Did You Miss It?

This is it. This is the day that fans look forward to all those long months of snow and winter. The days that are filled will trade news, rumors, and contracts. The days where you count, endlessly, how much longer that you have to wait.

Only one team officially starts tonight. The rest of the 30 clubs start tomorrow. Teams of 40 men take to the field tomorrow, with the roar of the crowd behind them. 40 men, all chasing the same dream.

But with this first pitch, something returns. In its basic form, it's a sport. It's a sport where teams of 9 men try to hit a ball with a stick. 9 men chase this ball across grass and dirt with leather on one hand. It's a sport.

To some people, it's a religion, it's a life. Teams become family again, names and statistics being better known that some immediate family member's birthdates. When their team is playing, that's what's on the TV. They never move, except during commerical breaks. They watch and they listen to the commentators who are totally right or totally wrong about certain players. That guy can't be an All-Star, there's this guy on this team who is way better.

All 30 teams are even today. For these last few hours, all of them, even the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals or the Chicago Cubs, are in first place. All of them are in the perfect spot to make a run to the playoffs. All of them are World Series Bound. All of them are 0-0.

After tonight, one team will have 1 win. That will slowly be followed by teams tomorrow. Slowly, over the next 7 months, divisions will be won, hearts will be broken, curse words will be said, and predictions will fall flat. But tonight is the night where anything is possible.

Tonight, every team is the best team in the league. Tonight, every baseball fan gathers around the television to welcome back a long lost friend. Tonight, Dodger and Padres fans welcome back their teams, their coaching staff, and their cheering voice. They yell at the umpires, they cheer with strike outs or walks, they cheer with every double play or pop up.

Tomorrow, Boston, Kansas City, Texas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, among others, return to the field. Some are at their home field. Some won't return home for a few more days. But they return. Buster Posey returns to behind the plate to throw out base stealers. David Price returns to see what Joe Maddon will be doing or bringing to the clubhouse this season. Mike Trout returns to show that he deserves all the money and that extension he just signed.

All 30 teams are chasing after that trophy. Some, some of those teams have had recent encounters with it- New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies. Some haven't had a season off with that trophy since they changed their names- Miami Marlins, who won when they were still the Florida Marlins, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem who won when they were still the Anahiem Angels. Some haven't won since the 90's or the 80's even- The Atlanta Braves haven't won since 1995 despite a trip back in 1999. The Kansas City Royals haven't won since 1985, and haven't been back since 1985.

But that doesn't matter on this day. On this night, everyone is on their way back. Every batter is batting their best. Their stats are clean, and spring training is a small memory. If someone's stats are brought up, it's last years. But last year is gone. This is this year. This is a new year, and full of new possibilities.

This is OUR year. This is the year OUR team will get to the World Series. This is the year OUR team will win that trophy, the year an MVP will be from OUR team. WE will have Cy Young worthy pitching. WE will steal bases, WE will hit home runs, WE will win games. WE will have a no-hitter, a perfect game, a title at the end of our name- Division Champs, League Champs, World Champs.

This is a new year, and it's our year.

Welcome back baseball, you have been missed.


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