An ode to opening day
I know it wasnít the case, but I swear to you, the air just smelled better. There was a freshness to it that wasnít there the day before. The grass was greener, the sun shined brighter. Everything just felt right again. So, what was different about this Thursday from every other Thursday of the year? It was opening day of the MLB season, of course. One of the greatest days of the year.
My dad and I had already gone back and forth on who should make the team, what the rotation should be and who should be where in the lineup for the St. Louis Cardinals, our favorite team. It was finally time to get the festivities underway. I fired up the grill, turned on Fox Sports Midwest and got ready for another season under the sun. I had been waiting since the end of last September when my beloved Cardinals were knocked out of the playoff contention in the final week. None of that mattered now, though. It was a new year and everyone was 0-0.
That is the beauty of opening day, right there in that last sentence ó everyone is 0-0. It doesnít matter how good or bad you were last year. It doesnít matter how good or bad you think you are going to be this year. Now it is time to go out there and show what you got. Maybe your team will suck, maybe it wonít. You never know.
I canít have too many complaints as a Cardinals fan. I have seen two World Series victories, four World Series appearances and nine division titles. However, for the last three years, the Cardinals have not made the playoffs. Itís been three solid years of underperforming players, prospects not panning out and head-scratching managerial decisions, courtesy of the Mike Matheny era. Itís been three frustrating seasons.
Do I think weíre winning the World Series this year? Heck yeah, I do. We got one of the best hitters in the game this offseason in Paul Goldschmidt. We replaced Mike Mathenyóit doesnít even matter with who because nobody could be worse (the new manager is Mike Schildt if you must know). We signed Andrew Miller, one of the best relievers in baseball. Alex Reyes is finally healthy after being injured for two years. Things are looking up, baby!
Iíd also be willing to bet that many other fan bases would say the same. Dodger fans would say slow your roll, weíre the two time defending National League champs, this is the year we get over the hump. The Padres just signed Manny Machado and have the number two prospect in baseball, why not us? The Phillies signed Bryce Harper and traded for J.T. Realmuto, this is our year! And so on and so forth. Every team and every fan has a reason why this is the year.
In reality, only one of those fan bases can be right every year. There is only one champion and 30 teams vying for that championship. Twenty-nine fan bases are going to be disappointed and one will be very, very happy. As a rational and sane person, I know this means that most likely my Cardinals will not be holding the trophy at the end of the season. However, as a fan, you canít tell me anything. The Cardinals are winning the World Series this year and thatís a fact as far as Iím concerned. As the season plays out my mind might change, but on opening day 2019, that trophy is coming home to STL where it belongs.