Well, college basketball season has ended, your bracket has most likely busted, and your school has most likely fallen short yet again of the ultimate prize. But fear not sports fans! Though the days of flipping through endless channels of college basketball excitement are behind us for now, another sport will now grab our attention. It’s opening week for Major League Baseball.
We have a lot to watch this year. Derek Jeter has departed, and anticipation brims for Yankee fans as they search for a new shortstop. Perhaps Didi Gregorius is the name of the future, or maybe an unknown youngster will rise to fill the shoes of the legend.
Alex Rodriguez is back on the playing field again for the first time since 2013, having served his record-setting suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy. At 39 years of age, many hope for the fallen third baseman to end his tarnished career in shambles, while others watch to see if he can recapture that lightening in the bottle for one final run and rewrite the final chapters of his career.
In Washington, D.C. expectations are as high as they have ever been. A reloaded roster stacked with impressive pitching is projected not only to lead the Nationals to the playoffs, but to make them serious World Series contenders. It could be a far more interesting summer for baseball fans near the nation’s capital than ever before.
And out west in San Diego, the Padres have made several major offseason changes, some moves as recent as early this week. With the firepower pitching additions of Craig Kimbrel and James Shields, the Padres could prove a very difficult matchup. They have stiff competition in the west against the Dodgers and Giants, but that will only add to the fun.
It is a long season, and the storylines will change as it progresses. But for now, the one thing that all fans share is hope. There is the possibility, no matter how weak a team may appear, no matter how unproven young players may be, and no matter how washed-up a contract-sucking veteran may seem, that you could see any team in October. In reality, the odds of most of these scenarios are infinitesimal. But in the imaginations of those who watch, the odds are irrelevant. And for the ones who possess those imaginations, that is really all that matters.
It is a new year. The sun is shining. The grass is cut. And the umpire is ready to yell “Play ball!” Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and inevitably believe that this year is the one. Break out the mitt and the jersey, it’s time to for some baseball.