Idol Chatter

Sure, back in April I blogged about my love for baseball’s Opening Day, with all its hope and possibility. And I am sure I meant it at the time. But, 162 grueling games later, my N.Y. Mets are staring at their best shot at a World Series title since, well, the last time they won it, in 1986. If Spring Training and Opening Day appeal to the intellect, the mix of statistician and poet in all of us baseball lovers, the postseason is all about adrenaline and emotion, the heart and gut. Opening Day invokes a sense of spiritual transcendence; the playoffs appeal to the need for immediate gratification.

The truest joys of Opening Day are for the lifelong baseball lover; the playoffs can convert the baseball nonbeliever. It happened to my wife, who lived her whole life indifferent to sports, until the Red Sox were beaten in seven painful games by the Yankees in 2003’s American League Championship Series. We were living in Boston then, and if she was a postseason proselyte three years ago, she now studies Opening Day rosters and can discuss Sox stats like the best of ’em.

I’ll admit to being a fair-weather Sox fan myself–how can a resident of Red Sox Nation not be?–but when push comes to shove my heart will always be in Flushing, at the Mets’ Shea Stadium. Opening Day 2007 may be all my wife has to look forward to baseball-wise, but for me, it’s only today that counts, and that will be true until the Mets are either eliminated–heaven forbid–or earn their World Series rings. Their ’86 championship was the transformative sports moment of my youth, and I can think of nothing better than an ’06 repeat.

On Opening Day, I was all about love of the game and the universal hope of Spring. But that was a long time ago. It’s time for the playoffs. Bring it on.

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