Ah, Spring. While it’s technically not here (damn you, Gregorians and your calendar!), there are still signs everywhere that it sure is close. Catholics are gearing up for Easter by smudging dirt on their faces; daytime hookers are beginning to wear sunscreen under their fishnets; you can only buy tank tops at the Gap, even though its 20 degrees outside; and most importantly…..Spring Training has begun!!
I about cried when the first games commenced on Wednesday. “Why,” you ask? Because that’s what Cubs fans do. We cry. A lot. There’s so much hope in the Spring. Everything starts fresh, new buds/rookies begin to blossom, and there is nothing but bright skies ahead. Who cares that Autumn brought pain and the deaths of too many promising flowers/young careers. All is forgotten. So bring on the April Showers that nourish the frail (Rich Harden, Alfonso Soriano), for we are in need of some May Flowers (Cy Young/MVP winners).
That’s mostly just gibberish. Really, I just love baseball. It’s by far my favorite sport, followed closely by cockpunching. I sit through the football months, trying to act like I care, but let’s be honest, I’d rather watch a Rachael Ray marathon than sit through most college football games. The NFL is at least a little more tolerable, but it’s just background noise to an otherwise uneventful Sunday. Now, the MLB, that’s a horse of a different color. I could watch every pitch of a Pirates/Astros game and not get bored. And, yes, I’ve heard it over and over again that baseball is insufferably boring, that it’s like taking a handful of Tylenol PM, but I just say that those are the pained warblings of the drastically uneducated. Every pitch matters. Every last one. So missing a single pitch could mean missing the turning point of the game. I’m sorry if you have the attention span of a goldfish. Here’s a Bud Light and a UFC pay-per-view, go have fun. Baseball is like chess, which explains why uber-nerds like Greg Maddux are successful. So, considering I barely know how to read, I look forward to the season for my rare dose of mental stimulation. Bring on the foreplay, Ryan Dempster. You owe me at least that much for that Game 1 grand salami.
Is this really the year for the Chicago Cubs? Unfortunately, Lou Pinella has put a gag order on all predictions for the upcoming season. Sure, this only pertains to his coaches and players, but I am one with this team, and I’m not about to jinx anything. I’m optimistic about their chances in the division, and we’ll leave it at that. The big offseason signing was Milton Bradley, he of the self-inflicted ligament tear:
And the fiery temper:
But he’s also the guy with the .436 on base percentage, so yeah, consider that a solid pick-up. And if he just so happens to want to break a bat over Fukudome, he of the .359 OBP, then I say let him. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. Baby wants a championship.
The off-season castaways were the much beloved Mark DeRosa (who’s t-shirt I purchased not five months ago) and Kerry Wood, both to those other lovable losers, the Cleveland Injuns. I was not sad to see Wood go — there wasn’t much left for him to give the team — but DeRosa was a multi-tooled player. He could play both the outfield and infield. Those guys are hard to come by. But still, speedster Joey Gathright is now on board to fill up some holes in center, and journeyman Aaron Miles is a solid fill-in on off days for starters. This is not the end of the world. The team has not regressed, it has only improved.
So let’s not say this indeed is the year of the Cub. I definitely said that last year, and what did that get me? Another 8 months lost, and another 5 years off my lifespan. This year, we will remain calm and relaxed. Okay, until opening day, we will remain calm and relaxed. After that, I can’t be held accountable for my actions.