It’s been 170 days since Oct. 16, when Game 5 of the NLCS and the 2014 Cards season ended. Much has happened since then — good, bad, tragic — but we made it.
And now the long journey of the baseball season begins in less than 12 hours. As die-hard fans, we understand the marathon that’s about to begin and the sometimes grueling six months that are ahead. We look forward with anticipation, even though we know the journey through April, May, June, July, August, September and hopefully late into October won’t be easy. So remember the big picture of your love for the Cardinals when things annoy you throughout the months ahead.
Because things are going to happen over this long season. The Cards are going to lose games — sometimes in terrible, frustrating and even unfair ways. Mike Matheny is going to make stupid moves. (Hopefully not tonight, though.) Every guy on the team is going to make an error. Every guy on the team is going to strike out, and probably look really bad doing so from time to time. Every pitcher is going to have a rough outing. Every pitcher is going to have at least an inning where nothing he throws is going to be a strike.
There are 162 games. Things happen.
But, even better, great things are going to happen too. Walk-off wins. Majestic Matt Adams and Matt Holliday home runs. Yadi again and again throwing out those baserunners foolish enough to attempt stealing second. Game-winning hits from unexpected guys. Complete game shutouts, hopefully from every guy in the rotation. Heaters from Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez that will make our jaws drop. Curveballs from Adam Wainwright and changeups from Michael Wacha that will make us rewind the DVR to watch them again (and again). Great defensive stops in the infield. Diving catches in the outfield. Standing ovations when the starter leaves the game. Starter Carlos Martinez getting more than one of those ovations. Many, many, many wins.
The good of the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals will outweigh the bad in the end — of this I am confident, and not just because it’s Opening Day.
It’s because a wonderful franchise that’s been the most successful in National League history is in the midst of a glorious and grand period right now, and they’re our team. Yes, expectations from everywhere are high — but probably none higher than the expectations those 25 guys and manager and coaches who will line up on the first base line at Wrigley Field have for themselves over these next 162 games and beyond.
They want to win.
We want them to win.
And the story of this year’s team begins to be written today.
So relax. Enjoy.
It’s baseball, it’s Cardinals baseball, and it’s great.
And, because it’s a tradition here for Opening Day, only one thing to close with. (And the real version. The ones with the MLB players that was making the social media rounds last week was nice, but only James Earl Jones’ voice does this speech justice.)
Happy Opening Day!