Can you feel it? Can you see it coming? Baseball fans are expectant parents waiting for the baby to arrive. And it's almost time for the new season to be born. It will be a season like others, but it will be totally different. Each team will still play 162 games. The American League will still have the DH. Bobby Cox is still down there in Atlanta. The Cubs are still hoping for the drought to be over. The bases are still formed in that perfect diamond. The familiar will take its place along side the new and ridiculous. Ozzie will still say some off the wall things. But his team is totally different than past teams. LaRussa will still be in St. Louis along with Duncan performing his yearly miracles. Pujols will hit. But we'll still see something we've never seen before and some player or team will surprise us. Scandals will occur. Hotdogs will be over-priced. The regular season is almost upon us. Hallelujah!
One of the best things about being a Fan is making a mental list of hopes for the new season. Each April brings a pie in the sky feeling and euphoria of possibility. Only a few of those wishes will become reality. Some crushing disappointments will occur. But like a typical Sunday on a golf course, the shanks are usually forgotten after the miracles. For each wince at the disabled list, there will be a mental high five to someone having a career year. Some young guy will become the new megastar. Some old guy will finally break down. And despite some of the finest minds in the world predicting the outcomes, nobody knows what is going to happen.
And those mental wish lists? Those things that would happen in a perfect world? How about Jeter getting 200 more hits? How about Hamilton, Vlad, Cruz and Feldman bringing a division title to Texas? How about Jason Heyward finishing with a .950 OPS? How about that switch-pitcher for the Yankees getting a September call? How about one of the Pirates, Nationals, Reds, Orioles, Padres or (God help them) the Royals breaking years of struggle to shine in the sun? How about Braun and Fielder hitting 100 homers between them? How about Strasburg and Chapman finishing their mandatory time in the minors to come up blazing zeroes? How about the Bay Rays topping two million in attendance? How about the Marlins winning the wildcard? How about Tim Hudson being this year's Chris Carpenter? How about Buster Posey getting a shot to hit every day?
Wouldn't it be great if a pitcher threw a perfect game on opening day? Wouldn't it be great if Mike Sweeney had a great year in Seattle? Wouldn't it be great to see another great throw from Ichiro to throw out a runner at third? Admit it. Wouldn't it be fun for someone other than the Cardinals to win the NL Central? Wouldn't it be great if Haeger really got a shot in Los Angeles once they get tired of Padilla? Wouldn't it be fun to watch Phil Hughes live up to his potential? Wouldn't it be great if Miami discovered the Marlins? Wouldn't it be great for fans to have a new stadium in Minnesota? Wouldn't it be a relief to hear good news about the Athletics' future? Wouldn't you be glad if Jose Reyes and David Wright had great years?
There is so much to root for. There are so many wonderful reasons to check out the box scores. It will be a treat to read all the Fan's favorite writers. It will be fun to root for all the JMLs that Josh Borenstein has written about every day? Wouldn't you secretly love to see Manny Ramirez have a big year? Sure you would. Wishing and hoping is what this is all about. Waiting to discover how much of it goes beyond our wildest expectations is worth all winter of missing the daily grind of the season.
Through it all, the Fan will be pumping it out. Because this is what the Fan lives for...well, one of the things anyway. Can you feel it? Are you excited? Yeah! The Fan hears you and smiles in similitude.