Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

You regulars should know me well enough by now to know that I'm not one to start waxing poetic about the appearance of pitchers and catchers today.

You have probably heard a lot over the last few days about how spring training represents the onset of hope and beginnings...about how everybody starts out 0-0 and, at least temporarily, is a playoff contender.

I, on the other hand, would probably tell you that pitchers and catchers reporting is just day one on a road that for 29 out of 30 teams will have a brick wall at the end. I for one don't like those odds.

(And I especially don't like those odds if Pedro is hanging out with guys who are linked to steroids and hypodermic needles. No pun intended but...ouch!)

The following is a fact: There is no more hope today than there was on October 20th, 2006.

Now don't take that to mean that there is no such thing as hope, or that hope is overrated...not at all. But there is no more hope today than there was the day after the most painful strikeout in Mets history.

I'll prove it with a true story.

There's a young boy that lives with his father in a Manhattan loft that had plenty of room for a kid to hit a sponge ball off a tee to his doting father, waiting with the glove that came with the tee ball set to catch his son's screaming line drives. Each morning, before the father could set up the equipment, the young son was already waiting with bat in hand to take some morning BP before nursery school. All this young boy would do was swing, swing and swing some more. One hundred...two hundred swings while his father would play the field. This went on for months.

Then came October 19th. The father let the young boy stay up as late as he could to watch Game 7 between the Mets and the Cardinals. Try as he might, the boy couldn't make it through the whole game, but one of the last things he saw was Endy Chavez's catch.

The boy woke up the next morning wondering who won. When told that the Cardinals had won and the Mets wouldn't be playing baseball anymore, the boy wondered aloud to his father "was it because I fell asleep?"

The father had decided not to set up the baseball equipment that morning, figuring that the son wouldn't be in the mood to take BP upon hearing that the Mets season was over. But wouldn't you know it, there he was taking the equipment out of the closet and setting up just as it was any other morning. Setting up the tee just where it always was, with ball on top. Then he got out his trusted bat...

and handed it to his father.

The young boy, with his last memory of the 2006 season being Endy Chavez's catch...and knowing full well that he would not see his beloved Mets play again in 2006...put on his plastic glove and took the field for the first time ever, perhaps hoping one day to make a catch like that during morning BP in a Manhattan loft. That, my friends, is as hopeful as any set of pitchers and any set of catchers taking a field in Port St. Lucie.

Play ball.


k5nyc said...

That is a great story I love it! Whole reason I'm such a diehard Mets fan is because of my father keeping me up late in 86. Damn I love this game.

G-Fafif said...

And suddenly I recover the memory of probably the only catch I ever had with my baseball-disinterested father, when I requested he throw it to my side so I'd have to dive for it. Like Tommie Agee.

Hope autumns, winters and springs eternal, indeed.

Anonymous said...

42” DLP TV $1300
Nusery School Tuition $8000
Rent for a Manhattan Loft $4250
Plastic Tee and Glove $14.95
Reading that story and remembering what it was like to be a kid playing baseball "Priceless"

Unser said...

MD - you're giving me agida over here! Please, let's move past The Strikeout - 2007 baby . . .

Tommy_Calzone said...

I'm pickin up what you throwin down playa.

patona314 said...

you need to make sure that account makes it to the sunday times sports section. if you don't, i will.