Baseball has returned! Specifically, Boston Red Sox baseball has returned!
The last time we saw them, they were playing out the string of another disappointing season. Coincidentally the last time I was blogging (somewhat) regularly, they weren't totally awful. Then they were, and I stopped caring because they stopped caring. But it's a new day. That's what I love about baseball. Every April offers a new hope. Hope springs eternal.
For some sports fans, baseball is the natural progression of seasonal changes. The NCAA tournament coincides with baseball's spring training. Hockey and basketball playoffs coincide with early season baseball. Baseball takes hold for the summer before giving way to football and the winter before we start it up again with hockey and basketball as football winds its season down. Add MLS, UFC, NASCAR, tennis, golf, and occasionally some variation of the Olympics or World Cup games every few years and I think that covers the American sports arena.
For me, though, sports viewing begins and ends with baseball. When the baseball season ends, I turn to Netflix and Hulu to catch up on stuff I missed over the previous six months. I pay attention to other things. I don't move on to the New England Patriots or the Boston Bruins, or the Celtics. I'm so thoroughly engrossed in baseball that when it ends, I need a breather. I'm impressed with people who passionately jump from season to season, sport to sport.
I think I like baseball because it's played so often, it's OK if I don 't catch every inning of every game, but I'll also watch a meaningless 5 hour game between the Red Sox and Orioles on a Wednesday. Whereas football is a weekly event, it's OK if I miss a Red Sox game because they're usually playing the next day. There are obvious exceptions when they're playing rivals, or there's a huge matchup. In general though, baseball is the ultimate game to follow. I'm biased, but that's OK.
Some say the first game can be an indicator of a season. I prefer this as truth when the Red Sox either blow out the opposing team or have a dramatic walk off. I'll deny this as fiction when a starter gets knocked out early and everybody has a terrible first game. I'm fine with contradicting myself depending on the outcome year to year.
I don't have any predictions for the Red Sox this season. Part of me says they'll win the World Series, part of me says they'll end up in third place. I suspect it'll be somewhere between the two, and if they win the whole thing, it'll be a epic journey.