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Summer fever

Samantha Zuba | Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I start saying it’s almost summer New Year’s Day. Allow me to explain.

This is not because the sun has started to come out and I feel the hope of warmth. That’s just not how Chicago or South Bend works. Jan. 1 means it’s almost time for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training, which means it’s almost time for spring training games, which means it’s almost time for Opening Day, which means it’s almost summer.

I really like baseball.

As my dad (Hi, dad!) likes to say, “It’s spring training again, and hope springs eternal.” Even if you are a Cubs fan, you can get excited during spring training and say, “Maybe, maybe, this is the yea-” Never mind. You all should give up.
But everyone else, even Astros fans (all seven of you), can hope. Baseball fans everywhere are hoping the next Mike Trout will emerge for their team and that maybe, just maybe, they will be cheering well into October. Many are also laughing at the Yankees for acquiring Vernon Wells.
I am. A lot. He’s 34, and the Yankees will fork over $13 million of the $21 million owed him next season. For a guy that hit .230 last season. And clubbed a whopping 11 home runs. That’s some business sense, New York.

Granted, Wells only played 77 games last season. So let’s travel back to 2011 when he played a full season. And hit .218.

But that’s the beauty of the days leading up to Opening Day. You can ignore the numbers. When it comes to the hometown team, hope reigns over batting averages and ERAs. For example, I am blind to the fact that my dear White Sox paid Adam Dunn approximately one gazillion dollars to hit .204 last year. I will be less blind come July when he’s doing it again and the White Sox are on pace for astounding mediocrity, but right now, it’s all sunshine and happiness. I can pretend the White Sox have a legitimate chance of winning the World Series even though their big free agent acquisition this winter was Jeff Keppinger.

He had a solid season last year for the Rays, but he’s not exactly a blockbuster who will put the team on his back and carry them all the way to an A.L. pennant. I know this. But I can’t help ignoring it because it’s spring, and anything can still happen. Maybe he will have a season for the centuries and lead a band of misfits to a World Series title. Paul Konerko will add banner numbers, and they’ll do it all without a catcher. Because after A.J. Pierzynski walked, the White Sox did little to fill the position.

Sit down, Tyler Flowers, you do not count.

None of that matters, because it’s almost Opening Day; it’s almost summer, and I have hope. And I guess you can too, Cubs fans.
 

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.