Yesterday afternoon, baseball happened. And it counted.
It's a bit difficult to describe the significance of the beginning of baseball season. It's not comparable, really, to any other event in sports. The opening of any sports season is a time for excitement, for optimism, and for pageantry and general celebration. NASCAR gets a bonus for opening its season with the most popular race of its season, the Daytona 500.
But when it comes to baseball, the importance of its opening is not in the exaggerated bluster of an Opening Day ceremony, but rather for the resumption of an old routine. When a team begins its season, and especially when a stadium first introduces its home fans to the new year's team, there is a heightened sense of urgency. There is a sense that the first game is practically a playoff game, even though it means very little in the grand scheme of things (the two seasons from 2010 to 2015 which began with a St. Louis Cardinals loss, after all, were the two seasons of the decade in which the Cardinals made the World Series).
Baseball season is part of the daily routine. Most nights, I will leave on the Cardinals game in the background while I do something else; I do not live and die with every single game (the best team in the history of the 162 game season still lost 46 regular season games; treating every game as radically important cannot be good for your emotional health), but rather I like my life to the beat set by the existence of 162 regular season baseball games and, ideally, 11 to 20 postseason games.
And there are 161 left. It will carry us into and through the summer. We will laugh; we will learn; we will meet new people and build stronger friendships with those we already knew; we will have new experiences that shape us as people. For six months a year, twenty-five men who do not know that we exist will provide the soundtrack to our lives.
And that started this weekend. And in case you're still getting in the rhythm of summer, here's what you may have missed this weekend on VEB.
- Lil Scooter previewed the first series of the year between the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, which began yesterday afternoon and runs through Wednesday night. 69% of VEB poll voters incorrectly predicted what would happen during the first pitch of the game, which turned out to be Matt Carpenter taking a ball from Francisco Liriano. While this poll is now outdated, most of the post is not, so go ahead and get lost in the preview of what is still to come at PNC Park.
- Craig Edwards suggested some reasons for optimism in 2016, and all of his points are valid. Now, sure, there are also reasons for pessimism (see: the entire next section of this post), but this does not make any of his points any less true.
- In honor of the red baron's two sentence preview of every team in Major League Baseball, I have constructed a two word preview of every team in MLB.
|Baltimore Orioles||Starters optional|
|Boston Red Sox||Free Panda|
|New York Yankees||A-Rod Heel-God|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Archer's fun|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Unstoppable offense|
|Chicago White Sox||Bye, Drake|
|Cleveland Indians||Defense optional|
|Detroit Tigers||Verlander reborn!|
|Kansas City Royals||Title hangover|
|Minnesota Twins||King Sano|
|Houston Astros||Keuchel's comedown|
|Los Angeles Angels||Trout's good|
|Oakland Athletics||Oft-metaphorical sewage|
|Seattle Mariners||Free Felix|
|Texas Rangers||Rougned Odors|
|Atlanta Braves||Try 2018|
|Miami Marlins||Ichiro forever|
|New York Mets||Frightening rotation|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Howard's encore|
|Washington Nationals||Baker bounceback|
|Chicago Cubs||Pristine lineup|
|Cincinnati Reds||Hamilton's fun|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Dangling Lucroy|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Searage witchcraft|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Deterioration overstated|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Top-heavy enigmas|
|Colorado Rockies||Ban humidors|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Deadline buyers|
|San Diego Padres||Jon Jay|
|San Francisco Giants||Even year
- The actual game! Unfortunately, it was a thing that happened and we are just going to have to learn to accept that. There went the perfect season. Here is the game thread.
- On Saturday, new Cardinals backup catcher Brayan Pena was placed on the 15-day DL, with Eric Fryer called up to the Major League club to serve as the backup for Yadier Molina. While any injury is a bad injury, there is at least some solace in knowing that the Cardinals are not yet immersed in the season and they may not need a backup catcher just yet. See, it's fine, it's...
- On Sunday, Tommy Pham, who batted second and started in left field for the Cardinals, left the game with a left oblique injury. And while Pham has a history of injuries, this is still rather unpleasant news for the Cardinals.