human nature. If things are going great, we rarely think of the downside. Surely this will continue we think to ourselves, how could it not? I am doing everything right, I am on the right course, life is good. How could the Tigers lose a game that Justin Verlander pitches in? We are down by 2, no problem, the top of the order is up, the Tigers will get that lead back. When things are going poorly then we can’t see how they will ever change. We tend to have tunnel vision. Sure, we say “if this happens and if this happens, and if this happens, then maybe things will get turned around”. How often do we believe in the what-if until it becomes reality? sometimes we get our hopes up and often times when we do they are popped by the pins of reality. The bases are loaded and there isn’t anyone out – how can the Tigers NOT score the 2 runs they need? Well, by hitting into a fielders choice and then a double play…or by hitting a sac fly, striking out, and then a weak grounder to the 2nd baseman who flips it to first for the easy out. The bullpen has blown the last 2 games, they are bound to turn around….or not.
In baseball, trends continue, but they also stop – just like in life. Just because today is good/bad doesn’t mean tomorrow will be too. Just because Prince Fielder struck out the last time he faced this pitcher doesn’t mean he will this time too. Quintin Berry is perfect in stolen bases…but he might get caught the next time. The simple reality is that we never really know what will happen – in life or in baseball. We can either enjoy the ride or hide our heads and wait for the inevitable doom that will show up. After all, even the best things are not perfect.
Right now, the Tigers are in 1st place. In a funny way, this is both expected and shocking. Its why they play the games. Our lives are the same way. We have to play the game to see what will happen. We cannot expect things to turn out a certain way – we need to work towards those goals. The Tigers were never going to be handed 1st place…even though that is how many in the media and our fan-base acted during Spring Training. They are working towards meeting the goals and expectations that we all had for them. They could succeed or they could fail. While the result matters, perhaps the more important part is the journey, not the destination.