It’s still Opening Day.
Whether your team is a World Series favorite like the Houston Astros or Chicago Cubs, a darkhorse like the Milwaukee Brewers or Arizona Diamondbacks, a rebuilding club such as the Chicago White Sox or Cincinnati Reds or a team stuck in the middle — the Seattle Mariners — Thursday is a tremendously glorious day that serves as the start of a tremendously glorious seven-month run.
And just like any day during the baseball season, lightning can strike.
Baseball represents a lot of things. Hope, competition, comradery among players, fans and even one another. It also represents those that love it, just as those who love it represent the game.
Thursday marks the 133rd season of Major League Baseball, and it starts very similarly as the 132 before it.
With hope and promise.
Even if your favorite team is likely to lose as many games as the Astros are likely to win, it’s still baseball. The intracasies the game brings are replicated by no other.
Win or lose, it’s baseball. Of course winning is better, and relatively speaking, losing sucks. And it sucks more and more the longer your team struggles to garner some glory.
In this sense, baseball is like ice cream, or pie. It may not be your favorite flavor, but it’s still ice cream or pie.
Fans get caught up in the anxiety of their desire to cheer for a winner. We all do this to some extent. Years of losing wears on us. Winning spoils us. Constant mediocrity crushes the soul.
But I hope Thursday, March 29, 2018 marks the start of something special for all of you. Just as it did last spring, the spring before and the spring before… and… well, you get it. Baseball is better than no baseball.
At approximately 12:40 PM eastern time, Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Urena will fire the first pitch of the 2018 Major League Baseball season. At this point, all 30 teams will be tied for first.
In that game, Kris Bryant probably hits a home run and Javier Baez shows us all why baseball is fun and inique with some sort of back-handed, no-look flip, or something. There will be gifs.
A little while later, Cardinals righty Carlos Martinez will go toe-to-toe with Mets ace Noah Syndergaard at Citi Field. That’s a lot of 95-100 mph fastballs.
As the Marlins-Cubs game winds down, Chris Sale and the Red Sox’s stacked lineup will go after Rays star Chris Archer. A stacked lineup may very well be stymied while his teammates — no longer including Logan Morrison, Lucas Duda and Evan Longoria — scratch across a run or two.
At the end of the evening, Rockies right-hander Jon Gray will face Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado will probably make some crazy defensive play and hit a home run. There will be gifs.
In Seattle, Cleveland will send Cy Young contender Corey Kluber to the mound versus the Mariners at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez will take the ball with the King’s Court in session.
Hernandez isn’t the pitcher he was four years ago. The Indians are probably 10-20 wins better than Seattle when all is said and done.
But Thursday, that doesn’t matter. It’s Game 1 of 162 and just about anything can happen. Lightning can strike. And if it doesn’t that day, it might the next. And until you can’t say that anymore, it’s a great day.
Opening Day is the rebirth of baseball in America that comes once a year. I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. Because despite my belief about the baseball team in my city, I’ll still watch. I’ll still love it. Because it’s still baseball.
And there’s still hope.
Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016.
Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.
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