The Breakdown: Ah, winter, er, I mean baseball
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Some people say it just takes a while, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to the strange seasons of mountain life. We have winter about nine months of the year, then it’s wet and muddy for a few weeks in May, before we pretend it’s summer even though it rarely gets above 80 degrees and the temps can still drop below freezing at night. Then, once we finally start to remember what a warm, sunny day feels like, it snows again – for another nine months.
Winter is basically never-ending.
Really, it doesn’t bother me too much; I’m not one for warm weather anyway.
But the weather up here in Summit County does tend to throw off my sense of awareness in terms of sports seasons beginning and ending.
For instance, today, the Yankees and Red Sox kick off the Major League Baseball season with a game at Fenway Park. And, while I just wrote that last sentence, snow is dumping down out my window and onto my car.
It just makes it hard to get into the spirit of things. I mean, the closest thing to green grass I’ve seen since November is the artificial turf at Summit High School. I can’t imagine teams getting out and playing a sport that most associate with hot summer days.
Anyway, I’m giving it my best shot, because, after all, there isn’t anything better than baseball season – or at least the first few months of it.
The most common complaint I hear about why the MLB season isn’t exciting is its length. People constantly say that it’s too long, which makes each game less important than in the NFL, where teams play only 16 times in the regular season. Others complain that, because of the season’s length, they start to lose interest after the first 50 games or so.
I couldn’t disagree more.
You see, the length of the season is the main reason that I stay interested.
As anyone who’s ever read my columns before would know, I am a Cubs fan. And as anyone who’s been alive in the past 101 years clearly understands, the Cubs don’t win too many titles. Really, they don’t win much of anything.
The length of the season is what gives me – and anyone else who roots for a perennial loser – hope.
With 162 games from now until October, it’s almost impossible to get worked up over an early season loss or even a small losing streak.
If the Cubs started the year 7-9 and six games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central, I’d simply tell myself: “No worries, we have all summer to make up the ground. We’ll be just fine.” When the Cubs fall to 10 back in August, I can turn around and say, “Well, they’re always better after the All-Star break anyway. They are just waiting to peak at the right time.”
Really, this is what keeps baseball fans – excluded those that like the Yankees or Red Sox – from going crazy each summer.
Think of the NFL, if the Broncos were to start this next season 0-4, everyone in Colorado would lose their donkey-loving minds and call for McDaniels’ head on a stake.
If the Rox started 0-4, everyone would just say, “Whoops. We’ll get those back.”
See what I’m getting at here?
This isn’t to belittle the importance of games in the MLB, because, when it comes to crunch time in the last weeks of each season, making or missing the playoffs usually will come down to one win or one loss.
It’s just that, with baseball, we can keep our cool a lot better knowing that our team is getting right back out there the next day to make up for a mistake (or the day after that, or the day after that).
It’s no different than a winter up here: It’s so long, we don’t really ever think about the end of it.
The only difference is when the Cubs lose, I don’t have to go shovel my car off.
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