It is Opening Day and everyone knows what that means. Every team that isn’t in the NL West is tied for first. The preseason predictions have all been made, 25 man rosters are set, games that count are set to begin, and we are all about to be wrong. I made the unpopular pick of selecting the Braves to win the NL East. I don’t think their pitching injuries are as big of a deal as everyone has made them to be and they have a better defense, line-up, and bullpen than the Nats. My picks for the other NL divisions are the Dodgers and Cardinals with the Nats and Giants taking the Wild Card spots. In the AL I’m going to go with the Rays, Tigers, and A’s to win the divisions with the Angels and Yankees as the Wild Cards. I have a couple surprises in there but nothing as big as what the real baseball season is going to throw at us.
There is the saying around this time of year that hope springs eternal. That as of today all teams have an equal shot at the World Series, but only one team will end up winning it all and only 1/3 of teams will even make it to the playoffs. The baseball season is where both optimism and pessimism goes to die. If enough things go right for the Royals and Diamondbacks those two teams could end up facing off in the World Series. It would be a surprise but it isn’t outside the realm of possibilities.
Far too often people get probability and possibility confused. If the baseball season were simulated one billion times the Astros and Marlins would meet in the World series in a couple of them. It isn’t probable that they will but it is certainly possible. When we make our predictions we are asked to be realistic, but all that is possible is realistic. The favorites are the teams most probable to play in the World Series and for me those are the Cardinals and Tigers. There is close to a zero percent chance that that is the actual World Series and as Nats fans should remember from last season being the favorite is close to worthless.
So who is going to play in the World Series? We can crunch all the numbers, scout all the players, examine the 20 man, the 40 man, and the farm systems and we still have no idea. Time holds all answers, but we should, by no means, be in any rush to have those answers. Baseball returns today. Forget the predictions, forget the end results, forget everything that is possible and probable and head out to a ballpark as soon as you have the chance, grab a pencil and scorecard, a cold beer and a hot dog, and enjoy the greatest sport on the planet earth.
After these six months are up there will be another six months of darkness and longing for the return of our pastime. It has been a long and never ending winter, but for today the sun is shining and baseball has returned. The end is a long ways off and that is perfectly fine. Today the journey begins, and that is what it is all about. Once the end is reached nothing else can exist and the 2014 baseball season will never come again. Today is the start of that journey and let’s hope it is a long, productive, and enjoyable one for the Washington Nationals. For today reality begins and it will either answer all our prayers or crush all our dreams. Reality is neither cruel nor kind. It only is, and it begins today.