On Expectations, Disappointment, and the 2010 Mariners


The 2010 Mariners season could serve as a guidebook for failing your expectations. This team didn’t just fail, they absolutely tanked. It’s not often that a team gets picked by many to win their division, then goes on to lose 100 games, but it’s happened to the Mariners twice in the last three years. When you think about it, this team could have won another 20 games, and the 2010 season would probably still be viewed as a disappointment by many. However, such a large gap between expectations and results makes it even more painful. I’ve put together a little chart to illustrate what I mean.

High ExpectationsLow Expectations
Good ResultJoyEnd of season parade around Safeco Field
Mediocre ResultDisappointmentCautious optimism
Terrible ResultMiseryApathy

As you can see, when you go into the year with high expectations, two out of your three possible outcomes are bound to leave you feeling shitty. Those aren’t real good odds. Does this mean we should always keep out expectations low? Well, that would be the easiest way to avoid getting hurt, but I still say no. When you resort to that, you might as well be a Pirates fan, or a Royals fan – now sure, fans of perennially terrible teams tend to be entertaining and knowledgeable, but how excited could they possibly be about each approaching season? They have no reason to ever be above “cautious optimism” on that chart, and they don’t expect to be.

My point is, baseball can be a cruel mistress, and time and time again, it’s going to hurt us as fans. However, the Mariners aren’t completely hopeless as an organization, and eventually, we’re going to be rewarded for our patience. So please, keep your expectations (reasonably) high when appropriate, and don’t let yourself fall into apathy. This is the game we all love, and sometimes we have to be able to take the good with the bad.