Choking [definition]

Choking is the psychological and/or physical reaction to heightened expectations, even when those expectations are warranted due to, say, a 97-win regular season. Choking stifles even the best hitters,
and can be partial or complete, with partial choking allowing some,
although inadequate, gasps of offense. Prolonged or complete
choking results in a failure to advance in the postseason.

Choking can be caused by:

  • The unexpected re-introduction of a slumping player into the everyday lineup. Said player struck out 3 times and left 4 men on base on Thursday. See “Kosuke Fukudome”.
  • Uncharacteristic starting pitching performances by two 14+ game winners in two must-win games. See “Ryan Dempster” and “Carlos Zambrano.”
  • An NLDS record-tying 4 fielding errors on one’s home field. See “Mark DeRosa,” “Derrek Lee,” “Ryan Theriot,” and “Aramis Ramirez.”
  • A leadoff hitter batting .111 this postseason. See “Alfonso Soriano.”
  • An “untouchable” 1-2 closing combo giving up 3 runs in their first postseason appearance together. See “Carlos Marmol” and “Kerry Wood.”
  • A superior opponent with a seasoned postseason manager and roster. See “L.A. Dodgers”, “Joe Torre,” “Derek Lowe,” and “Manny Ramirez.”

Choking, if caught early enough, can usually be treated by shuffling the lineup or a momentum-changing play.

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5 comments

  1. Tucker Elliot

    Tough first two games for sure — but as tough as Torre is in the opposing dugout, remember that he is the only manager to surrender a three-game lead in a best-of-seven series. There is hope yet, but yeah I know, if the Cubs win the next two games it will only be so they can break fans’ hearts in Game 5 . . .

    http://sportsbythenumbers.mlblogs.com/

  2. jimjaxn@yahoo.com

    I have been a Cubs fan all of my life – and I am 65 years old. I have to admit tho – I am sick to death of watching the entire team give up and crumble like a stale donut every time they have a chance to repay their fans for all of the support they get. The Cubs owners/management need to be applauded for stepping up and buying the talent needed to win a world series. The owners/management have done their job. What they need to do now is find a reliable witch doctor to cast a spell that will give the players the grit and fortitude to play the way their multi-million dollar salaries demand. What a waste of money. Over the years I have spent a great deal of money on game tickets, gift shop items, refreshments, bumber stickers, etc., etc., etc.. All I have gotten in return is the sinking sensation that I will die of old age without ever seeing a world series champion in Chicago; unless the White Sox do it again.

  3. vantilboy

    When will Cubs fans finally say enough is enough with this team? I have had it with this team of chokers. This the best Cubs team in my 43 years and what do they do in the playoffs? Choke under the pressure of the playoffs. The days of going to Wrigley Field just to have a good time and getting drunk are over. Cubs fans want a world championship and deserve it more than the bandwagon-jumpers on the south side. I couldn’t become a White Sox fan because I would still be worrying about the Cubs.

  4. st andrew

    Tony–The days of going to Wrigley to get drunk seem to be over… When the outfield bleachers were renamed the “Budweiser Bleachers” and the rooftop seats started to charge $150, the party was over. The Cubs are a big-time business now, for better or worse.

  5. vantilboy

    You are right st andrew. Cubs fans used to go to games just to have a good time. Now that there has been postseason baseball the last few years, we want a championship. I think I’m repeating my last message. We don’t abandon our team when we lose, unlike the fan base on the south side. We are just sick and tired watching the Cubs go 3 and out when we know that they are better than that. And to Derrek Lee who said we fans don’t know what it’s like to be scratching and clawing in the playoffs, shut up and stop hitting into double plays. If you don’t like it here, ask for a trade. We wouldn’t miss you.

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