Well, winter still holds Western Washington in its icy grip, but even as I steeled my self against the cold and walked out to my car, the amount of daylight still present upon leaving work had increased noticeably. Spring is coming, even if it’s hard to fathom such a thing while gazing out at a blanket of white reflecting a winter sun that grants much light but little warmth. Did you know that Daylight Savings Time is just two week’s from this Sunday (for US readers, anyway)? Did you know that baseball players are getting ready to start Spring Training games this weekend? The end of winter is in sight. Before long we’ll be filling out brackets for the NCAA Tournament. Then, as those brackets fall apart, baseball season will start.
It’s part of why I love baseball so much. It’s long season starts in early spring, filled with possibility. Every team has hope for a time. As spring starts to shake off winter’s chill, so do ballparks across the nation fill with fans sharing our national pastime. As spring becomes summer some hope begins to falter as some teams win while others lose, but it’s never extinguished, not until dictated by math’s objective assessment. That’s the beauty of baseball. There are no rankings. There is no clock. There’s no rating based on strength of schedule. Every team has an opportunity to win each game it plays, and each win carries equal value. A one run squeaker has the same value as a ten run blowout. Every batter has the ability to hit a home run, from the National League relief pitcher to last year’s batting champion. Every pitcher starts a game with the possibility of perfection, from the unknown rookie to the Cy Young Award winner. It’s no wonder it America’s game. It is, at its heart, a game grounded in equality. And every player that steps onto the field, every pitcher who takes the mound, every batter who digs in at the plate has one goal every April. That goal is to take the field in October, when the chill winds of autumn echo the winter’s last icy gusts, for to endure those frigid fall nights is the attainment of the dreams of sunlit spring days.