Contrary to cliche, you don’t throw everything out on Opening Day. One of the best things about baseball is that we can extrapolate and project in meaningful ways based on the data we have before us.
… but not perfectly. At its based, statistical analysis allows us to say only that Thing X is “more likely” than Thing Y. You don’t ever completely rule out Thing Y. If I’m opting for a paraphrased cliche today, it would be something like: that’s why they play the games, and that’s why we watch them.
I’ll spare you the poisonous seeds of hope, though I can’t help but note that crazy things do happen in this game. Players get injured, narratives break apart, and teams surprise.
The 2014 Chicago Cubs are a favorite for the cellar in the NL Central this year, and with good reason. The building process is at a stage where losing is not only an ugly byproduct of The Plan, it is also something of an uncomfortable benefit in the long run.
But, to be sure, no one involved with, or cheering for, the Cubs actually wants to see them lose. We’ve had our fill and then some over the past five years – or 105, if you’re among the eldest of fans – and if anyone deserves to enjoy a fun, competitive baseball season, it’s Cubs fans. That day is coming, and then it’s going to stick around for a long time. I truly believe that.
For today, I can’t know what this season will hold, even if I trust the projections that say Thing X is more likely than Thing Y. But damn it, I love baseball, and I love the Cubs. So I’m going to watch, cheer, and see where the 2014 Cubs story goes. Crazy things happen.
Opening Day is here. Crack open a cold one and enjoy. Just make sure you save some of your beer for August and September.