Spring training is coming to a close. Meaningful baseball is nearly upon us. For some of us it might not feel like the season opener is just a week away.
Maybe it is the miserly cold, north-eastern weather that has me writing this piece wrapped in a zebra print Snuggie. To be clear, I did not purchase the Snuggie. It was a gag gift in one of those Christmas Pollyanna games back when Snuggies were cool, whenever that was if that was ever.
Maybe it is because Roy Halladay’s lackluster spring has me on the precipice of despondency.
Maybe it is because Laynce Nix is in line to be a starter on a team that has one of the largest payrolls in all of Major League Baseball.
Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of things about this team that, when I think about, do get me warm enough to want rip off this Snuggie. Domonic Brown has been one of the best hitters in the Grapefruit League with league leading seven home runs. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have looked more like their former late 20-year-old selves than men in their mid-30s. Cole Hamels is growing a beard.
For me, all the question marks and unpredictableness of the upcoming season is why baseball is so fun. I remember in 2007 sitting behind home plate as Brett Myers struck out Wily Mo Pena to win the first of five consecutive National League East crowns. Citizens Bank Park was roaring before the game even started as news of the New York Mets historic collapse spread throughout the stands.
Going into that year Jimmy Rollins famously declared the Phillies as the “team to beat.” April began with a dreadful 4-11 start. Many wrote the team off and would do so a dozen or so more times throughout the year.
I am not comparing this year’s team to the one from 2007. In reality, many have already written off this year’s team. They are too old. They can’t compete against the national media’s darling Washington Nationals. The Atlanta Braves had the sensational off-season adding the Upton brothers. The Phillies traded for Ben Revere.
However, that 2007 season was remarkable. I have so many fond memories. And I don’t think that is just because of the end result.
I don’t know if the Phillies will win 90, 80, or 70 some odd games this year. I don’t know who will have a career year and who will be frustratingly impossible to watch. None of us really do. We can posture and predict all we want. In the end, all I know is that I want to enjoy the ride no matter the outcome. For me, it is the only way to watch