Man, Cole Hamels is fine with starting Opening Day.
He’s so relaxed he’s spent the past few days firing a hot dog cannon and growing a mustache. This is locked-in, World Seires MVP Hamels, not talk show-rattled, hands-in-the-air post-World Series Hamels. Watching Roy Halladay step out of the spotlight and into another spotlight a few days later is not stressful at all.
Why shouldn’t we have the same ironclad faith in Cole that we’ve had in Doc?
“If you want to be great in this game, you’re going to have to do it very well more times than not to be that guy.”
Okay, yeah, his t-shirt catch phrases could use some work, but we can’t all have gems like “It’s only gonna get funner” or “Whatever.” I mean that was groundbreaking stuff. Innovation at its finest. Cole’s going up against some heavy-hitters in that regard.
And also, in the baseball regard. The Braves were so dedicated to offensive prowess in the offseason that they brothers. Brothers. Two brothers on the same team! They might as well just hang out outside the World Series trophy factory and save that beleaguered trophy-maker the long drive to Atlanta so he can he is kids for more than 24 hours a year.
But Cole knows what this situation is and what it implies.
“A lot of great pitchers have had that honor, and to be one of them, it’s something I will cherish. To be able to get your team off to the right start sets the tone for the entire season.”
Some people would argue that this is just one game, it just happens to come before all of the other ones, but Cole knows. People’s baseball juice is all backed up from holding it all winter. Today, people will be popping all over the Delaware Valley, and if they have nothing but a dreary loss in their heads tonight, this land will be transformed into a nightmarish hellscape quicker than you can say “It already is pretty bad.”
“So I think — even though you don’t want to hear it — it’s more or less just the knowledge that you have to give it everything you can while you can, because it’s going to be taken away really fast and you don’t want to regret anything.”
Cole understands the inevitable touch of grim death – a key aspect of an Opening Day starter. He knows the gifts he’s been given are fleeting, like life’s other tricks: love, feelings, confidence, that feeling like everything is going to be okay. In time, they are obliterated by the harsh realness of being alive.
And if Cole can grasp this, then we should really be okay. Also, he should have the “pitching” aspect down. That would be also be good.