The sweetest words in the English language? "I love you"? Hardly. "Can I bring you some more beer"? Getting closer. "Pitchers and catchers report"? Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!
So it is with great pleasure that I announce, ladies and gentlemen, that, "Pitchers and catchers report!" It won't be long before Opening Day, and soon after that summer. The bleak winter months have been sent away with the single crack of a ball against leather, the therapeutic sounds of catch. Anticipation is in the air, setting the stage for a new drama to unfold, one more promising than the last. No matter which home team you root for, there's something to look forward to.
Today three teams - the Yankees, the Reds, and the very brand new Washington Nationals! - started their camps, and throughout the week more and more teams will report. Given that one of the teams was the Nationals, today was a particularly exciting time for me. Living in D.C., as I do, I've decided to adopt the Nationals as my own, and will follow them loyally.
This isn't to say that the Nationals are supplanting the Twins as my team. That will never happen. I grew up with the Twinkies - their players were my heroes, I know the organization and the history, I still cry when I see highlight reels from '87 or '91. The Twins are a team with more magic than most, and I consider myself blessed to be a follower. But I've never had a National League team to root for, someone on the other side who I wanted to see succeed, and now I've got that opportunity. I can go to the Nationals' games. I can pick up the local paper and read what's happening with the team. I can see where they're building the new stadium, bond with others in the community, and pay a premium price for merchandise that would be discounted in other markets.
So the long and the short of it, if you take anything from this post, is that baseball is back (And, as if that wasn't enough, I'm giving bonus points to anyone who knows how the title relates to this post). I'm sure to follow it all summer, and you'll see plenty of posts regarding both the Nats and the Twins, and probably the league as a whole. There'll be more opinion than reporting, but hopefully that'll just make it more enjoyable for all. And watch for a big post just before opening day, because I'll lay all my predictions on the line. Because I can guarantee you, this is gonna be the year!