Every year could be the year. Even this one. Especially this one.
That’s what we’re all thinking as the baseball season begins today. During this time of year, there is still a chance for all of us. Tigers, Nationals, Twins, and Rockies fans alike all share in this feeling.
Until proven otherwise, every team could go the distance this year. This could be the year.
It’s an annual tradition that we never fail to observe. I wrote about it last year, right about this time, for the Eastern Echo. I wrote of the hope that comes in Spring, both for those who should be hopeful and for those who have nothing better to do than be hopeful.
It’s a hopeful time of year.
Last year around this time, my entire life was changing. I was graduating, getting married, and moving away to start graduate school 700 miles from the baseball team that anchored me so firmly. It was a hopeful time after a long, arduous winter ahead of a summer of upheaval.
And that hope was rewarded with a great season and run deep into October that made me feel close to home while I was far away.
The view from a year later is much clearer. Much less tumultuous, but no less hopeful. The last year for me has been a good one, but it was also taxing and trying. The stress and anxiety that came with such big changes dampened some of the joy that one might expect to find in a baseball team that comes within four wins of a World Series.
Which makes this Spring, this moment, sweeter. Those changes are behind me and with unclouded eyes, I can embrace the 2013 season and the prospect of a title. It’s almost as if the Tigers were waiting for me. I had to take the next step before they would.
The two aren’t connected, but I’m going to believe that they are because, damn it, this is the time of year when everything makes sense. The sun shines brighter and the prospects of a glorious summer are unrestrained.
This could be the year. For the Tigers. For me. For anything.
I’m a pretty rational and analytical person, a true child of the enlightenment. But sometimes, and this is one of those times, the romantic in me emerges. Things are bigger than us and the world is a magical place full of wonder. Sure we can debate all the reasons something shouldn’t happen, but is there anything better than watching a team who has no business winning a division title pour out onto the field to celebrate that title?
I mean, it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball. We all know that. It overwhelms us sometimes. When Adam Greenberg gets another at bat after getting hit in the head after his first and only prior at bat, that’s when it’s hard not to get romantic.
Or when Darrin Downs takes the mound three years after a fractured skull nearly killed him. That’s when it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.
When your team sprays champagne and the grumpy old man who managers the team starts crying like a baby and waxing poetic about your city, that’s when it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.
So I’m getting romantic in anticipation about all of that. About the flyover before Opening Day and the crowd on their feet for the nobody journeyman closing in on a no-hitter. About the kid from a small town about to take the big stage for the first time. About the fathers and sons sharing a game for the first time. About watching your team finally, finally hoisting the trophy.
Right now, at this moment, all of that can happen. It will happen. For some of us at least. My hope for all of you, as it always is, is that your faith will be rewarded.
This could be the year, it really, really could.