2011…Summer of the letdown?

Question. How complex must some phenomenon, X, be before nobody deems one specific revolution of the sun “the time of X”? I’m not referring to the UN or whoever dubbing something “the time of X” prior to the time, to promote knowledge of X. (2011 is for forests, it looks like–I Googled.) I’m not referring to the Chinese system, either. No, I’m thinking (on one end) of 2010’s “for pitchers! for no-hitters!” discussion.

I’ve posted on this subject before. I think it’s dumb to dub 2010 the property of such constructs, if it’s still 2010. It’ll just predispose you to squinting, bending numbers so you might point, going “ooh, see! More excellent pitching!” I don’t deny it, we witnessed excellent pitching in 2010. But the gun-jumping occurred too quickly.

I’m risking committing this error, now, for I wish to point out some events which feel linked to me. Possibly not. Possibly it’s just me seeing “oh, wow, how weird these twists were!” Or “this would be so upsetting, were I on the losing end.” Or “I should blog on this result, but is there something new to point out?” I put these off for some time (except the third, which only just occurred), but I do see some kind of trend.

June Twenty-fourth through Twenty-sixth. I get some of the criticisms. “Junior versus Senior Circuit competitions will not work. The schedule is not even. You will get weird results between divisions. Don’t do it.” So, I see the need to work on preserving even schedules for such encounters.

But, the U2 rock tour pushed NL Fish out of their preferred environment, up to the other corner of the country for one series. They hit second. The pitchers hit. Senior Circuit rules…inside some Junior Circuit field. The Fish lost two of three, the third in the tenth due to Steve Cishek’s wild pitch while they were letting someone go to first uncontested. (Someone once wrote this goofy list (bottom of 81) to prohibit the suggested move of just sending people to first without throwing. Now we see why it’s truly useful!) This hurt the Fish’ home record, ESPN’s website notes, for they were the home side. Kind of. Their 2011-long ticket-holders will go to 78 contests. This is not in itself weird (you could skip some contests due to inclemency, even in their legit home), but still feels like letdowns do.

Did things get less weird for the “hosts”‘ Senior Circuit encounters?

No. No they did not.

July Third. Hosting, truly this time, fellow West Divisioners, they lost in nine innings. The only run scored in the fifth inning, with the runner on to begin with from pitcher Doug Fister’s BB. How did this occur? Fister missed the strike zone with the count seeming full. The true numbers were 2-2, the score sign being off.

I’ve been to this field. I’ve kept score there. I’ve used the electronic signs to help me (I didn’t get in on time, so needed to copy down the first few results). I decided, with no field I’ve seen since then convincing me otherwise, it is the uncontested best field for keeping score in. Plenty of helpful things.

But then this occurred.

Letdown? I’m thinking.

July Twenty-Sixth (into the morning of the twenty-seventh). Pittsburgh loses in the nineteenth inning, definitely exceeding the Boston/New York thing I posted on recently. Nine, plus nine, plus one. The kind of scoreline worth discussing just for being long. However, we discuss it due to controversy over the winning run. Not some utter blunder like the non-full full count, but something which turned out to be wrong, or possibly right in the end? We’re not sure. Third big letdown, just from those I’d kept thinking of to possibly post on.

So is 2011 the summer of the “oh, come on?” result? Could be. But I could still be rushing into things. It’s possible I only remember these for their interesting occurrences. When records get broken or blowout wins occur, those become big news–very telling, in terms of wins or losses, versus these stupid flukes. But writing’s got much to do with the funny things to pick up on, thus remembering.

One more note. You might wonder how decided to write on these results, right now? Well, when I viewed someone’s comment on some other encounter, I went, “Ooh! This gives me the theme I need to combine this fourth contest with the preceding three, to write some epic blog post!” It turns out I misinterpreted their comment. So now I’m just left with these three. Letdown four, surprisingly enough! Possibly my thoughts on this new contest will show up in other posts. Possibly not.

Cubs 4, Pittsburgh 2

Think, if you will, of the most mediocre roster to ever compete…in the NFL.

Every winter, they’d finish up with eight wins. Eight losses, too. Sometimes, it might be good enough to let them go on beyond Week 16, but they just wouldn’t win in further competition. Possibly one winter might see nine wins…but the next would bring seven. The epitome of .500 clubs, in other words.

Now think of how it would feel to root for them. Only twice per month, once if you got lucky, would you see them lose. Two evenings glowering in front of the TV. It wouldn’t be so horrible, would it?

When July wound down, you’d get excited. September would bring victory, October see struggles, November success, December…less success. Soon enough, it would begin once more. With eight wins every time, you would need ten winters before you could see your heroes win eighty times.

Eighty wins? Some MLB side could get eighty wins in one summer (plus spring, plus September, etc.) while finishing below .500.

Pittsburgh just set the record for most consecutive such summers. They never hit eighty wins during this time, true, but if they did, it still wouldn’t be enough. Victory is microcosmic for this sport, with close to twice the opportunity for it next to hockey or hoops. But loss, too, is persistent. So we telescope our emotion.

Their pitcher’s behind in the count! Yes, but there’s nobody on.
But there’s nobody out! Yes, but we’re down by one.
But we just swept! But we’re ten out of first.
But…he just singled! There!

It shouldn’t work. But it does, when we lose ourselves in the competition–winning by losing.

I think it works.

I don’t root for Pittsburgh.

I don’t know.