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Spring Training Is A Time For The Eternal Optimists Of The World

Updated on January 22, 2014

Coming Soon Whether You Are Ready or Not

Spring Training begins soon for all Major League Teams. Pitchers and catchers will report to teams training facilities in Arizona and Florida between February 10-13, and all position players will be in camp between February 13-17.

In other words, it is time for those of us who are eternal optimists to dust off our cleats, break in our new gloves, and begin explaining to anyone who will listen why our team is going to the World Series.

Do you doubt that I am an eternal optimist? Consider this: I am a Seattle Mariners fan and right now I am a true believer.

In the last eight seasons Seattle has had a winning season twice.

In the last four seasons they have twice lost 101 games.

Seattle has never been to the World Series. Never in thirty-four years.

Yes, I am an eternal optimist, because this could be their year.

Right!

The perfect place to be on a sunny summer afternoon....Safeco Field in Seattle.
The perfect place to be on a sunny summer afternoon....Safeco Field in Seattle. | Source
This baseball fan is ready!
This baseball fan is ready! | Source

Across the Country the Dream Is Alive

It makes no difference where your team placed in the standings last year, or the year before, or if they are perennial losers or perennial winners. Every year in February fans take a look at the rosters and the off-season player moves and they convince themselves that this will be the year. The rationalizations go something like this:

· Well, that guy hit .230 last year and led the League in errors, but I think a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered and hey, he’ll fit in well with our ball club.

· He was a hell of a pitcher ten years ago, and I think in our heavy air he’ll be able to squeeze one more year out of his arm.

· I know he was a pain in the ass with the Yankees, but everyone is a pain in the ass with the Yankees. His off-field problems won’t happen here in our beautiful city.

· Sure he only hit five homers for Chicago, but look at the teammates that surrounded him. You put him in our lineup and his bat will wake up big time.

· This is our year. Nobody is looking at us and we’ll sneak up on the rest of the League.

And on and on it goes. Pipe dreams at best; delusional at worst; welcome to Baseball in America!

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What a great place to be.
What a great place to be. | Source

Spring Training Fuels the Dreams

Batting averages soar in spring training as pitchers throw at 75% and work to find the corners on a plate that seems to have diminished in size over the winter months. Lifetime .250 hitters are suddenly hitting at a Ted Williams level and with their rising averages go our expectations.

“11-2 in the Cactus League so far. There’s no stopping us this year!”

Never mind that all they have faced so far are minor league invitees and veterans who creak getting out of bed. They are 11-2 and visions of the World Series are dancing in their beer-soaked brains.

Lest you think it’s just the fans who are drinking the magic dream potion, check out the comments from team players and managers during Spring Training.

· “Anything can happen and often does. We all put our cleats on the same way, and it ain’t over till it’s over.”

· “It’s a pretty simple game. Pitch the ball, hit the ball, catch the ball. If we play to our capabilities we will be alright.”

· “Look at the Giants last year. Nobody expected that, and if it can happen to them it can happen to us.”

· “We have a bunch of good young players and we are expecting big things from them this year.”

Don Henley's Boys of Summer

And Then Reality Rears Its Ugly Head

The first pitch of the new season is delivered, and it is deposited 420 feet over left-center wall, and suddenly those young players we counted on so dearly are still a year away from the Bigs, and that veteran presence is nothing more than a weight around our necks, and it turns out the Giants won last year because they had talent and not an over-abundance of potential.

Shortly after the All Star game the guys who are actually hitting above .275 are being traded, and minor league players are being called up to see if they are ready yet, and our sights are squarely set on….next year and Spring Training.

And so it goes! Before reality arrives, we all have Spring Training and unbridled hope for the future. Until that first pitch is thrown, my Mariners are the equal of every other team in baseball, and that makes me happy. As I stare out the window at the rain and wind, my hopes and dreams are in Peoria, Arizona, where my boys of summer are getting ready to beat the odds and prove the world wrong.

