In My Ohio

On Truck Day

                                                                                                                                                            (www.cleveland.com)
Darren C. Demaree

Last week in Cleveland a semi-truck’s engine started early one morning. It was headed to Arizona, which wouldn’t necessarily matter very much to anyone, but inside the trailer was the first collection of equipment that the Cleveland baseballers would need to prepare for the upcoming season. This driver was given the rite of the first flick of the wrist of the 2015 season when he turned the key, and when he successfully delivered his cargo he raised the hopeful nature of all of us that knew when he would arrive. I heard of no accidents or speeding tickets on the way down. That’s right, error-free driving. Things are off to a good start.
 
The baseball season always ends in sadness. It doesn’t always end with a loss, but ending the season on an inconsequential win is just as painful. If your team has missed the playoffs there is another month of baseball left to watch, each game an ornery little bastard of a reminder that your team has failed. It didn’t feel like they were failing when they strung together five wins in a row in July, but overall during the one hundred and sixty-two games (almost double the number of games of any other professional season) they were found lacking. That is a long season, a lot of time to invest in a team, and thankfully the eight-month journey has only four months of down time. If you had to wait another eight months for the next season surely the cold air and lack of baseball would allow a depression to overtake you.
 
I start to have baseball dreams in December. While my children are definitely dreaming about the gifts they have requested from us and from Santa, my mind replays every homerun and every great pitching performance from the last season. I remember all of the positives, but the scoreboard never shows that they are winning the game. They never win in my dreams; however, my waking hours are spent convinced that by the time March/April comes around they will be winning all of the time.
 
Every month they aren’t playing is spent studying every single transaction they make. I care if the minor league contract they’ve offered to the former major league player includes a spring training invitation. I have my own free-agent wish list. I read every ranking done of the team’s prospects. I know who I want to be our starting third-basemen in 2018.
 
So, my blood went up when they put gas in that truck. By the time the engine was warm, my dreams were of times spent carrying mini-kegs up and down a creek bed in Tennessee. There is only the new season now, and that season has no scoreboard yet. That is a version of hope I suppose. More accurately, I am primed for another eight months of baseball. No matter the year, this could be our year, and that is not a question of belief, that is the hum of a machine that knows no other process. Oh, just wait until the pitchers and catchers report, and we can get some actual baseballs being thrown around. I will be walking on my toes again, and I will be a full inch taller than I was in January.