There is news from the South, and all I can say is thank goodness.
As of 10:00 tonight, give or take, football season ended with one last knee and one more celebration from Tom Brady and the Patriots. I’m supposed to be reflexively against this, as a New Yorker, but I can’t help but not care in the slightest. As you know — at least, as you know if you’re part of the more obsessive reaches of Mets Twitter — the last play of the Super Bowl means it’s Baseball Season. And Baseball Season means…well, it’s Baseball Season. There’s nothing more that needs to be said.
Twitter, of course, was filled with celebrations. Like this one and this one and, not to toot my own horn, this one. Exhultations of the abstract notwithstanding, Mets Pitchers and Catchers report in, by my count, nine days, ten hours, and 44 minutes. By the time you read this, it will be even sooner.
That baseball season begins as football season ends doesn’t even need to be questioned at this point. There’s Pitchers and Catchers, then five days later the first full squad workout, then four days after that the first game of Spring. Once games begin, we’ve got a game every day, more or less, and almost every day that game is on the radio or on TV, and the time starts to fly before suddenly, it’s Opening Day in Washington and the world gets warm again.
The hardest part is over, is what I’m saying. It’s getting warmer; hell, it’s supposed to get near 60 tomorrow. And meanwhile, the mindless waiting is done, replaced with, for now, more active waiting, and then actual, real-world baseball. Who are the first cuts? Who impresses the coaches with their new swing? Who shows up early to Port St. Lucie? Who shows up late? It’s time to start wondering about that, and that means the worst part of winter is over.
In Brooklyn back when the Dodgers played there and could never win anything, their motto was “wait ‘till next year.” Well, that part is over; we’re there. It is next year and we’re 52 days from nine players in orange and blue taking the field in Queens. Now? Wait ‘till next month. Because next month, the world gets warm again. But this month, Florida gets warm again, and that’s not bad either. Football is over, and now it’s time for Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil and, if he’s still got it, Robinson Cano. Time for triples and double plays and stolen bases. Time for fastballs on the corner and slides into third. Time for sun in the sky, a breeze in the stands, lemonade in the cupholder, peanuts and crackerjacks in hand.
It’s time for baseball. Really, that’s all I need to say.