Another Opening Day is here. It’s the 11th since baseball returned to DC and the seventh I’ll have attended in person. A close relative yesterday asked me why Opening Day was so special. I struggled to find an answer. A day later I’m still not sure. The best answer I can think of: when you’re a kid there’s a certain feeling you get the night before Christmas or the last day of school. As an adult you don’t get that feeling too often. Only Opening Day. If you don’t understand it I’m not sure I can explain it.
This might be the most exciting season of your lifetime. That sounds strange but it’s doubtful we’ll see another Nationals starting pitching rotation this talented ever again. I won’t bother making a season prediction because you’ve seen enough of those already and they’re not worth the pixels they’re printed on. But I will say the Nats should win the division and any other other prediction is statistically illogical at this point. That’s no guarantee of anything, of course. I’m concerned about the Marlins and even more concerned about the Mets. The Mets last year reminded me of the Nationals in 2011. This year they remind me of the Nationals in 2012. In a strange way I hope the division isn’t as big of a boat race as some people are predicting. Last year we were robbed of a true pennant race. Whatever happens this year, the young Marlins and Mets will likely provide a better challenge than the pathetic 2014 Braves.
World Series predictions are even more worthless than predictions about division champions. The slate is wiped clean before the playoffs and October is mostly a crapshoot. Educated baseball people can give you the odds for the division winners, but any prediction for the World Series Champ is a shot in the dark.
The Nats untimely injuries give us something extra to look forward to today. I’m curious to see if Michael Taylor can seize his opportunity. In a strange way I’m even more excited to see Dan Uggla, who nobody predicted to be starting for anyone, let alone a team that won 96 games last year. I’ve long wanted Tyler Moore to get one final chance. This might be it. Sure, it would have been nice to have 2014’s Opening Day lineup back out there, but this way is more fun.
Whatever you do, don’t overreact to April. I’m really not looking forward to seeing “What’s Wrong with the Nats?” articles when the team starts 8-8. It’s a long season.
But the weather is perfect today. We really get to see Max Scherzer for the first time (spoiler alert: he’s better than you realize). Let’s hope today is more like 2013 when Bryce Harper and Stephen Steasburg electrified Nats Park, and less like 2014, when Justin Upton was too lazy to bend over and pick up a baseball.
Oh, what the hell. 94-68. Nats win the division by two games on the final day of the season. Washington DC sees its first World Series since 1933.