I came home early Monday morning after an eventful night that never seemed to end, only to fall into a fitful sleep punctuated by frequent phone calls from Scheduling. In between, I had my first baseball dream of the season. I don’t really remember what it was about, but I do remember waking up in the early afternoon with this strange, giddy feeling: Two hours to first pitch!
This was not a good winter to be a Mariners fan. The team made some dumb, dumb moves. I don’t want to re-hash them now. For the first time in a long time, I let my subscription to Baseball Prospectus lapse, didn’t buy the book, didn’t read the papers, didn’t entertain the notion of going to Arizona in February or March. Why would I? It was only going to depress me, and the team wasn’t going anywhere at all. I tried to tell myself that opening day was going to be just another day, a post-nights day, and that I’d pretend not to care — so that the inevitable collapse and impending season-of-doom (does Ichiro leave? does Sexson’s shoulder implode again? do Joses Vidro and Guillen stink up the joint? will Bloomquist get a starting job?) wouldn’t hurt as much as it might if I were with it from the very beginning.
And yet, there I was: 1535, glued to my XM receiver, listening to that asshole Rick Rizzs ramble on and on about the pre-game festivities. This is going to be a long, long summer.
Then Felix threw a strike.
Then he threw another one.
He’d go on to throw 75 more.
I listened to most of this game on the radio and saw some bits and pieces on TV and my god! every time Felix threw that ball I could feel shivers going up and down my back. Like it was some kind of history in the making. It wasn’t, of course, but as Dave says, there were only a handful of pitching performances in the AL last year that were better than the one we just saw.
Baseball’s a funny game. You think you’re OK without it, you think you don’t really need it, and then suddenly opening day is here, with your favorite team stepping in for the first time, and you think, “they’re gonna suck again this year, I’m not gonna pay attention.” And then some 20 year-old kid, the future of the franchise, puts up a line like this: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 2 BB, 12 K.
And all you can think is, “Sweet Zombie Jesus the baseball gods know how to get my attention.”
Baseball’s back. I couldn’t be happier.