When baseball ended

When baseball ended

In the Kamigata area, they have a sort of tiered lunchbox they use for a single day when flower viewing. Upon returning, they throw them away, trampling them underfoot. The end is important in all things.

-Yamamoto Tsunetomo

I took a walk through a small forest preserve. There's nothing there now, the trees are gone, the frost has robbed the landscape of any flora it may have once held and the snows haven't come yet to decorate nature with a tasteful and serene white blanket. All of it is cold and brown and dead.

I looked up and saw the birds migrating south, circling around the topiary of the preserve in an attempt to find the right current that will lead them to a warmer climate. I don't know much about specific bird breeds, but I do like to imagine them flying south and west to find the red country of Arizona and Chicago's two baseball teams.

My heart goes with them.

Most of you reading this are Cubs fans and I know the temptation is there to simply throw away the 2013 season because of the disappointment and discourse that the organization is going through.

Don't.

The game is larger than any one team and right now it's getting good. I think We're going to remember 2013 for a myriad of reasons and most of them are going to be happy reasons.

Let's go back to the beginning of the 2013 season. Back before we all knew who Yasiel Puig was, back before the Red Sox redemption story, before the Carlos Marmol story played out for the (hopefully) final time in Chicago. Let's go back before all that and remember what it was like when the Astros played the Rangers and baseball was back in our lives once again.

It was funky, the Astros moved from the American League to the National League, interleague was going to be around all year and we had really no idea what was about to go down in LA.

There was promise. The season was as young as it would ever be. Everything was in front of us.

We went on the journey. We traveled down the twisted paths of baseball and saw Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout put up historic seasons (again). We saw the Pirates revived, the emergence of tremendous young talent in Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey along with a few others. We saw the arrival of Puig, a quietly solid season by 20 year old Bryce Harper and we all enjoyed Manny Machado's body of work (and cringed when he was taken from us very late into the season).

The season is over, sure. It left us with a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the game, however.

After a generation of old guys hitting bombs baseball is getting younger and more athletic. Runners are testing outfield arms, pitching is dominant and defense is important again.

The cycle of a baseball season is coming back around to the beginning again. The beautiful thing about this sport is its continuity. While seasons may end you can still peel back and go to the past as a decent reference for the present. Baseball's continuous life cycle marches on.

 

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