“Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.” – Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
I don’t care what the baseball prognosticators say. When Opening Day rolls around I believe to the depths of my soul that anything can happen. Pitchers can discover a new out pitch, hitters can adjust their stances, and a key free agent signing can complete a team. It doesn’t matter if your team is given, say, a 10% chance of playing in October. Anything can happen.
For a few glorious days, I imagined the Mariners starting rotation toying with the best hitters the American League could bat at them. I fantasized about slick double plays, diving outfield catches, and laser bean throws nailing runners at the plate. And our offense? In my dreams, that small ball led to some big runs.
I am not an optimist by nature. Cynicism comes far more naturally to me. So I may enjoy this hopeful feeling while it lasts, but also I start looking forward to the dark, heavy resignation that this will be another season in which only Hades himself will truly find delight.
A week in I’m tired of being sunny and hopeful. I’m only happy when it rains defensive miscues and offensive blunders.
I start waxing nostalgic about the Bobby Ayala years and the epic saves he blew. I yearn to see those routine Joey Cora throws to Rick the Peanut Man. If we could combine the bullpen and infield defense of that era with today’s offense, we could really have something.
Am I actually rooting for the Mariners to lose? For the dissipation of any last threads of respectability?
Of course not.
I think of this as a defense mechanism against the fact that a World Series caliber team has never felt further away.