Anyway, there’s a certain awkwardness around this time of year, players and fans and reporters alike trying, more than anything really, to convince not just the world but themselves that they, before even a single game is played, know Exactly What Lies Ahead. The Sox are going to tank. Conversely, the Sox are poised for greatness. Got it?
And this is all well and good, except the thing I always wonder about is just what each of those parties really gets in the long run. Let’s say, for example, the whole DH thing blows up in our collective faces the way at least a few people think it will. So what? I mean, yes, okay, South Side mediocrity embarrasses us all and there’s no real reason to think one man’s two years of failure will mean that man’s third in a row because, you know, guys rebound at age 33 all the time. All the time!
Sorry. Where were we? Ah, yes. The future.
So there’s this whole world of fluff pieces and non-stories and chest-puffing going on, all of us clamoring to prove the others wrong (or as much as one can hope to prove other wrong through the collective work of 25 strangers) and hoping against hope the time will be either as terrible or way better six months from now than we though they would be in February. February! As though February were some great indicator of how much thunder was left in Paul Konerko’s bat or the real reason (you heard it here first) Tyler Flowers and Daniel Hudson are packing their bags in July or, perish the thought, how the surprising Sox will fare in the unexpected and so-called “Ten-Year Reunion ALDS” against the hated Mariners.
It is February. It is the time when idiotic baseball-related banter works, because there is nothing working against it. No, it’s not true that “everyone has a chance” or whatever people who don’t follow the Pirates like to say, but it is true that everyone has nothing to lose. Nothing is right. Nothing is wrong. Everything just is, and all we have left is to look forward, into that beautiful future where every horrible thing bound to happen hasn’t yet happened and we live in a world where our favorite manager finally falls into the sound-bite vortex we suspect he’s already been living in.
And you know something? It feels pretty good. So there’s that to look forward to.