Crack of the bat
The beginning of the baseball season is a harbinger of better days to come.
Spring officially began on March 20, but that date on the calendar is usually an unreliable indicator.
Spring really begins when the weather turns consistently pleasant or, in the alternative, when the Major League Baseball season begins.
This year, we have both — unseasonably warm weather that has some people wearing shorts and T-shirts and, starting last week, the beginning of a new season.
Every team, no matter its history, gets a fresh start on opening day, when hope springs eternal.
The St. Louis Cardinals are coming off a World Series win, achieved in the most improbable manner possible. Their fans, coping with the retirement of longtime manager Tony LaRussa and free-agency loss of future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, are hoping for another memorable season.
The Chicago Cubs and White Sox, two more teams with new managers, are seeking to restore their fortunes with winning, and possibly, championship seasons. This year, their fans hope, won't be like last year.
Whatever happens, it's a long haul — a 162-game season followed by the playoffs. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and every team will experience the highs and lows that seven months of baseball produces.
It won't all be good news, but the good news is that the race is on.