Finally, it’s Opening Day!
Those long, long weeks of spring training games are done. Now it’s St. Louis Cardinals baseball for real, starting tonight in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks. And, really, there’s nothing like Opening Day — such hope, such anticipation for what could happen in the next six months of the regular season. Anything is possible, anything could happen.
Except, perhaps, for the Cubs …
My uncle Jim, a lifelong Cardinals fan, will no doubt send along his traditional start-of-the-season email to our family (many of whom are Cubs fans) about a friend who one year went to see the Cubs on Opening Day at Wrigley Field. Immediately after the first pitch, a fan stood up behind home plate and held up a sign that said “Wait Til Next Year.”
Back to the Cardinals …
Another reason to be glad for the start of the regular season is that April has been productive in recent years. During the past five seasons, the team is 79-44 in what poet T.S. Eliot (who was born in St. Louis) calls the cruelest month in his poem “The Waste Land.” We have to go all the way back to a season we’d really rather forget, 2007, to find a losing April — they went 10-14 then.
The story of the 2013 Cardinals will be written month by month and day by day over these next 162 games. And while it’s easy now to be all bright and shiny about the season ahead, and genuinely mean it, we also need to remember this glorious high won’t last forever.
A baseball season is about endurance, the proverbial marathon and not a sprint. We can’t have our emotions and opinion of the team and its players live and die on every single pitch, or even every single game. (Some of you might need to read that sentence again.) There will be ups and downs because it really is a roller coaster ride. As fans, we have much invested in our relationship with the team. But, like any relationship, there will be bad times along with the good. Be ready. Be calm … or as calm as you can. Then go back and read the second sentence of this paragraph again.
Every fan of every team wants the season to end on top, screaming and exalting as we did when this happened on Oct. 28, 2011. Not all of those teams have a realistic chance of achieving that moment in 2013 (yep, Cubs, looking at you again) and, in actuality, fans of 29 of the 30 MLB teams will end up disappointed at some point when they realize it’s not their year.
But the promise of that moment keeps us coming back, season after season and year after year.
So it’s only fitting to share this today, which my friend Stacy thoughtfully posted on Facebook last night so that I could
steal it use it now. Because after that World Series clip, after the months and months of anticipation of real baseball coming again, after the ups and downs that spring training 2013 brought us — what else is left to get you fired up about the season ahead than this terrific speech from James Earl Jones?
Happy Opening Day!
Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.