For students at Vanguard, spring time can mean a number of things. Class work is piling up more than ever, the ocean temperature starts to become bearable, and most notably, the number of weeks left until summer has reached single digits. With spring also comes the return of Major League Baseball, America’s most cherished pastime. Sunday, April 3, marked the official start of the 2016 campaign. Even more so, it represents the beginning of another year long journey filled with wild web gems, epic homerun celebrations and moments that will be remembered for a lifetime.
While a majority of college students have been enjoying their spring break, major leaguers have been preparing for the season for the past month at their spring training camps in both Arizona and Florida. On Opening Day, every team has a clean slate, a fresh start; it is the one day of the year that every team has the same record. Opening Day signals the start of another pennant chase, one that is not won by a single swing or pitch, but rather grit, commitment and a little bit of luck. Opening Day brings around the sights, smells and sounds that were missed all winter: sunsets on the city skyline behind the stadium, hot dogs grilling at each concession stand, the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd when the ball sails over the fence. It is hard not to feel the ballpark vibe when baseball rolls around.
There are a number of headlines heading into the new season that have fans excited. The Kansas City Royals are coming off of their first championship since 1985, and with most of their lineup returning, they figure to be in the mix for another playoff run. The New York Mets, who fell to Kansas City in last year’s fall classic, are also locked and loaded with a strong pitching rotation, and should be the team to beat in the National League East division. It is also an even numbered year, which for San Francisco Giants’ fans is awfully encouraging, given that they have won the title in the past three (2010, 2012, 2014).
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout and Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper have become the face of a young wave of superb talent across the Major Leagues, and suddenly it seems as if every team has a twenty year old phenom on their roster. The Chicago Cubs also have their fans more excited than they have ever been. After winning 97 games last year and making some noise in the postseason, the Cubbies look like they might have what it takes to win their first World Series since 1908.
With the season officially under way, Vanguard students have already started to break out their favorite hats and sport some gear from their favorite teams. Fellow Vanguard student Ellie Burleson shared why she is excited for baseball season and the reasons why she looks forward to attending games every year. “I love that it’s during the summer and the way it brings people together; I love that it’s American,” she said. When asked who she will be rooting for this season, Burleson enthusiastically stated, “The Dodgers, because I grew up watching them and going to their games with my Dad, so they have always been my favorite team to cheer for”.
The season kicked off Sunday, April 3, with a showdown between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, two teams that won the most and second most games during the 2015 regular season, respectively. Also that day, were games between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays, as well as a World Series rematch between the Mets and the Royals. As school comes to an end and summer time gets going, baseball will be in full swing; so do not be afraid to kick back, relax, start up the grill and root on your favorite teams. Play ball!