Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Opening Day

Being the hopeless romantic I am, I feel like it's always right that the home team should always win its home opener, just on principle. There are 162 games in Major League Baseball's regular season. But there is only one home opener for each team and its fans. Even the bad teams. In fact, home openers are probably even more important for the bad teams. Because, let's face it, the good ones are going to win the majority of their games, home and away during the season.

The same can't be said of the bad teams. The bad teams will lose the majority of their games. But they should never lose their home opener. That's the one day of the season where it's perfectly all right for the home team and its fans to believe that anything is possible.

Even if it isn't.

The reality is that there are probably 10 teams in the major leagues that we can safely say on opening day that they have no chance of making the playoffs. None. Another 10 teams are long shots to make it. Eight of the remaining 10 teams will make the playoffs, and three of them will be the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies. That means seven teams are fighting for five spots.

That's basically what the regular season comes down to. Finding out which five of the seven teams teams with a chance will make the playoffs. Everyone else is playing for their marketing departments.

So when the White Sox, a projected good team, beat the Indians, a projected bad one, in Chicago's home opener on Monday, it might have seemed like a bully picking on a skinny kid. But it wasn't. It was a home team winning its home opener. I have no problem with that. Just as it's only right that the Indians win their home opener on Monday. Hope springs eternal at home openers, whether the home team is a good one or a bad one.

For the bad ones, i.e., those teams whose entire payroll is less than the Yankees' starting infield, the home opener is that one time during the year when their fans can dream. And if a bad team wins its home opener, well then, hey, you never know, right? Stranger things have happened.

Not really, but that's what home openers are about. To give the home team fans a chance watch the home team win, and afterwards to dreamily observe, "Hey, you never know!''

Even if we do know.


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