It really is a pretty amazing time of year for a baseball fan. For those of us who live and breathe the game, what sits before us is six densely-packed months. And then some.
For the other major North American professional sports, so much of the story is woven off the field of play, where the subtext is simultaneously created and dissected through any number of media scrums at practices and ex-jock analyst roundtables. But with baseball, there's so much that happens every day that it provides an almost constant flow of, well, the text.
This is what makes baseball such a fun game to follow. There's hardly the time to fixate over a bad at bat or a pitch that got away, because there's another game tomorrow, and the day after that, and after that.
Which has us thinking: In Toronto (and across Canada), there's been a persistent refrain about the lack of "meaningful games" in recent years for the Blue Jays. But for those of us who love the game, and absorb as many chapters and verses as time and good sense will permit, it feels as though there's too much meaning to take in over the run of a season.
Which isn't to say that a game or a play or a pitch means everything over the course of a season. But they all mean something, and over the long term, they all add up. Or where, ultimately, this collection of players is heading. It takes patience not to skip ahead in your mind to attempt to foretell how the season will end up, and where it fits into the bigger, broader context. But if you can catch your breath and appreciate the moment you're in, it can be incredibly rewarding to be a baseball fan.
That's why this moment, with past as prologue and a full season yet to be played, provides such an incomparable feeling. We know that we'll forget this feeling as the season wears on. There will be hard times, and there will be high times, and trying to keep them in perspective is always tough when you're in the moment.
There's 162 games ahead, and they'll be filled with walkoffs and blown saves, unexpected performances and unfortunate injuries. There will be games that should have been won, and games that the team manages to pull out. There will be winning streaks and losing streaks. Balls will get popped up on the infield, and balls will be sent sailing beyond the outfield wall. Runners will be stranded, and runners will be cashed in, eliciting a comforting "the Blue Jays are in flight!" from Jerry Howarth.
There's so much to take in, it's almost overwhelming. But we couldn't be happier. Let's play ball.