It Starts Anew

The bats, balls, uniforms and equipment were all packed away back in October, just as fall was making its entrance. A lot earlier than many of the supporters had hoped when the season dawned back in the spring. Many of us were hoping, praying and wishing that baseball would still be going well through October, possibly into November if necessary, if that’s what it took to bring home a championship. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and that baseball season reached its sunset.

After a long winter where players came and went, and some came back home, the call went out in mid-February. And they came from all over the country to warmer climates in Florida and Arizona. The equipment, uniforms, balls and bats were taken out and put back into use. The players returned to the game they loved. It used to be they used these weeks to get in shape for the season; but in this day and age, they are supposed to be in shape already, they just go over the fundamentals and get ready for the long grind aheadโ€”the marathon that is another baseball season.baseball-155990_1280

In just a few hours, the first official call to “play ball” will ring out at PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the first baseball game of the 2016 baseball season. And with that, one of the big four of sports begins a new story, filled with ups and downs, fastballs and curves, home runs and strikeouts, and all the things the grand old game offers to those of us who love it and still follow it. And while football, and basketball and hockey and soccer (futbol), and other sports have their charms, it is baseball that reminds me of renewal. Of fresh starts. Of green grass and sunshine. The crack of the bat, and the strategy involved. And so much more.

Which brings me to tomorrow afternoon, and the beginning of another Baltimore Orioles baseball season. The past few seasons have seen something of a renaissance with the franchise, with two playoff appearances in four years after a long drought of postseason action filled with plenty of losing. Still, through it all, they remain my team. I can remember season after season hoping that the Orioles would make some kind of progress, to show me that they were going to snap out of the losing funk that had draped over the franchise like a dark cloud that wouldn’t leave. Then, out of nowhere in 2012, the Orioles won enough games to get into the playoffs. No matter that they didn’t win the World Series that year; just seeing them playing postseason baseball was enough for me. Two years later, they got all the way to the American League Championship Series; but the bats couldn’t do much with Kansas City’s pitching staff after the first game, and they were swept out in four games.

Does that mean that the Orioles will pull another even-year surprise and make the playoffs again? Well…if you believe most of the prognosticators and pundits, the O’s might be lucky to make break-even again, like they were last season. The reason? The perceived lack of starting pitching. The bullpen looks to be solid as it has been over the last few years, and the lineup looks formidable; full of sluggers who can mash, but also prone to provide cooling breezes in the summer heat with a lot of swings that miss the ball completely. I used to pray for seasons with .500 records, but the O’s of the last few years have made me spoiled. I want more. Will I get it? I hope so, but we will see. The first steps are taken tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 PM (provided the weather holds up long enough to get the game in).

So…to Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Yovani Gallardo and the rest of the players; to manager Buck Showalter and all the coaches…Let’s go O’s!

14 Replies to “It Starts Anew”

    1. Thank you! If those words can get you to watch one game in its entirety, it must have conveyed how much I like baseball enough to at least make you think about it. But I wouldn’t be surprised that you would walk away once you started watching. Baseball is a slow game, no doubt about it, and the games today that younger people like have more action to them. That probably explains why baseball isn’t very popular with the younger generation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure it’s fun if you’re watching it live. You’re right, I’d probably walk away if it’s on TV. I’ll watch some World Series games but that’s about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. As far as TV viewing goes, ratings have been low even for World Series games. It is better live, for sure. But for many people who grew up with the game, TV is pretty much how they first experienced it. But now, with teams showing just about every game through the season on TV, some folks might be bored with it being on that much.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post T. Sure, we have shared our “concerns” all winter on the O’s rotation ๐Ÿ™‚ – thank you for your support on that ๐Ÿ™‚ – but I think you are right that there are still some good parts to this team. Either way – warm weather, baseball and Buck are back. How bad can that be???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Maria. It always seems that there isn’t enough starting pitching every year, but they have made the postseason two of the last four seasons with staffs that wouldn’t scare anyone, so maybe they can get it together just enough to do it again. But yes, it is good to have baseball back for another season!

      I kind of surprised myself when I wrote the sentence about how out of nowhere the 2012 O’s made the postseason…I almost got emotional like I did that night when it became official that they had made the playoffs. It’s amazing what the game can do to grown men ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was at the UVA/NC State series in Charlottesville this weekend.

    Preston Palmiero, Rafael’s son, plays first for the Wolf Pack. He is the spitting image of his dad and has that same short, sweet swing.

    Orioles pitcher (and former Hoo) Tyler Wilson was at the game on Saturday and Rafael Palmiero was at all the games this weekend. So, sort of an Orioles weekend in HooVille!

    Go O’s!

    Liked by 1 person

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