It’s two weeks until Opening Day, and I realized last week while shoveling the driveway after another damn blizzard, bent over and hefting heart-attack over my shoulder that I need baseball season.
It became clearer to me as I slipped on a patch of ice and, in cartoonish-fashion, threw the shovel in the air and tried to regain my balance, arms flailing. For a second, I thought I had it. Then there was a second slip, and I dropped to the frozen ground as the shovel landed on my head.
Twenty years ago, I would’ve bounced up, brushed off my coat and gone on shoveling. But I’m not 22 years old anymore, and I realized while lying on my ass in my driveway, staring into the sky and knowing it would be a minute until I stood up again, that I need baseball season.
I need baseball season, and these two weeks feel like an infinity.
For me, spring training games are insufferably boring. They’re pointless, especially this season where almost all the roster positions for Red Sox were locked before the players reported to Fort Myers.
But it’s baseball, and for those of us jonesing for a game, there’s something slightly sated by watching The Lowell Spinners after the fourth inning. This is also something that baseball fans—especially the sub-culture of baseball fans whom schedule their lives around 162 games—experience on a visceral level, the anticipation that builds as we wait for Opening Day.
Already, the season’s storylines are set in motion: Rick Porcello is getting the ball on opener against Pittsburgh, but is he really the ace? David Price won’t need elbow surgery but he came across in The Boston Globe’s profile with Stan Grossfeld as someone who truly doesn’t get New England or its fans? Is Hanley Ramirez going to behave without Papi there to babysit him? Is a skinnier Panda anything near worth his exorbitant price tag? Will Chris Sale cut up throw-back uniforms in the Red Sox clubhouse and prove to be the diva he was in Chicago? Given his delivery, will his arm blow out? Is Tommy John surgery imminent? Was the deal too good to be true?
Will Boston bloggers and beat writers continue their animosity on social media?
And on and on and on until Opening Day, the official end of winter for those of us still shoveling.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about New Englanders—I’m a native, a Rhode Islander living in New Hampshire—is the collective knowledge and on-point criticism of our sports’ teams. It’s a language we speak and share, and a sentiment that’s understood.
So let me say this plainly without nuance or ambiguity: I need baseball season. And I needed last week.