Magic Number: 162

Thanks to a little Brandon Moss magic and a white-knuckle 10th-inning save, the Red Sox have inched one game closer to a post-season title defense, lowering their magic number for clinching the AL (far) East to 162 games.  This means that the Red Sox will make the post-season with any combination of 162 wins and Yankee losses.  And Toronto.  And Tampa Bay.  And the Oriol… nevermind.

For those that were unaware, the Sox had their opening day game in Japan this morning at 6 AM, and will continue their season tomorrow morning at the same time.  I woke up and watched this game like a dutiful little fan because, well, I wake up at 6 every morning.  I will say, though, that supplimenting my daily CNN & coffee for Japanese-flavored baseball was a bit weird.  Definitely a new way to start the day (although, in fairness to my darker side, I did roll out of bed at 11 AM once in college and turned on the Patriots Day game, so this was not a true first, unless you factor in that I was sober this morning).

More importantly, though, this game represented much more than a potentially crippling case of Jet Lag as the Old Towne Team amps up for a grueling April slate; it represents the start of another baseball season.  Sure, there are troubles in the country: George Bush continues to do his best Mel Brooks impression, Ben Bernanke seems to be deathly frightened that people on Wall Street will beat him up if he doesn’t quadruple the money supply every three weeks, Bear Stearns reverse-alchemied themselves into JPMorgan, Hilary and Obama continue to piss on each other over irrelevant nothings while failing to forward any real ideas for running the country, the quadruple deficits (buget, trade, medicare, & social security) are no closer to being fixed, and MTV celebrities that I have never heard of continue to do stupid crap that I don’t read about.  Yet it all seems a little less frightening today; today there is baseball to watch.  The country is suddenly a markedly better place than it was the day before.

Yeah, I know that the last time a team other than the Red Sox won a meaningful game was October 16th (congrats, Cleveland).  Sure, after tomorrow there will actually be a 3-day hiatus before the Nats play on Sunday.  Yes, the game was actually very sloppy and looked kind of half-steatopygously played.  Granted, the middle-relief corp and lineup of the teams still had a spring training flavor.  Some other positive assertion, our backup opening-day starter looked very worrisome in those first two outings.  But gosh durnit, it was fun to watch.  The season has begun, the balls have been put in play, and there are six months of daily news, results, and recaps lying ahead.  There are six months of nightly hits, runs, strikeouts, and steals.  We’ve just put our first footprint into the freshly fallen snow, read our first page in the new novel, taken the first bite of our 162-course meal*.  The fun of baseball is not figuring out who wins the world series, but rather waking up and knowing there is a game that day to watch, or listen to, or read about, or end a sentence preposition with. 

For the next few months, I will wake up and have a game to watch (literally, in tomorrow’s case).  There isn’t a whole lot more than I can ask out of life.

*Okay, FireJoeMorgan.com, I threw in a food metaphor for you guys. 

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