April 2, 2013
Prologue: What's yet to be written...
When you begin anything new, it's exciting. Why is that? Is it just the fact that newness confers the unknown, and that the unknown evokes in us an instinctual reaction that we describe as excitement? But that can't be so, because we get excited about known things, whether it's a promotion at work or winning the lottery. I think though that those things that make us excited represent a border that we haven't crossed yet, a book yet to be read.
A new baseball season, though, is much more than that. It represents not only a book that isn't read, but a book that isn't even written yet. When you pick up a book, you don't know how it's going to end, but you have some idea as to how it's going to get you to the ending; pick up a Tom Clancy novel, for example, and you know that you'll be getting lots of political intrigue. But with a baseball season, not only do you not know what the ending will be, but you also do not know how you're going to get to that unknown destination. So today we begin the yet unknown journey to the yet unknown destination. We may travel over a smooth road to Wally World, or through thick jungles and mosquito-laden swamps to Disney World. Or we could end up at a deserted bus stop in Illinois with a crop duster waiting for us. We'd like to think we know that these signings and trades this past winter will mean a pleasant journey and a longed-for destination, but that's not how sports works.
If each season is a blank book, each at-bat writes a sentence in that book, each inning a paragraph, each game a chapter. You can't just turn to the back of the book to see how it ends because the ending isn't there yet; you have to experience each chapter as it's written, whether its painful or beautiful. There's no guarantee that we'll like the ending, or even enjoy much of any of it, for that's the chance we take as baseball fans. But no matter what happens, no matter if we end up with 50 Shades of Losing or a page-turner with a perfect ending, we'll read it together.