Funny thing about baseball season … it goes on forever and then ends in an instant.
A baseball season, all six months and 162 games of it, is a lot of things to a lot of people. If your team is expected to be good, it is a total grind because you never relax. You play .500 for a few weeks and somebody comes out of nowhere and wins 19 out of 21 and there’s nothing you can do about it. The Boston Red Sox won 108 games this year and never got a chance to enjoy it because the New York Yankees were always in the rear view mirror.
If you are Kansas City or Miami or Baltimore (more on that tomorrow, so stay tuned), you know your season is hopeless from the start. It’s just a matter of trying to stay on the good side of 100 losses.
And then there are those in between. Thankfully in 2018, my favorite team was one of those. The Atlanta Braves were supposed to be better than the miserable-ness of the last four years, but how much better? As it turned out, a lot.
Many thought the Braves would be lucky to be a .500 team. Instead they won the National League East. For me, it was a six-month joy ride. Yes, it ended with a 3-1 series loss to Los Angeles, but that was hardly the point to 2018.
Watching the Braves get better and better each week was the best part of the season. Young players proving they belonged. Veterans performing in the clutch. Rookie pitchers getting called up from the minors and giving a glimpse of the future.
This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had following a baseball team. The team I started following in April was completely transformed by the end of September. I hoped it would happen, but I never expected it.
Alexander Pope (a solid left-hander who couldn’t get out of AAA ball) once said “hope springs enteral.” Baseball hadn’t been invented when Big Al penned that phrase in the 18th century, but he was on to something. For the Braves, that hope sprung into something special. And perhaps eternal. (At least until next year.)
IMPORTANT NOTE FROM ONE OF DW’S CO-FOUNDERS: Thursday, October 11, is the birthday of the other DW co-founder and from all of the executives and staff here at www.DesignatedWriters.com, we’d like to wish him a Happy “Jack Ham” Birthday!