The first spring training games are this week, and honestly I have never been less excited. The over/under for Tigers wins has been set at an absurdly low 69 (nice), and even more absurdly, I’m taking the under. While I have no doubt in my mind the Tigers are on the express route to a last place finish, I do have a few reasons to be excited about baseball season. Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are my 10 things to look forward to this baseball season.
1. Ridiculous Umpire Calls
It seems like every summer, the memes come out of umpires doing some really crazy shit when they strike someone out. I have a feeling 2018 is going to be peak backwards K material.
2. Opening Day
It should be a national holiday. Opening Day is pure bliss. It’s at once an excuse to be drunk before noon in a throng of equally rowdy sports fans, and the only day of the year where your team is 0-0 and anything is possible. Opening Day allows fans to dream big, and I really need that in my life this season, because I’m sure in mid-August it’ll take every bit of strength in me to watch the Tigers lose again.
I’ve spent my entire life attending Tigers games in the right field grandstand. You cannot convince me there is a better section in any stadium for hecklers. A few of my personal favorites:
“Hey Andruw, if a fly ball comes your way you won’t even have to move. It’s coming to you on your gravitational pull fat ass.” (At then-Yankees right fielder Andruw Jones)
“Mookie, I can’t find your Wikipedia page.” (at Red Sox right fielder Mookie Bets)
“Throw me a fucking ball, loser.” (Can’t recall who this gem was directed at)
4. Roasted Almonds
This is more of a late spring/early fall thing, but anyone who tells me they don’t become slightly erect at the smell of roasted almonds in the ballpark is either a liar or completely nose-blind.
5. Home Run Trots
There are few things in Sports as disrespectful as taking a pitcher yard, staring at them the whole way to first base, and taking your sweet-ass time to get around the horn. Bonus points if you jump on home plate. Which brings me to number six…
6. Benches Clearing Brawls
Man have these gotten better lately. There was last year, when Miguel Cabrera squared up with Yankees catcher Austin Romine, and two years ago when Rougned Odor punched Jose Bautista so hard Conor McGregor is trying to stage a fight. Honorable mention: Rick Porcello taking down Kevin Youkilis.
7. The Atmosphere
Few things are better than being able to sit down in an outdoor stadium when it’s sunny and 75. Even if that stadium is empty, as Comerica Park likely will be, getting belligerently drunk in the middle of the day at a baseball game is a tier one way to spend an afternoon.
8. Chicks Dig the Long Ball
There’s nothing like hearing the crack of the bat on a no-doubter. The only comparable sound in all of sports is the “clank-SWISH” of a perfectly stroked 3-pointer during the NCAA Tournament.
9. Stats Wars
The twitter feuds between baseball guys (myself included) over whether RBIs are still a meaningful stat. Sorry nerds, but I’ll still take Miguel Cabrera’s triple crown numbers of .330/44/139 in 2012 over whatever your newest love affair’s WAR is. Forget Bill James and his new age bullshit, as the other great Bill (Belichick) once said: “Stats are for losers”.
10. The Trade Deadline
Okay, so the NBA Trade Deadline is giving this a run for its money, but baseball still holds onto the most fun and interesting trade deadline in sports. Remember when the Oakland A’s got Jon Lester at the deadline literally because they wanted to beat the Tigers in the playoffs, so the Tigers got David Price? How fun was that shit?
So, even though the Tigers are probably going to finish last, there’s still reasons to be excited. Plus baseball starting just means we’re another day closer to football.