Today is Opening Day. Welcome to one of the greatest days of the year, if not the greatest. Even among baseball-specific days, I do happen to prefer the home opener, which never comes on the same day as Opening Day if you’re a Cardinals fan, but it’s a top five greatest day of the year, no question.
Opening Day is a time of hope. Anything is possible. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will combine to form the greatest corner infield duo in baseball. Tommy Edman will become Kolten Wong redux. Paul DeJong will take the next step offensively. Dylan Carlson will become a star. Tyler O’Neill will win both the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger. Jack Flaherty will win the Cy Young. Both Kwang-Hyun Kim and Miles Mikolas will return and become dependable and reliable members of the rotation as soon as they return, earlier than expected.
And most importantly, the Cardinals will win the World Series. They have a good chance of making the playoffs and because of that they can win the World Series. If any fanbase can understand that, it has to be this one. Why not get a head start on getting a ring during the 2020s?
Opening Day represents a new start. It represents a new season. And it represents hope at the season to come. Also summer. When baseball starts, summer is coming. And it’s appropriate that when summer came last year, there was no baseball. Because summer last year was not particularly fun for most people. This summer should be different. There’s hope that it will be.
If I may make a digression, an interesting thing has happened to me. I bought a house. My first house. Probably goes without saying when you find out my age. But it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been saving money for forever and the pandemic actually delayed this process for a year. It is delayed no longer. But a strange thing happened after I bought the house (and I’m aware this is like, the epitome of first world problems coming)
I felt old. Here’s a funny story. In December of last year, I celebrated my 28th birthday. My sister, who is younger than me, tried to needle me by saying I was now two years away from 30, so I was basically 30. Her words did not affect me. I’m two years from 30, that’s not enough time for me to be concerned.
But for some reason, I remembered what she said soon after I bought the house and suddenly, it was as if I was that hoary cliche of a person on a sitcom turning 30. So here I am, getting a new start, entering the next stage of my life, and all I can see is my entire life flashing quickly by and that this is just the next stage to death. I’m fascinated by my own response to all this, because I know it’s all psychological. My life isn’t actually changing (in the near term anyway). But I guess the symbolism is too strong. I’ve tried to remove these feelings with some good old logic, but it just can’t seem to win the argument over feelings.
And really feelings beat logic on Opening Day too. Yeah, call me Mr. Fantastic, because I really am stretching so I can include my own personal therapy here. But you can logically try and break down the team and try to talk yourself out of hope, but the sun is out, baseball is on, and hell the Cardinals might actually win it this year.
As an aside, the Cardinals are facing Luis Castillo later today. It is my obligation to inform you that Luis Castillo is better than you think. He is probably better than Jack Flaherty, or at least equal to him. Projections like him more at least. He plays his home games at Great American Ballpark, a hitter’s park, so Jack will probably end up with the better ERA, but Castillo did strike out over 30% of hitters last year.
So the Cardinals will strike out a lot and I beg of you to not let this inform your opinion of the offense too much. Castillo is so, so good. He is an All-Star caliber pitcher and should be a Cy Young candidate good. The Cardinals failing against him is probably less a reflection on the offense and more a reflection on how good he is. Because he strikes everyone out a lot. So, you know, I feel compelled to point that out when it happens because I know people will use it as an opportunity to make grand statements about the Cards offense after one game.
The Cards game is on at 3 - central time of course what blog are you reading. I, unfortunately will only get to see about an hour of the game, and then will be listening to most of the rest of it in my car, or just plain missing the game in general. But I hope the Cards can get off to a good start. But just beware, Luis Castillo is an excellent pitcher and while I think the Cards are better than the Reds, it’s basically an even matchup today.
Happy Opening Day and may the end of the day bring forward a 1-0 record.