Major League Baseball starts the 2011 campaign this Thursday afternoon at one for a season that will, as has been the case in recent years, end in November, which is way too long for anything other than a fantasy involving cooking oil, satin sheets and a lady named, well, I'm not allowed to detail any more of that in this space today (or any other).
I love baseball though I have close to no idea what kind of a Grapefruit League season "my" New York Yankees had and since the games don't count, I don't either. I've rooted for them most of my life, with a brief interlude emotionally elsewhere as I was entering double digits, when Joan Payson owned the New York Metropolitans.
I no longer root for Mr. Met for all the reasons, and many others, captured in Jimmy Breslin's meisterwerk, Can't Anybody Here Play this Game?-if you haven't read it you should. And no, it's not a book I'm sending to anyone in Afghanistan (though I suspect everyone could relate) because as I remember it, one potential reader is sort of a Padres fan.
But that's not really important-what is, I think, is that on Opening Day, everyone's team, whoever they are, is in first place. Every pitcher's earned run average is a Hall of Fame worthy 0.00 and you can't help but believe 'this is the year.' No one wins the World Series on Opening Day so, conversely, no one can lose it. And that's as it should be.
More so than in recent memory, this year we need all the optimism and enthusiasm we can gather, from whatever source for as long as we can keep it. Even if the weather were to dawn rosy-fingered and flawless tomorrow we'd still have a peck of troubles with which to contend. But between now and Thursday worrying about all of that is only going to ruin your anticipation of Opening Day.
All Opening Day should do is whet our appetites for the months ahead. We get from Point A to Point B in a variety of ways but in the same number of days. Whether we live them in hope or in dread is a choice we make and then must own. "Just give me one thing that I can hold onto; to believe in this living is just a hard way to go."