Today we are five – count ‘em – five days away from the official start of the Milwaukee Brewers regular season. In less than one week we will have Brewers baseball nearly every day.
While you’re letting that sink in, we wanted to take some time to count down the days with our five favorite things about the Opening Days of Major League Baseball, giving you one reason to cherish it each day leading up to the main event.
Today’s reason: Optimism.
There is nothing quite like the feeling baseball fans get leading up to Opening Day – the overwhelming feeling of optimism casual fans get can often be overlooked by people in my position. We’re covering the team every day. We check every transfer, write up every bit of action from Spring Training and prognosticate until we’re blue in the face. We beat down every scenario we can think of for the sake of word counts and fresh content. Sometimes, I think we forget what April first can mean to people watching the Brewers.
It is all about optimism.
And I don’t just mean the start of the new season. When you really get to heart of it, baseball is all about optimism. Nine innings of play are packed with potential energy just waiting to be unleashed on the crowd. And the reason we cheer, the reason we gasp, boo, jump out of our seats and fall back into them in disappointment is centered around our optimistic feelings about where that potential energy is going to reveal itself.
Because every play represents a new brand of chaos. There are literally thousands of outcomes to every play in the game. We can talk about statistics and match-ups and park factors – and many of them bear true – but at the end of the day we just don’t know. So we hope.
We hope when Yovani Gallardo lets go of the ball, he’s throwing a strikeout. We hope that when Carlos Gomez starts sprinting to wall that he’s going to nab that hit. We hope that every at-bat from Ryan Braun is a home run. We hope that John Axford converts every save opportunity.
We hope the Brewers make the playoffs.
That release of energy from the players translates to the crowd. The movement of the unknown outcome to the actual payoff on the field is why we keep coming back to the game. Because anything can happen.
Take all of that energy, all of that optimism, and multiply it ad infinitum. You have a pretty close approximation of how fans feel on Opening Day. It’s the ultimate “what-if” scenario running through your mind as you cross the turnstiles the very first time. There’s no way this season could run away from us. Not this year. There’s no way things will get as bad as last year – how could they? Nothing bad has happened yet.
Right now you’re probably feeling a little queasy at the fact that I’m waxing poetic about baseball again. And that’s fine. But here I am, writing up this little love letter on my porch and it’s beginning to actually feel like spring again in Wisconsin. The sun is out, the snow is melting away, and as hard as I try I can’t help thinking about it – the warm weather draws me to baseball again.
I think it does for all of us. And when I think about baseball – especially Milwaukee Brewers baseball – in March, I think optimistically. Because I don’t really have another option.
Optimism is the true mark of a Milwaukee Brewers fan. It’s knowing, deep down somewhere past the all of the letdowns, that this team can make it. We might not have the payroll, we might not have the classic star power, but we’re from Milwaukee damn it – and that ought to be good for something.
So don’t be afraid, Brewers fans, let that optimism flag fly. It’s five days away from April first – anything can happen. And that is one reason, at least, to love Opening Day.