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Why Time Begins On Opening Day

Posted By Howard Megdal On April 5, 2012 @ 9:12 am In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

You’ll have to forgive me for giddiness. In just a few hours, I get to watch baseball up close with my wife and daughter. (When she woke up, her first words were, “Baseball game? Opening Day?”) And my wife’s employer has finally seen fit to classify this as a day off, a precursor to, I hope, making this a national holiday.
After the game, I get to discuss it with the principal players, and then write about it. Win or lose, there will be actual baseball, and it is my profession to chronicle it. I’m not bragging- I’m just pointing out that I am acutely aware of how fortunate that makes me, and grateful for that good fortune.
So I can’t get too worked up over the fact that this Mets team probably isn’t doing much this year. They are about to play 162 games of baseball.
Maybe it is the way I was brought up. I was born in 1980. So I experienced winning Mets baseball early on- my first team was the 1986 Mets, and throughout the 80s, the Mets were in contention.
But from age 11-16, the Mets lost a lot more than they won. And yet, I remember trying to convince a largely uninterested girlfriend how big it was that the Mets acquired Carlos Baerga, pulling for Anthony Young, and celebrating in the car when Todd Hundley set the single-season home run record for a catcher. I don’t remember walking around upset because the Mets lost constantly. That girlfriend gave me more angst than seasons of losses.
No, I’m not optimistic that this team will win more than 67 games this year. And I don’t expect a lot of company at Citi Field after this one. But here are some things I’m bullish on:
I think Daniel Murphy will be better than expected at second base, and therefore be quite valuable there.
I think Ruben Tejada will improve over last year, and continue to develop.
I think Lucas Duda’s bat, anyway, is for real.
I think R.A. Dickey can pitch well for the Mets for a long time.
I think Jon Niese will make his contract extension look like a bargain.
I think Bobby Parnell will become a late-inning weapon this year.
Maybe I’m wrong about these things. Hey, maybe I’m wrong about the overall prospects of the ballclub. What’s great about all the discussion is that we get to see ourselves.
What I don’t expect is to look back at this time, years from now, and think how miserable I was, sitting at a baseball game with my wife and daughter in the sunshine, or hearing Howie Rose through the radio on a summer evening, because at the end of that game, Jason Bay weakly grounded out to end the threat.
It is baseball season. Our days contain something spectacular, an extended music to anticipate all day, nearly every day, for months. Maybe not into October, sure. But we get 162. That we know.
If the reality that we’re probably only getting 162 fills you with despair, well, there’s a team across town that’s just perfect for you.

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