Breathe a sigh of relief: Baseball is back.
Fresh uniforms on groomed fields. Both the Queens and Bronx squads pulled out Opening Day wins. Better weather on the horizon. It’s about time.
Baseball’s return marks a happy, pastoral moment on the calendar, unlike other starts for professional sports seasons. We’re through with bleak days of winter unbrightened by holiday cheer. And the long season of America’s original national pastime continues to November.
The sheer number of games means that baseball is always in the background, maybe not at the front of your mind, but there to fall back on when needed.
The country can use some uncomplicated news to enjoy together. Maybe that’s always true, but it feels particularly so now. The only Mueller associated with this realm of American life is an infielder and .291 career hitter who last played a season with the Dodgers in 2006. (Not a Bob. His first name’s Bill.)
There’s still plenty to argue about here.
Designated hitters for everyone? Pitch clocks? Flip your bat or drop it quietly? Volumes can be written about each one, and don’t start your uncle or aunt on the new stats these days or those wild infield shifts. Remember when Mickey Mantle . . . but look at Aaron Judge . . .
It’s even looking like it might be a good year on the local level. This year marks a big anniversary for the Mets, 50 years since winning their first World Series in five against the Baltimore Orioles, back when Tom Seaver was young and Nolan Ryan threw fire. Anniversary karma and the return of good pitching have to count for something.
And the Yankees are slugger-ful as ever, but young this time, too, looking to play into November in the Bronx.
Here’s hoping for a fall Subway Series — and a functioning subway, but let’s leave that aside for today. It’s a hopeful moment, 161 games left.
And when the injuries come and the managers make dumb calls and the bums fall flat, well, that’s baseball. There’s always next year.