I do love it when spring training starts for a lot of reasons, the main of which is the promise of warm weather, for my body does better in summer.
And, as my mate Brian Walton noted when the spring games began, alluding to the fine Peter Sellers film "Being There," "I like to watch." And I do.
But last Thursday, when games began in earnest, my watching took on its annual sheen: one that I forget about while part of my number crunching side hibernates during football season. Not that it totally goes to sleep, for I have to imagine values and worth during all the drafts and auctions that pretty much precede the season. But again, that is theoretical, and a lot different than actually watching Scott Baker take on the Yankees, or Erik Bedard try the same with the powerful Rangers. For as I write, I own both these pitchers in Tout Wars, and both are indeed taking on said opponents. And believe me, though it is hard to watch my guys pitch (fortunately "Gone With the Wind" is on TCM, so the actual tracking I am doing is hitting the refresh button on the standings of my various leagues).
This act--constant update of my stats and teams--is a bit of a manic process this time of year, as a home run allowed can knock me from third to ninth just as surely as the same home run earned can bump me from ninth to third (and god forbid my pitcher allows the homer to my hitter, which is the fantasy baseball version of speedballs).
Somehow, though, I find it comforting. There is validation in seeing that my total of $11 spent on the aggregate skills and innings of Baker and Bedard prove to be a positive investment. Of course, with each walk and home run allowed, there is an equalizing dejection.
In Marcel Proust's expansive series of books, "Remembrance of Things Past," the protagonist of the first volume, Swann, initiates the "remembrance" by, as an elderly man, biting into a piece of spice cake. The cake reminds Swann of a cake he ate as a boy, and the entire olfactory experience literally brings the character back to his youth, and that is the frame to review Swann's life.
Just so, looking at numbers and box scores brings me back to opening wax packs of baseball cards and anticipating new Strat-O-Matic cards. It also brings me to that wonderful rebirth that each spring--and related baseball season and Opening Day--bring.
For now, that also brings hope. As in, "I hope my guys do as well as I hope they will."