At the start of every baseball season for God knows how many years, Ernie Harwell, a former announcer for the Detroit Tigers, would read a poem and tell the listeners that hope springs eternal for every team at the start of a new baseball season.
Sure, most true baseball fans know that, because we’ve all seen or read about those miracle clubs who made something out of nothing for a remarkable year, like the ’91 Twins, the Miracle Mets of 1969, or the 2004 Red Sox. We also know that with some luck and good timing, great things can happen in this game.
So with just a couple of weeks left in the season, we here in Minnesota are being treated to such a miracle season. Remember: at the start of the year, we had lost our big free-agent pitcher for half the year to a positive steroid test, we had a very young team coming out of camp, and we had a brand new manager who had very little managing experience. The odds were not in our favor.
But here we sit, 1 game out of a wild card spot. During a time when for the last few years we’ve been trying to acquaint ourselves with the names of kids who might never show up here at the big league level again, we’re enjoying an actual playoff chase, while sitting comfortably above supposedly better teams like Detroit and Cleveland.
And the fans are loving it. Finally: September baseball that means something.
You really hope it’s a sign of things to come for this young team: maybe we really have a good core staff of young pitchers. And maybe we have an outfield that can really play on both sides of the plate. And maybe we’ve got great power hitters in the middle of the lineup in Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier.
So maybe, regardless of how this season turns out (remember that there’s another Cinderella story this season in Houston), these guys will turn around next year and know how to take the lead, keep the lead, and play solid ball all season long.
The key, both for the players and the fans, is to know that however the final standings come out for this year, it’s been better than anyone had hoped. And it shouldn’t be a disappointment. Because next season should be great.
Because next April, hope will again spring eternal.