Monday, April 6, 2009

April 6, 2009

It isn't our national pastime anymore, of course. Football might be, or maybe NASCAR. But there's something about Opening Day all the same, "such stuff as dreams are made on," the notion that your team, no matter how awful it was last, might just do it, might just win the World Series. People in a dozen different cities can believe that.

It's partly that the season is so long--162 games. Sure, you can say, we've been terrible so far, but it's only June, plenty of time to come from behind. Sometimes they do.

And sometimes it's fun to be wrong. Dave Sheinin, who writes about baseball for the Washington Post, notes that last year, "I had the Mariners winning the AL West (they finished last) and the Tigers winning not only the AL Central (they finished last) but the World Series as well." Eight teams made the playoffs, Sheinin notes, and he picked only two. Well, that's about how well I did, but it's part of the charm of it.

This year? The Yankees acquired a couple of superstars, a pitcher and a hitter, but they're always doing that and they haven't won lately, not the way they did in the glory days of DiMaggio and Mantle, anyway. I think I'd pick the Red Sox--maybe to go all the way and win the Series. But I don't know for sure, of course, and that's why I like it so much.

I have, I admit, a special problem. I grew up in and around Chicago; I'm a Cubs fan. Talk about losers! The Cubs last won the Series more than a century ago, in 1908. They won their division last year but were promptly blown out of the playoffs, losing three straight. Could they do that again? Sure. Could they lose for a second century? Of course.

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Have a great season.

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