As far as I can tell, Alexander Pope popularized the phrase “hope springs eternal” in 1733. One Internet poster without a citation carried it back to ancient Rome, but either way, I’m sure they were talking about Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.
Now you might say Pope wrote that 150 years before anyone had even heard of baseball, but that’s an irrelevant detail.
Three days from now, the boys of summer will walk back into our lives and another long, dreary winter will come to an end.
This is the time of year when everything is still possible. Hope defines us. It might be 40 degrees, but it’ll feel like 75.
I’m a Tigers fan. Things are looking pretty good this season. The team added Prince Fielder and has a full season of Doug
Fister in addition to the roster that won 95 games and made it to the ALCS last year.
This could be the year, it really could.
One of my best friends in the world is a Mets fan. They’re poised to spend the season in the cellar of the National League East. But their ace Johan Santana looks healthy, and they made their ballpark more hitter-friendly for the light-hitting lineup. This could be the year, it really could.
Opening Day is the first day of the rest of your life. Everything is in front of you. The Tigers could win 100 games and a World Series, but honestly, the Mets could surprise you. No one knows anything April 1.
Last year the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t supposed to be anybody, but they made the playoffs. The 2006 Tigers were supposed
to win half their games (81), but they won 95 and made the playoffs.
In baseball, miracles happen. Every April, we believe it’s going to happen to us. There’s something so hopeful about Opening Day that’s unmatched anywhere else in life.
No one, not even Cubs fans, is jaded on Opening Day.
There’s something really powerful about that hope. It might be the season changing or the days getting longer, but I choose to believe baseball gives us that hope.
There’s something about a sport that vanishes just as the first chill stings through the air and comes back just as the sun really starts to rise again. Flowers are starting to bloom.
Every year, just as things look their darkest, spring training begins in Florida and Arizona. We can feel it coming. It energizes us in the depths of winter just enough to push us to April.
In April, the magic happens. We welcome old friends back into our lives and forget what it was like when they were gone. The sounds, the smells, the sights. Fresh cut grass and sizzling hot dogs.
But things change quickly. Some teams rise, some teams falter. The hope fades for most, but for some, your team takes you on the ride of your life for the entire summer, culminating with the most thrilling month – October – of your life.
In April, that could be you. In April, it’s possible your team will take you to October. Your dreams haven’t been crushed,
and your heroes are still gods among men. Nothing really compares.
So while your team might not be destined for glory this year, “You Gotta Believe,” if only for a few days. This is the only time of year when anything is possible.
This could be the year, it really, really could.