I know I am still a few days – even a few months – ahead, but 2017 is about to get better! If my post about Babe Ruth was any clue to my love for the game, you will know that next Tuesday (Valentines Day) will be even more meaningful than candies and gifts because SPRING TRAINING will really get underway with opening workouts. Now if you care anything about baseball and keep an eye on the play-by-play or game-by-game news during these weeks leading up to OPENING DAY, you know that your geography will find your team in one of two places: Florida or Arizona. My team, the Kansas City Royals, will begin in Surprise, AZ and my eyes will be following their news feed much more closely to see how the lineup will take shape as the season draws closer and closer.
Realizing that I now live in the land of Texas Rangers, who happen to share the complex in Surprise, AZ with the Royals, I want to point out why I am so excited about this. My Royals won their first World Series title the year that I was born and proceeded to be mediocre at best in the span of my life until the fateful year of 2014. They made their first trip to the playoffs and finished as the AL Champs, defeated in game 7 of the World Series by those scoundrels known as the Giants. 2015 became even more of a big deal as they “hunkered down” and fought hard to return to the World Series and ultimately defeated the Mets. I cried and squealed quietly that night as I was “writing a paper” and listening to their victory whilst my family slept. Last year was neither disappointment nor excitement, but 2017 is going to be a big deal because ever since their victories in 2014 & 2015 the writers have been saying that the core of this championship team will begin to break up with one last potential hoorah for another title in 2017.
Since I hold loyalty in high regard, I have enjoyed watching many of these homegrown players sign long-term deals to remain with the team that invested in them. Take that, pessimistic sports writers! So now it is their turn. They need to show up and play it up, and return the loyal fans of KC – myself included as a fan separated by a few states – to the big finale of the season. I will be cheering loudly as I see 2017 become much more exciting as the long, enduring drama of the MLB season takes shape and pulls millions through multiple cycles of valleys and mountaintop moments. At the same time, I will be watching to see how well this team will hold itself together in spite of the impending and likely change in lineup following the season. I would like to be blissfully ignorant, however I have also learned that money is money in the wide, wide world of sports.
So what’s the UNcommon Perspective here? I promise I am not trying to make something up out of thin air…I really have thought about this: When it comes to dealing with anticipation that is met with both optimism and pessimism, chose neither! That’s right. Do not fall for either side or choose either camp. Instead, play the game with excitement! I mentioned in my tribute to Babe Ruth on his birthday that I never really got into baseball as well until I quit trying to be over-analytical in my playing and simply learned to enjoy the game. Is that not what we should all do? This is not a promotion of moving into the future blindly; it is simply about moving forward to engage the future head-on with vigor and hope. For me, 2017 is about to get better and I am ready to play (or engage, more accurately) with excitement. What is facing you OR what are you facing? Are you tempted to hold to either the optimistic or pessimistic view? Be at peace, and play the game with excitement! This is a promising perspective that we all need, and frankly it is one we all will enjoy.