By Nick Szafranski
I can’t explain the feeling I have after this Chicago White Sox collapse.
The feeling is not one of depression, or one of overwhelming disappointment.
It’s not one of searing anger or complete bewilderment either.
It should be though right?
The White Sox transformation from a seemingly postseason-bound squad to irrelevance was rapid, and mostly unforeseen.
On September 18th, the White Sox were on a five-game winning streak and held a three-game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.
12 days and a six-game-swing later, the White Sox found themselves eliminated from the playoffs.
I should be mad, or at least dumbfounded.
But I’m not…
I’ve been searching for a word to describe for how I feel.
The closest word to describe the feeling is “content.”
Not “content” in the sense of being pleased or satisfied but more in the sense of being at ease.
As to why I, and many White Sox fans alike, feel this way is difficult to pinpoint. And in fact, it may not be precisely “pinpointable.”
However, I have a theory.
This “content” feeling is one that occurs hundreds upon thousands of times during life. Being content is one that can be felt in minute circumstances or in life’s biggest happenings.
I also recognize this feeling as being synonymous with the feeling of meeting expectations. Whether they are low or high, if those expectations are equaled, and not exceeded, the feeling is being content.
In March, before the start of the MLB season, numerous media outlets publish previews and predictions for the baseball season. The prospects for the White Sox were unanimously low. Sports Illustrated predicted them to win 67 games. ESPN projected the White Sox to finish fifth in the AL Central. From the die-hard fan to the so-called expert, no one in their right mind expected the White Sox to lead the division into late-September.
Yet, with two weeks left in the season, the White Sox sat atop the division.
For 126 days in 2012, the Chicago White Sox were in first place. Despite spending over 60% of the season in first place, for many people the expectations for the White Sox did not change. Many people assumed, and continued to predict, that the Tigers would overtake the lead in the division.
One would assume that with such prolonged success, expectations would differ, but for the most part they did not. Expectations changed from a last-place finish to a second-place one.
The White Sox were never supposed to win more than 70 games. And when it was clear that they would be worth at least that, expectations were not only met, but were exceeded.
However, one thing stayed consistent throughout the season, it was only time before Detroit broke out and overtook the White Sox.
No term can capture what the White Sox did at the end of the season better than “collapse.”
The 2012 Tigers were always supposed to win the AL Central.
And that is exactly what happened. With three games left in the season the Tigers, clinched the division.
I should be mad… I should be upset…
But all the collapse means for the White Sox, is that they met those expectations.