When the 18th Century English poet Alexander Pope first penned the phrase “Hope springs eternal …” little could he have imagined that some 280 years later the concept would find such stubborn resistance with Miami Marlins fans.
I mean, from spring have sprung a million poems, good and bad, almost all of them seeing the season as a canvas for freshness, optimism and other good stuff. Baseball, the sport that blooms in spring, tends to get caught up in the metaphor.
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest,” wrote Ernest Hemingway.
“Where always it’s spring and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves,” wrote E.E. Cummings.
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ ” shouted Robin Williams.
Heck, in spring even Chicago Cubs fans think this could be the year!
In Miami it’s tougher. The team is coming off its second-worst record (62-100) in the franchise’s 22-year history, and if you find a baseball expert anywhere who is predicting a Marlins playoff season in 2014, chances are he was asked by his boss to take a Breathalyzer test.
In Miami it’s especially tougher to be optimistic because the club owner, Jeffrey Loria, is as unpopular and distrusted by fans as any owner in sports. When you see a wonderful new stadium built (in 2012) and still your customers are chasing you with torches and pitchforks, you are doing something wrong. In Loria’s case, it could be his propensity for penurious spending and getting rid of top players to cut costs.
But enough negativity!
It’s spring, remember!?
The new season starts fresh Monday, and if the poets have anything to say it will be a perfectly balmy Miami evening, open roof letting in ocean breezes. The downtown skyline will rise majestically under twinkling stars. Dan Marino’s ceremonial opening pitch will be a strike. Mustard will slather onto hot dogs, and the grass won’t just be green but emerald green, of course.
Ten reasons why Marlins fans, despite it all, should like this team and feel optimistic about this season:1. Jose Fernandez: 2. Giancarlo Stanton: 3. Christian Yelich:
Those three words might in time seem a foreboding question, but for now they may be said as an exclamation.
See, it’s spring!