For the next two months all will be right in the world of baseball fans. The ugliness and cold of winter is forgotten. The rising debt and threats from sinister forces are pushed out of our minds and we embrace America’s game, for baseball has always been the quintessential Feel Good Machine.

It’s been that way since 1876 and it will be that way this year as well, and I, for one, find great comfort in that fact.

GO MARINERS!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, at least the Cowboys have won one. My Seahawks just sniffed it one year and that's as close as we have gotten. Oh well, we will all keep hoping. Thanks as always for the visit.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I too am an eternal optimist and one day the Cowboys will hoist the Lombardi trophy again.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I have never been to Spring Training which is really a shame considering how much I love baseball. Maybe some day, right?

      Loving those angels my friend. Have a great weekend and thank you.

      blessings and hugs on their way

      bill

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Years ago ( o, my, I find I begin many things that way at this time in my life :) I lived in Vero Beach and could watch spring training and loved it. Why? Well, because I understand baseball. I watch many of the movies about the greats in baseball and am captivated by the adventure of it all each time. I do .

      Good luck to the underdogs this year..:)

      Sending you Angels and to those who are in spring training too ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ncw6w7...my favorite team growing up was the Cardinals. They are now my 2nd favorite team. :)

    • ncw6w7 profile image

      Nicholas 4 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Cardinal Nation, baby!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, that was so cold of you, putting the name Yankees in a very nice comment. :) I will forgive you, though, because you are a baseball fan.

      Go Mariners!

      and thanks

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      YOU betcha!...Yes, I am a huge baseball fan...and I positively LOVE Springtime...for numerous reasons (possible exception: Spring Cleaning) and I enjoyed this hub just as I enjoy ALL of your hubs Mr. Holland.

      I have only one more thing to say.....rather, to shout.......

      NEW YORK YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yAyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! up+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes it does, Sha! :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I know you do, Bill. It takes one to know one. Whether person or emotion..... :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I like your attitude. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Martin! That would be a great job, hanging out at different ballparks.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Yes, we celebrate the spring season with the oncoming of the Chinese New Year. It is the time for optimism and I always say, when we think of the good things, we attract them!!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. One f the things I did for that oil company was custom tours of the 3 fields the company sponsored.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mike, now that is a World Series I could get excited about. Thank you my friend; I'm ready for Opening Day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, in case you didn't know it already, I love you. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, the Babe was a porker! LOL But man oh man that guy could hit a baseball.

      Thank you for that last line....you are appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Carol! I do love baseball....always have, always will. I appreciate you taking the time to read something that is not my best. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, that was a sweet thing for you to say. Thank you so much! I hope you are well my friend. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, that is so cool that your kid plays in the minors. Fantastic!

      Thank you and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Vicki, and thank you! Maybe one of these years we will have bragging rights. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, now I have another reason for liking you. Any baseball fan is a friend of mine. :) Thanks as always Janine.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill my friend, there is always hope. I remember when I lived in Vermont, the entire region lived and breathed the Red Sox, and they were crushed each and every time. Yep, there is always hope.

      Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I'm so sorry! You guys have suffered longer than we ever dreamed of suffering. LOL Don't you love it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Julie, the Mariners will let me down for sure, but I'll suffer along for the entire season because that's what we fans do. :) Thank you!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Great hub Bill. I am ready for the season as well. And I hope my Cardinals make another run deep into the postseason, maybe to meet up with your Mariners in the Fall Classic. With them moving the fences in and their signing a couple of good solid players, they might make a run. Best of luck, Bill. See you in the Series!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, I'm not into sports but I'm into you. Just needed to let you know I stopped by! :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Go St. Francisco!!!! Hee...I watched Babe hit his 60th home run on the video. I was surprised that he was ' kinda fat.. I hope The Mariners win because of their number one fan....Billybuc....Cheers

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Though I am no sports fan I still enjoy reading this. I know you love baseball and writing about it must be pure heaven. Thanks as always for sharing what you love.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      It's funny. Baseball fans are the most loyal type of fans on the planet of the earth. When their team is losing, they are still hollering and cheering them on. Then, when the game ends and their team loses, they are only sad for a split second. And, like you said, there is always next year. It's the exact opposite of football fans. A football fan will jump ship right inthe middle of the ocean. I'm, admittedly, not a fan of either sport - it's just too much emotion to handle. But, I am a fan of you, billybuc. I really enjoyed reading your hub.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      I am a baseball fan cause of my kid who plays in minors.

