Another snow storm on the way. Spring baseball on the way. The snow will be gone in a few weeks, but baseball will be here to stay. Seven glorious months of Manny and Ortiz going yard. Of Schilling and Wells proving that this isn’t just a young man’s game. Of Foulke closing the door and squashing hopes. Of Damon’s long hair and Millar’s ever-changing beards. Of Arroyo brushing back A-Rod and Jeter and benches clearing and Tek representing and all the magic that is Red Sox baseball.
Red’s post yesterday was titled “Here Comes The Sun”. Perfect. That song is the musical battle cry that spring is here. Crawl out of the cave. Turn on the radio. You won’t hear Van Morrison crooning Moondance. Great song, but its an Autumn song, right? It has a mood. You’ll hear instead the soundtrack of spring. Brown Eyed Girl, Margaritaville, maybe even some Beach Boys. Living in Boston, you know you’ll be hearing Dirty Water. And my favorite spring/summer/baseball song of all, Centerfield.
With all the bittersweet memories that song evokes, it captures the carefree-summertime-let’s-play-some-ball feeling better than any other. I can still picture Dave Henderson leaping to make a catch, only to have the ball leave his glove and disappear over the wall as he crashed into it. In the same instant, I see Hendu’s lighter-than-air leap when he realizes redemption is his and he is going to touch them all. The 1986 post-season didn’t have the fairy tale ending we wanted, but it did leave us with a baseball anthem. And we’ll be hearing it soon.
On Thursday, the Sox take the field in their first game as defending World Series Champions. Yes, it is a spring training game. Yes, it will probably showcase guys most of us have never heard of. But it is baseball. Rem Dawg on NESN and Joe and Jerry on the airwaves. I don’t care that its Abe Alvarez or Abe Vigoda. And I don’t care if my house is buried under a mountain of snow, it is baseball season.
Fans, take it all in. Every pitch, every hit, every catch, every play and every post-game comment. This is a season to enjoy. To cherish. I will watch every game with as much, if not more, passion and emotion as last season. And whatever the outcome, I will savor the feeling of watching the defending champions. Two days until those magic words: Play ball.