The day after the World Series ends is always a sad one. Even if the sun shines bright, birds chirp, and maybe there’s a double-rainbow or two.. it seems a little muted. Autumn’s colors are duller today, the wind a little harsher, the cold air that much sharper.
The world is a lonelier place without baseball. It’s a little more quiet and and little more empty, less exciting when I know that the setting sun won’t be bringing with it the first pitch, night after night, from Little League fields to Yankee Stadium. Opening Day means hope, possibility, opportunity. The day after the World Series ends means a long, cold winter.
And into the depths of cold, dark Winter, you can take only memories to keep you warm. Images of the season past keep the fire burning until spring – timeless, ageless men turning double plays into ballet, launching towering shots into the sky, diving fully extended across seas of green grass or leaping over the top of walls, sometimes looking like they might never come down.
They do come back down to Earth. Inevitably, they all do. You turn on the game one day and see a switch hitting rookie from a small town in Florida get his first major league hit. 19 seasons and 468 HRs later, he’s on a farewell tour, his Hall of Fame ballot a mere formality. And in between? A rookie became a legend.
And during that last season, a young rookie from a small town in New Jersey swept onto the scene. Took the world by storm. There is no telling where I will be, or what the world will look like, 19 years from now. But I’ll measure it season by season, like I always have, knowing once again that with spring comes the hope and unlimited possibility of a new year, a new start, another trip through the past, present, and future, and all the excitement and joy that comes with this beautiful game.
To a harsh, cold winter, that will make spring that much brighter, warmer, and sweeter.