clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Masahiro Tanaka and a history of perfectionists

New, comments

Some people just aren't satisfied with being really, really awesome.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Masahiro Tanaka is 10-1 with a 2.02 ERA and 7.36 K/BB ratio . Now, you would assume that a pitcher sporting those incredibly impressive numbers would be satisfied with his performance thus far. But after every game when asked to assess his performance, "okay" seems to be his prevailing thoughts on how he's been doing. I guess it's natural after you go an entire season without taking a single loss to be a little more discerning than most, but it's nevertheless an interesting and impressive mindset. But it's not completely unheard of for someone so unwaveringly brilliant at their chosen profession to demand nothing but perfection from themselves. Why, history is just littered with geniuses who were unsatisfied with the sort of success that most of us would dream of.

150,000 B.C. - A nameless homo erectus becomes the first creature on Earth to harness the awe-inspiring power of fire. They are overtaken by disappointment when they learn the fancy new finding is not edible and hurts when you stick your hand in it. They die hungry and depressed at the advanced age of 19.

1512 - After four years Michelangelo completes painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a work of unprecedented scale and brilliance. However, the great artist is frustrated with his completed work as he regrets forgoing his original design: a series of canines sitting around a table and playing a game of cards.

1776 - Thomas Jefferson pens The Declaration of Independence, one of the most important manuscripts in human history. Jefferson grew frustrated both at his inability to make the treatise rhyme and that his original title, "The Declaration of FUNdependence" is rejected by his fellow patriots.

1808 -  Ludwig van Beethoven completes his 5th Symphony, widely believed to be his greatest work. He is not enamored with piece himself because he fears it is not "catchy enough" for its intended purpose: a commercial jingle for his soon opening powdered wig emporium.

1903 - Orville and Wilbur Wright build the world's first successful airplane and pilot it a distance of 120 feet at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville laments at the lack of cupholders on their creation, while Wilbur notes that "I could get out and run faster than this.".

2014 - Michael Brown dominates the Special Cup in Mariokart 8, but falls off the road right before the end of the third lap of Rainbow Road. He gets second place and rues the day he was ever born.

So for most of us ordinary folk, achievements such as these would be reason enough to rest on your laurels. But some humans have an inherent desire to be flawless. It appears that Masahiro Tanaka is one of those people. If he strikes out ten, he wishes it was eleven. If he pitches a perfect game, he'll be annoyed that that one hitter almost dribbled one past the infield. But do know that it's nice to have a guy who cares that much every single outing being on your staff. His having amazing stuff doesn't hurt either.