Today is Opening Day and the Detroit Tigers, American League champions (don’t even bring up the World Series, thank you very much), will start out in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Twins. Justin Verlander will take the mound and hopefully get the team off to another winning season.
There’s that word again: hope. Every season starts with it, and it is tested every time the team takes the field. Of course it takes more than just hope to win a game, but if you don’t have that, no amount of skill, strength, or strategy will win it for you. It is, as Emily Dickinson said, “the thing with feathers that perches in the Soul – and sings the tune without the Words – and never stops – at all.”
Well, I don’t think you get Emily Dickinson quoted a lot in blog posts about baseball, but then, it’s Opening Day and for some of us, baseball is more than just a game. It’s a connection with memories — good ones, mostly — of childhood, of youth, of times when there wasn’t a clock ticking away the seconds until the end of the game. We watch with hope that our team will win, and in this game it isn’t by crushing the opponent; it’s by playing better than they do that one time, that one at-bat. And if you lose, then you hope that the next time, the next game, even next year, you’ll win.
Hope is always in the future tense. And so is Opening Day.