Maybe This Year
I knew better as soon as I did it. I entered the phrase “and look who's coming up” in to Google knowing full well what the top result would be. And of course I was drawn in, again, as I have been so many times before to this iconic moment is baseball history.
This was really a moment of perfection for fans of baseball. Bottom of the ninth first game of the world series, home team down by one, the drama of the Dodger's hero, Kirk Gibson, hurt and hobbling to the plate. And underlying all of it, the precise, poetic word pictures of the ultimate proponent for baseball, Vin Scully.
They have made a lot of changes to the rules this year that, to me, will take away from the magic of the game. But, despite vowing that I was done with baseball, here I am being sucked in again. The World Baseball Classic is happening right now. And, of course, we are already in spring training.
Unless you're an Angels fan, like I am, spring training is a time of optimism and hope in the world of baseball. As winter fades away and the sun shines brighter, the players and fans alike eagerly anticipate the start of a new season.
For the players, spring training is a time to shake off the rust and get back into game shape. They work on their hitting, pitching, and fielding, fine-tuning their skills in preparation for the long and grueling season ahead. It's also a time to bond with their teammates and establish team chemistry, building the foundation for success on the field.
For the fans, spring training is a chance to see their favorite players up close and personal. It's a time to take in the sights and sounds of the ballpark, enjoying the warm weather and the crack of the bat. It's a time to dream about what the upcoming season might hold, to speculate about which players will have breakout years and which teams will make a run at the playoffs. For years we have tried to convince our management that it would be worth while for us to take our morning show down to Phoenix to broadcast from the Cactus League. You know we would be “working” so very hard.
Perhaps more than anything, spring training is a time of hope. Every team starts the season with a clean slate and an equal chance at success. Even the teams that struggled the previous year (again think Angels) can look to spring training as a time to turn things around and start fresh. And for fans of those struggling teams, which definitely includes me (and Chris is a Cubs fan so we are oh and 2), spring training represents a glimmer of hope that this year might finally be their year.
There's something special about the hope of spring training. It's a feeling that anything is possible, that the impossible might just become possible. Just like it did for Kirk Gibson in that first game in the 1988 World Series. It's a time to dream big and imagine what could be, to believe that this year could be the year that your team wins it all.
Of course, not every team can win the World Series. My Angels have only done it once. But that doesn't diminish the hope that spring training brings. Even if your team falls short, there's always next year, always another chance to start anew and chase that elusive championship.
So as the winter gives way to spring and the first crack of the bat echoes across the diamond, I'm again drawn in to the hope of spring training. And yes, I will cheer the Angels just as I have for every year that they have been in existence. Too many good memories of me and my dad at the Big A watching game after game in the summer. This being the last year of Shohei Ohtani's contract, I have the sinking feeling he will be offered such a deal by another team, probably the Dodgers, that he will be leaving Anaheim. This would be a good year for them to win.
So whatever team you cheer for, remember that anything is possible, that this year might just be your year. And most of all, remember to enjoy the ride, to savor every moment of the baseball season, and to appreciate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of players and fans alike.
And if the miracle happens, somehow I'll find myself in Anaheim in October.