It’s finally here.
Four long, cold*, dark months are behind us.
* I’m well aware that the weather in the Bay Area has been far warmer than about 90% of the rest of the country since October. I’m talking spiritual cold, OK?
Sure, we’ve had four games involving something approximating professional baseball players already. The Phillies beat the Spartans 8-3 on Sunday, giving fans in Philadelphia faint hopes that the 2016 season won’t be too embarrassing. Yesterday, the Red Sox won both halves of a three-team double-header, beating Boston College 6-0, then turning around and trampling Northeastern University 8-3. And, in a stunning upset*, the Tigers squeaked past Florida Southern College 7-2 on the strength of five late-inning runs.
* Not really. Despite predictions that the Tigers will be lucky to scrounge 80 wins this season, I doubt anyone seriously expected the Mocs to pull this one out.
But those four games had more in common than simply pitting a bunch of unpaid hopefuls against professionals. They also lacked any form of broadcast. No radio, no TV. Or, to be precise, none that MLB deigned to share with MLB.TV purchasers.
It changes today. Those of us who don’t follow the college game get our first dose of live baseball shortly after 10:00 Pacific time when six professional teams take the field in head-to-head competition.
No, not one six-way game. Get serious! MLB is trying to speed up games. Nine innings with six teams batting every inning would take forever. Sheesh!
Anyway, fans of the Orioles, Braves, Pirates, Tigers, Blue Jays, and Phillies can get their first glimpse of the minor-league players who hope to make their teams at 10:05. The Red and Indians will brighten their fans’ days as well, but they’re waiting until 12:05 to start the festivities. (The less said about Arizona’s and Miami’s plans to beat up a pair of college teams the better.)
Those of us rooting for other teams will have to wait another day or two for our initial doses of optimism*, but we can turn our faces to the metaphorical east and await the rising of the sun of BASEBALL.
* Pity the poor fans of the Mets, who’ll have to wait until Thursday to see their World Series runners-up. At least the Series-winning Royals have a game Wednesday.
Remember, these are Spring Training games. They don’t count in any official standings; only the hearts of the fans. But isn’t that where any religion belongs?