      Go Giants :)

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Hi Bill, never managed to watch a baseball game right through, yet am glued to my young grandson as he umpires the games! I admire your loyalty, truly a great characteristic in these days where fickleness rules emotions. More power to you and your team!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Go NY Mets!! Sorry I couldn't resist and know they probably won't make it to the World Series, but I like the idea of being the eternal optimist right about now and will totally join in!! Great article and I am huge baseball fan from way back, so this one was right up my alley. Have of course voted, shared and tweeted, too!!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, being a Red Sox fan I was also the eternal optimist. For over forty years things just never worked out and as you may be aware they were oh so close a few times. But, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, and finally the "curse" was reversed. During the playoffs back in 2004 I made a deal with my maker that if they just could win this one World Series I would be content. Well, as the story goes, the rest is history. I still live and die with the Sox's, but once that monkey was off my back I have had an entirely different approach to the baseball season. If they win, great, if they don't, there is always next year. I would really love to see the the Mariners finally get the monkey off their back.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      I'm a Cubs fan. Enough said. : )

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill - great hub! And you are right, we are all optimists! I will be yelling from this side of the ocean again at whichever game I am watching and screaming, as I always so, for the underdog in that game :o) I am lucky to be so partisan aren't I with no affiliation to any US cities? As you know, I favour the Angels, Rays and pretty much any team that plays 'small ball' so here's to a great 2013 season. I hope the Mariners don't let you down this year :o)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, when I lived in Vermont I think the entire New England area rooted for the Red Sox. Now those are some rabid fans. :) Thanks for dropping by my friend. See you at the lake tomorrow.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I love your approach to baseball and I agree, the hardest thing to do in any sport is to hit a pitched baseball. We are talking about less than a second to react and hit it squarely....almost impossible to do and yet the pros do it daily. Amazing! I love that you pay attention to the nuances of the game; that's where the real sport lies. :) Thank you Sir!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It's good to support one's team until the bitter end! Man, can you believe that when I was growing up in Maine, we had no baseball team? We all cheered for the Boston Red Sox, though!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well done! I am not a fan of any sport. I am boring that way. But I love to go and dissect the nuances, styles, attitudes, athleticism and on and on with any sport. I still believe that the most difficult task in any sport is connecting a bat with a 90mph+ sphere. Just imagine the speed at which things happen in this wonderful sport. I heard the clocked a catcher's throw at 90mph going to second. Whoa! Thanks for the memories.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wayne, you are so right! Now look where the Angels are. I'll keep holding out hope because that's what we fans do, right? Right! Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LInda...LOL....This was my fluff piece....no real value to it at all. :) I have like ten hubs written, and most of them are serious, and I felt like posting one that was not serious at all.

      Pro athletes disgust me generally....they all act like spoiled babies who can do no wrong. But my Mariners are beyond that childish behavior. :)

      Have a great weekend my dear. Thank you!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      OMG, this proves that I will read anything you write and find it interesting. Several years ago when professional baseball players went on strike for more money, I turned off the game and haven't watched it since. I love football though but if the NFL ever behaves as badly as baseball, I will do the same again. Train away Mariners. If Bill writes about you, I'll read it with eager anticipation but you won't find me tuning in on TV. Happy Saturday Kindred. lol

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Spoken like a true baseball fan. This is a great piece and I just want to add; hang in there buddy. Dreams come true. I was an Angel fan all my life while everyone else around me were Dodger fans. I know what it's like to be laughed at, but in 2002 I was the one laughing. I was one of those that worked in my yard and had the little FM AM radio airing the latest game. Oh, those are wonderful memories!