CHICAGO – Baseball season has arrived.
Hang on a second. Let me send a quick message to the Big Manager In The Sky.
Oh, man. After a tough winter, I wasn’t sure whether today’s first pitch ever would arrive.
It’s still chilly, of course. Those who attend today’s season opener between the White Sox and the Kansas City Royals might need an extra layer for each of the nine innings. The same goes for those who head east to see the Cubs start their season against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But baseball season soon will mean warmth and sunshine and cookouts and fireworks.
I think we all could use a little more of those things.
That’s why I am going to embrace Opening Day no matter where the Sox and Cubs might find themselves in the standings come September. Nobody seems to expect much from either team this season, with the Sox forecast for a .500 finish (maybe) and the Cubs expected to lose 90-ish games one year after losing 100-ish games.
If this were a movie, neither team would head into the season with critical acclaim.
But today is an Academy Award winner.
Tomorrow will offer a chance to describe the season with another movie title:
• “There Will Be Blah”
• “Stranding Miss Daisy”
• “A Low Down (In The Standings) Dirty Shame”
Not today, though.
I’ll watch Cubs righthander Jeff Samardzija rock and fire, and I’ll listen closely on the WGN broadcast as the ball pops into the catcher’s mitt. I’ll smile as Darwin Barney dives to his right, jumps to his feet and snaps a strike across the diamond. I’ll admire David DeJesus for gliding to catch a fly ball that seems so easy until you try catching one yourself.
After I find my seat in the press box at U.S. Cellular Field, I’ll be grateful to see Chris Sale, one of the most exciting young pitchers in the game. I’ll enjoy watching Paul Konerko backhand a hard-hit ground ball that would get past most other starting first basemen. I’ll admire Alexei Ramirez’s arm strength, even if he airmails his throws now and then.
Tomorrow, I’ll ponder other working titles for the season.
• “Up In The Error”
• “One Flew Over The Left Field Wall”
• “Crazy, Stupid, Glove”
But not today.
I’ll have my pencil and scorecard handy as Dayan Viciedo extends his bat out of the strike zone to hack at a fastball. I’ll think that the Cubs have found their new closer when Kyuji Fujikawa breezes through one inning and Carlos Marmol labors through another. I’ll shrug when Alex Rios flies out with two outs and runners in scoring position, and I’ll forgive Alfonso Soriano for grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Tomorrow, I can dwell on the bigger picture.
• “Swingers (And Missers)”
• “Mr. Sveum Goes To Washington… And Gets Swept By The Nationals”
• “Be Kind Rewind to 1908”
Not today, though.
Not a chance.
It’s Opening Day.
• Shaw Media sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.