The Truth Behind Baseball and Blind Optimism

If you want my unsolicited advice, I suggest you ignore all the experts this time of year and focus on baseball for all its enjoyable intangibles. Most of all, the blind optimism it perpetuates, which is what I’m here today to promote.

Blind optimism is good for you. It keeps you fresh, keeps you happy. Without it, we’d just be a bunch of know-it-all pessimists resigned to our fates day in and day out. Who needs that?

Let me tell you something. I have a dog. He’s 356 days old. His name is Dug. He’s the most blindly optimistic individual I know, human or otherwise. He’s also the happiest individual I know. This, in spite of the fact that he only eats twice a day, has no testes, has to go outside to relieve himself, owns but one clothing item (a University of Washington football jersey), retains no possessions save for a few toys and a collar, has no girlfriend, never has sex, is color blind, rarely bathes, and is not big enough to ride any roller coaster at any theme park ever. He’s also banned from most public places and lacks thumbs.

Now I am no expert. But if I had to take a guess, I’d wager that Dug’s effervescent happiness is directly tied to his immense amount of blind optimism. Because let’s face it. What the hell else does he have to live for? Seriously. If I had to wake up each day knowing that my balls were gone and my morning pee would be taking place in the rain, I wouldn’t be so eager to wake up. But he doesn’t know that. He understands it, but he doesn’t realize that it’s a routine. And that’s what makes blind optimism so amazingly special.

For the record, I try to reward Dug’s blind optimism at least once a day — maybe we’ll ride in the car with the window rolled down, maybe will cruise the park for bitches, maybe we’ll sample a new brand of food — but even on those rare occasions when I fail to break our mundane routine, he’s still happy to be living life. And that’s what gives me hope.

Hope goes hand-in-hand with blind optimism. To be blindly optimistic, you must also have a certain amount of hope that something will occur. Hope that you’ll get a job you applied for. Hope that your date will invite you upstairs. Hope that your Hypercolor shirt will become cool again. Without hope, we have nothing left to believe in.

There’s an oft-used cliche in the world of baseball this time of year: Hope springs eternal. It’s a simple phrase that captures the mentality of those who play the game, those who follow the game, and those who enjoy the game all in one fell swoop. The implied double entendre makes it all the more unique (baseball does kick off in the spring, after all).

The hope associated with baseball cannot be found in any other sport in America. And with that hope, naturally, is a relative amount of blind optimism. Fact is, even if your hometown team is absolute garbage and you already know that there is zero chance that they’ll make the playoffs, you can at least enjoy what the start of baseball season brings with it. Sunny skies, warm weather, beer being consumed in outdoor venues, garlic fries, hot dogs, barbecues, skimpy clothing. It’s all good in the proverbial neighborhood.

This is the way baseball was meant to be enjoyed. With what I like to call The Four F’s: Food, Friends, Firewater, and Feel-Good. The Feel-Good is a little vague. Do with that as you wish.

However, there are always those who scorn The Four F’s and attempt to rain on our parade. They are villains in every sense of the word. They consider themselves experts on baseball, and they’ll do anything to prove it to you. Positive attitude and happiness be damned.

For lack of better things to discuss, these self-proclaimed experts will stomp on into your party and trash the place with made-up information. They’ll bring with them subjective analysis on your team (weak offense, questions about the rotation, lack of depth), nerd weapons (TI-89 graphing calculators, for example), statistical permutations (no matter how many times you simulate a season, a computer cannot replicate a real game), and a general air of holier-than-thou pessimism. Like you’re really better than me because you don’t like things. That just makes you a hater. Nobody likes a hater. As Socrates once said, “Don’t hate, just masturbate.” I don’t know if Socrates really said that. But he could have.

Baseball fans, I implore you to not let the haters get you down. Remember The Four F’s. Remember the hope. Remember the blind optimism.

It’s April 2nd, and we are two days away from the official start of baseball season. Everyone is undefeated. Everyone can be a champion. And everyone can enjoy this time of year.

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