Expectations Vary and Rarely Satisfy Everyone

Monday night the television show How I Met Your Mother aired it series finale and answered the long awaited cliffhanger of how the main character met the mother of his children.

Tuesday the internet was filled with reaction to the show with some viewers feeling satisfied with the fate of the characters they had invested so many years watching and others feeling cheated at the ending.

No show is ever going to please everyone so the fact that fans were divided in how they received the show should not be a surprise to anyone.

Years after it aired people in some corners of the globe are still trying to make sense of the series finale of Lost so alienated fan bases is nothing new.

For the record I was pleased with the How I Met Your Mother ending as it aligned with a prediction for the show that I had made a few years back.

The opening week of the Major League Baseball season is a time filled with great expectations for all 30 teams. Photo R. Anderson

The opening week of the Major League Baseball season is a time filled with great expectations for all 30 teams.
Photo R. Anderson

But this is not a column about my psychic powers when it comes to television shows although there are certainly enough examples of that to fill a column.

Instead this is a column about expectations. More specifically this is a column about great expectations when they come to how one’s particular baseball team will do over the course of the season.

While we will try to steer clear of Charles Dickens references in our exploration of great expectations it is a fact that many expectations exist when it comes to the start of the Major League Baseball season.

For many fans those expectations of greatness include a trip to the World Series for their favorite team.

It is a sad fact that only one out of the 30 Major League Baseball teams will be crowned World Champion in any given year.

With only two teams making it to the World Series and only one team winning it all it is a fact that 28 teams will not meet their “go to the World Series” expectation each year.

Even though the number of teams that reach the playoffs each season has been expanded over the past few years to include two Wild Card teams there is still only one team that wins the World Series each season.

Realistically not all 30 teams have a shot at making it to the World Series in any given year. To be fair only about 15 of the teams could honestly look in the mirror each year and say, “If things go our way this year we could be playing in the October Classic.”

Expectations are not always based in reality of course so there are fans for every team that feel deep down to their core that their team can make it all the way despite what the facts tell them.

The Houston Astros are coming off of a trio of 100 plus loss seasons and most people would agree that on paper they have absolutely no chance of going to the World Series this year based on the roster they have. In fact there is a very strong possibility that they will once again lose over 100 games over the course of the season.

The Houston Astros have lost over 100 games for each of the past three seasons. Most expectations for this season point towards the streak entering a fourth year. Photo R. Anderson

The Houston Astros have lost over 100 games for each of the past three seasons. Most expectations for this season point towards the streak entering a fourth year.
Photo R. Anderson

Despite those grim statistics I am sure that there is a least one fan who carries the expectation of seeing the Astros play in the World Series this year.

Call it greatly unrealistic expectations or just blind faith but that total commitment to one’s team and fanaticism can be refreshing at times even if it is not completely understood.

Even unmet expectations can carry a fan through the dark times when all else seems lost and they are in the minority opinion when it comes to the success of their team in any given year.

Consider the plight of the long suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs whose “wait ’til next next year” mantra has kept them going despite a century long drought since their last World Series appearance.

And while the Cubs have seen over 100 years go by since they were in the World Series, the Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals are the only two teams in Major League Baseball who have never been to the World Series in their history.

Even those lowly Houston Astros of the three consecutive 100-loss seasons can claim a World Series appearance.

Expectations can waver as the season goes on. Just as I am sure some fans of that certain television show may change their opinion of the finale one way or the other after giving it some thought I am sure that some baseball fans will modify their expectations for their team as the season goes on.

While the saga of How I Met Your Mother has ended, the Major League Baseball season is just beginning and there are many expectations to make over the next six months.

Expectations of winning the World Series may turn into expectations and wishes to just have a winning record depending on how injuries and other factors go for teams as the season wears on.

That is part of the fluidity of expectations both great and small. They are allowed to change and not every expectation comes true no matter how hard one wishes for it.

One expectation that I have is that it will be a good season where sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the urge to read some Dickens for some reason.

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson