Does baseball ever feel so far as it does on New Year's Eve?
The year to come not yet begun, the last still left, to leave and to grieve.
No moves are made, no trades are trade, no changes
Are changing at all.
The cold and the dark are the all that are all.
A bare dream of spring, days warm and days bright
Or the moist hazy gauze of a dark summer night,
Seems barely to be worth the fight.
It's all just tunnel, and no light.
Football will be played, all fire and glory,
A sort of love story
With the realm of the gory.
Of gladiators and crowds willfully
Methadone at best.
Hockey is better
But still not that close,
A welcome guest.
But no more.
So we'll stare out the window
And wait for the spring,
For the next chance at glory,
An October ring,
But keeping the wisdom
of loving the thing,
Not only the goal but the road.
Tomorrow, another year greets us
Our game coming closer,
The stadium slumbers
but not so much longer.
The calendar flips
and we march
a new year,
a new season.
Not yet, but soon.
It's New Year's Eve, and this always feels like the darkest part of the baseball-less calendar to me. As much as I love Christmas, the period from about the 20th of December through the next two weeks or so is a brutal time to be a baseball fan. Opening Day is still miles away; as long as it seems since we saw live baseball, there is longer from now to the beginning of the 2015 season than it has been since the awful, miserable end of the 2014 campaign. We are, however, closer to the day pitchers and catchers report than the end of the season, so in that way at least we're better than halfway home. And, really, while spring training baseball is a poor substitute for the real thing, there is discussion to be had, real discussion, when the team starts playing and we can see how things are trending, and discussion about almost real baseball is a near-miraculous thing when you've had nothing new for months.
The tipping point of the offseason for me is, as I'm sure it is for a lot of people, the Super Bowl. I barely care about the NFL playoffs -- I barely care about the NFL in general, to be honest -- but once they've come and gone I feel like the countdown to baseball can begin in earnest. New Year's, though, is just a waypoint in the offseason, sadly.
Of course, it's also a holiday, and so I will wish you a happy one. And a safe one, hopefully; if you do something stupid and don't make it home, you won't get to see the Cardinals' 2015 championship. And you would hate to miss that, wouldn't you? We've seen once already this offseason what one mistake can do; I would prefer not to have any VEBers added to that roll call up yonder, as they say.
So Happy New Year's, VEB. Leave your musings and messages on the last day of 2014 here, and be careful out there.