Editorial: Baseball is back and hope springs eternal
It's Opening Day.
And all is right with the world. (Yes, we know the weather is frigid today, but that will change.)
Yes, Chicago baseball is back. And for 162 games instead of 60. And with fans, at least some fans in some stadiums.
America's National Pastime, the oldest professional sport, is truly the best sport of all -- and not just because it was first. Ask anyone.
For the White Sox, championship material, and picked by many experts to not only advance to but win the World Series, this season couldn't get here fast enough. (You'll have to wait another week, however, to watch them play at home.)
For the Cubs -- still hanging on to past glories, not quite rebuilding but close, and still relatively strong in a weak division -- will be picked by no one to face the White Sox in the World Series. This year could be the last for some favorites who captured the hardware five years ago.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Everyone's a contender on Day 1, even with 161 more to play after this one.
That's one reason hope springs eternal and baseball is king: More games than any other professional sport. (Heck, 100 more games than last year, no thanks to the pandemic.)
Baseball is the greatest because today's players still compete with the giants of yesteryear: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, Cy Young's 511 career wins, Cal Ripken's ironman streak of 2,632 straight games. (Barry Bonds' 762 career home runs; well, let's not go there.)
Baseball, of course, also has the most and best sports movies: "Field of Dreams," "Bull Durham," "A League Of Their Own," and "42" just skim the surface.
Baseball has some of the best books: "Ball Four," "The Boys of Summer," " Eight Men Out," "Bang the Drum Slowly," and "Men at Work."
Compared to any other sport, there are more ways to win (or lose) a baseball game: Power (a home run, a strikeout pitcher), defense and finesse.
For the fan, baseball is not only a game of strategy, but a game of leisure because there is no time clock. All the other major American sports -- football, basketball and hockey -- are beholden to a time clock.
Only baseball has Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, treasures both.
Rogers Hornsby, one of the greatest hitters of all time, played 23 seasons of Major League Baseball, including 1929 to 1932 with the Cubs. He couldn't wait for the next season to arrive.
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring," The Rajah said.