And guess what? Baseball season starts this weekend. The first game is Sunday night, and until the last pitch of that game, every team is tied for first place. Almost every team has reason to hope, and even the ones who have no reason still have hope, because that's how it is on Opening Day.
It's the best thing about spring, that all the possibilities we can see ahead are good. We try not to scratch too deeply below the surface to find the less optimistic probabilities. We don't care that come October, only one team will be the champion, because for now we think that's our team we're talking about.
My favorite thing today was not that the Giants pounded the A's at Pacific Bell Park (in a meaningless practice game), but that this was my first chance since the end of last season to hear baseball's best broadcast team call a game. Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow take the game seriously but have fun with it. Kuiper's dry wit and Krukow's unabashed enthusiasm add a lot to the three hours of balls, strikes, hits and outs.
I can't say that I don't care how my team finishes the season, but I care more that every game they play has something riding on it. If they get through the long six months of the major league season and are always in the running, that makes it a great year. That's how last season went, and it hurt when they were eliminated with two games to go. But it also means that 160 of their 162 games were meaningful. If that percentage of my own days had some significance, I'd feel pretty successful.