The Midwest has been hit with a typical contrarian March cold blast, and the east coast has been hammered by a snowstorm. Perversely, the crummy, winter-is-still-with-us weather has made me think that the real spring cannot be far away, and that it’s okay to start thinking about something good that will be coming with the warmer spring weather in just a few days: baseball.
Although they fell just short of that elusive World Series win, last year was a magical one for the Cleveland Indians. The team overcame injuries to crucial members of the pitching staff and key position players and, with deft manager Terry Francona holding things together with spit, scotch tape, and baling wire, the Tribe improbably made it to the doorstep of a championship. With the players hopefully healed, and Edwin Encarnacion set to fill a big hole in the middle of the lineup, Tribe fans are dreaming that this might be the year. Hey, lightning finally struck the long-suffering Chicago Cubs last year — why can’t it strike the Indians this year?
Spring is the time of dreaming for all baseball fans. Tribe fans aren’t the only ones who are hoping that the team’s off-season moves have put the right pieces in place, that the player who had the unexpected great year last year wasn’t a fluke, and that the minor league phenom will step up and produce in the big leagues. It’s all part of the time-honored baseball process that has been part of America’s National Pastime for more than 100 years. The baseball fans who are dreaming and hoping about their teams today are just new links in a very long chain.
Let’s play ball!