Today is the first day of the new year for those of us who follow the One True Faith. I speak, of course, of baseball.
Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball, the day when the fans of every team can still believe that their faith will be rewarded and This Will Be The Year.
Hang on. Someone in the back of the room has their hand raised. You have a question? Ah. For those of you who couldn’t hear, the question was “But what about the Texas / Houston game last night? Didn’t the season start yesterday?”
Well, yes. The season started yesterday, but that game was was a made-for-TV event. And it was played in Texas. That in itself should be enough to invalidate it as a holy day: Texas is, after all, the state where High School Football is the predominant religion.
As I was saying, Opening Day is today. 24 of the 30 teams play their first game of the season. And for this one shining moment, we are all equal. We all know that Our Team (the only one worth rooting for) will overcome a lineup loaded with untried rookies, aging veterans, a bullpen full of pitchers who need to be reminded of the direction to home plate, and/or a coaching staff and front office far gone in senility.
We even believe we can overcome the weather.
The view this morning at the Bay Bridge shows just a bit of rain, but as any believer will tell you, it will dry out by game time.
Tomorrow we’ll wake up, and half of us be euphoric, with our faith confirmed and renewed for another day (fans in Houston, take note: there are still 161 games left: plenty of time for disaster to strike); the other half will be in despair, ready to declare the season over (fans in Dallas, take note: there are still 161 games left: plenty of time for additional disasters).
Full disclosure: Some of you may detect an element of bias in my remarks. “Our Team” is the Seattle Mariners, who just happen to be in the same division as the two teams from Texas who jumped the gun with last night’s game. As mentioned above, “Our Team” is the only one worth rooting for. Rest assured that trashing the Rangers and Astros is just the start. The other 27 teams will get theirs over the course of the season.
But I digress. Enjoy this moment of joy and renewal. Soon enough, the season will go to hell, and the age-old cry “Just wait until next year!” will be heard through the land. But until your team reaches that point (which should be along about next week for several of them), enjoy. And until then, I offer you all my heartfelt best wishes for a winning season – as long as you win one game less than Seattle. (Note: offer does not apply to Yankees fans. If you win 63 this year, it’s too many.)