Later today, the Colts and Saints will stand around a coin as it spins through the air to determine who will receive and who will kick to start Super Bowl XLIV. Three and a half hours, the game will be over, and then, we wait. We wait for pitchers and catchers; we wait for position players; we wait for games; we wait for Opening Day.
For baseball fans, the month of February is something akin to torture. When the Super Bowl ends and all that the sports world has to offer are some mid-season NBA and NHL games with the promise of March Madness on the horizon, baseball fans idle away their hours waiting for something to happen. It’s a blissful day when pitchers and catchers report, but it also means a lull in news stories. The rumors are done flying, and team rosters are largely set. During those days, pitcher fielding practice is as compelling for fans as it is for pitchers.
Yet, Super Bowl Sunday for me has always been a ray of hope. It’s last gasp of winter before the promise of spring. We might have to wait for something to happen, but baseball is the next big thing for the sports world. The waiting is almost over.
This year, for the Yankees, Spring Training and the eventual regular season are a bit more exciting. The team, after all, is the cream of the crop, the king of the hill. They won the World Series and are the target of, well, everyone else. The AL has retooled with the Yanks in mind, and the Phillies are raring for a late-October rematch.
As the upcoming season unfolds, we’ll see the same milestones — Opening Day, Yankees-Red Sox games, the All Star Break, the trading deadline. But we’ll see some new ones too. We’ll see the Yankees get their rings, supposedly on April 13. We’ll see Joe Girardi take his team to Los Angeles for a reunion with another Joe who used to helm the club. We’ll see the new-look Mariners, the new-look Red Sox and the new-look Angels come to town. We’ll see old friends in new uniforms and new friends in pinstripes come to town. It is all the promise of a new season.
So today, we sit and wait for football. We’ll cheer on the Saints or the Colts, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning. We’ll watch a good game; we’ll check out the overhyped commercials; we’ll see the football season draw to a close. And then we’ll sit and wait for baseball. We’ll wait for Florida, for Arizona, for the first games of the spring, for the first pitch of the season. We’re almost there, and while this cold settles in to muzzle the East Coast and baseball seems far away, it’s just around the corner. I couldn’t be more ready.