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Ring In The New Year

An Opening Night victory over the Cardinals probably does little to appease the pain of last year's season-ending playoff strikeout, but baseball means that spring is upon us, and spring equals hope. With last night's 6-1 victory over the Cardinals to start the 2007 baseball season, the Mets faithful and fans of every other major league club (with the exception of Royals fans, naturally) start the long haul towards fall glory.

At this point, championship dreams still have the potential to turn into reality. Until somebody's Opening Day starter gives up five runs in four innings. Then eternal hope turns into a 162-game rollercoaster of ups, downs, and steroid talk.

But for now, let's rejoice -- it may not be football, but baseball has a certain charm to it. Nothing like some daytime games, a little sun, barbecue and wiffleball to warm the cockles of even the blackest heart. Maybe I love baseball not for the game itself but for everything it represents, but that's neither here nor there. You can feel the sun, hear the crack of the bat, feel the peanut shells crumbling under your feet. Baseball's here, and I couldn't be happier. (Until the NFL Draft, that is).

As for last night's game, the Mets played crisp, midseason baseball. Their bats were alive, Glavine looked like a spring chicken, and Carlos Beltran made a beautiful throw at the plate. Lots to love in last night's game. Here's what the Mets authority, Faith and Fear in Flushing, had to say:

One and oh. One and oh and it's all good. A fabulous throw from Beltran (or Bel-TRAH!n as Jon Miller reinvented him). A sliding catch from allegedly ancient Alou (I've got to turn the sound down on ESPN next time). Even two hits from the allegedly decrepit Shawn Green. So far, so crepit.

Listening to Mets Extra beforehand, I heard nothing but roars and cheers which led to nothing but bile and disgust. But then 8:10 or thereabouts rolled around and I didn't care about the 2006 Cardinals anymore. The 2007 Cardinals I will care about for two more games and not again 'til June. The 2007 Mets have my attention. They don't suck. Not yet anyway.

The long night of winter is over. Nothing sucks.

Amen, brother.