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Many of us are ready for ‘play ball!’

April 1, 2013
Salem News

The weather we have experienced in the last week or so has certainly left us confused.

A look at the calendar, for example, tells us that spring has arrived. A look outside, meanwhile, has made us wonder - we've seen recent snow and temperatures well below normal.

Rest assured, spring is officially here, and for proof, you need only to know that baseball is back.

Major League Baseball officially opened its 2013 season last night when the Texas Rangers visited the Houston Astros. That means the long winter is over for fans of the game who have been looking for something to fill the void since Oct. 28, when the San Francisco Giants completed their sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

Fans of the tri-state area had to wait just a little bit longer for their first taste of regular-season baseball. That will come at 1:35 p.m. today, when the Pirates host the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. The Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, will open their season at 4:10 p.m. today when they host the Los Angeles Angels. The Cleveland Indians will open their schedule at 7:07 p.m. Tuesday when they visit Toronto. The Tribe, brimming with confidence after hiring the successful and likeable Terry Francona as skipper and making some key off season acquisitions, will play three games at Toronto and three at Tampa Bay before opening their home season next Monday versus the dreaded New York Yankees.

Area residents have proven over and over again that they are among the most loyal fans in all of baseball. While the Pirates have not had a winning season since 1992, they continue to draw large crowds to PNC Park on a regular basis. They have a solid core of young players and hopes are high that they can maintain an entire season of progression after a wonderful 2012 start turned into late-season stumble. The Reds just might be the best team in the?National League Central Division. The Indians have an impressive lineup but will live and die with shaky starting pitching. Still after another 90-plus loss season, expectations are realistic in Cleveland for at least a break-even season of 81 wins or even a bit more.

Our lives are filled with many uncertainties. We worry about the price of gasoline and whether or not our elected officials will ever be able to balance a budget, for example. Then there's the daily bills which never end.

Those are serious concerns, to be sure, but we would remind you that spring is here. It's a season of optimism, a time to look ahead and to think about what might be. It's a time when all things are possible. Even nicer weather. For sure, it's time for baseball - sit back and enjoy. It's time to "play ball!" And that's no April's Fool.



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