Thursday, March 31, 2011

Welcome to the Church of Baseball: First Sermon in 30 Minutes

Rejoice, fellow faithful, for the blessed hour is nearly upon us. All ye fans of.... ok, I'm not typing a whole entry like this. It sounded great in my head, but not so wonderful in execution. Regardless, today IS a very special day. Welcome to opening day, my friends. I'm glad to see you all made it relatively in one piece. I acknowledge some missing teeth, from grinding them down to nothing after every snow storm. I also recognize missing chunks of hair and broken bones caused as a direct result of frustrations from the winter. I hated this winter, and I know many of you did, too. Everything is ok now. We've made it.

In just about a half hour, four teams will take the field, and the first official pitch of the season will be thrown. While my favorite team isn't among those beginning today, that's no reason for me to not be excited. I don't have to actively love any of the teams playing. I just love the game.

I've been reading some of my favorite blogs all morning. Apparently, I missed this whole thing about MLB's Fancave contest? My reaction: After reading various thoughts and reflections on it, I'm glad I knew nothing about it, and this will be the last time I ever mention it in my blog. See, I'm not in the mood to be all ranty right now. I'm maintaining the happy, and if I start in on that, I won't maintain the happy any more.

So I'll go back to reading blogs, and articles covering last night's exhibition game. I'll reflect on the game. I'll think about the line-up, and daydream of no-hitters and home runs. In my head, I'll run through my expectations of all of the guys this season. I won't go too far into it, but I am expecting a big year out of JD this season. I have verbally and texually beaten him up almost constantly since he signed, but I have really come around on the guy. I'll be cheering for him just as hard as anyone else this season. One thing that excites me about this year is that, as of right now, there's not really "that guy" that I don't like... that I can't cheer for. It's positively bizarre to me to see Crawford in a Sox uniform, and I couldn't stand him with Tampa (mostly because of the steals..... God, I still have nightmares about all of those stolen bases), but I am thoroughly ready to give him all the support I can muster. I'm giddy about the prospect of seeing Adrian Gonzalez hit in Fenway. I've even vowed to forget all of my 'marshmallow and pretzel sticks' comments about Ells from last season, and I'm ready to let him impress me.... not that he has to impress ME, but it's easier to root for him if he does. I'm thrilled to get Munchkin and Youk back and healthy. It was unbelievable how much we suffered without them last season. Scutaro is STILL so much better than Lugo! Lowrider is starting the season healthy, and ready to show that he deserves a starting job. Mike Cameron has been making me smile all spring, and I'm thrilled that Ronald gets to be with the big club for opening day. Just seeing David Ortiz's smile puts me in a good mood. Reading all the stories of Saltalamacchia and Tek being best buddies make me happy. I LIKE this team. What's not to like?

This season, Lackey's going to prove me wrong, and Beckett's going to prove me right. Lester is going to dominate. Dahmer is going to start frightening people. Dice-K... is probably going to throw 120 pitches per outing, but I'm ok with that! With all this wonderful potential looming directly in front of me, how can I not be excited? Sure, I have to wait another day for these specific guys to suit up and hit the field, but it's worth it.

My goal this season is to keep positive, no matter what the final score may be. I'm crazily irrational about baseball and generally don't restrict myself from truly feeling the highs and lows, but that makes my loved ones love me less. I want to be more level-headed in my fandom this year. I can't promise I'll stick to that, but I am going to try. Everyone's got to have a goal for the season, right?

So welcome everyone, to Opening Day. Put on your ballpark best, and settle in for the upcoming 162-game roller coaster. And, of course, Go Sox! (tomorrow!)

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