The Great Mambino, asked me why "the game from Japan isn't on national television tomorrow morning." Smart guy that I am, I assumed he was referring some game with the U.S. Men's U-23 National Soccer team considering we were moments earlier discussing how the Yanks will not be sending a squad to the 2012 Olympics in London this summer after a late stoppage-time equalizer against El Salvador. Evidently, I was wrong, and that's because there was real, live American Major League Baseball this morning all the way in Tokyo.
Regular Season baseball.
Yes, I was as shocked as you, dear readers. I was as sure as sure could be that Major League Baseball wasn't getting under way until next week, if for no other reason than because I know I'm going to be at the Pittsburgh Pirates' season opener on April 5. The Cardinals and Marlins will be getting the National League's annual slate under way the night before, but that's all beside the point. What I'm getting at is that Seattle and Oakland are playing baseball this week and there doesn't seem to be any indication through major media outlets that it's actually happening.
To me this is completely mind-boggling. Not because this isn't being publicly discussed, but because Opening Day of baseball season used to be an obsession for me. I could not wait for ye olde national pastime (best represented in the recently-viewed-by-me film "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid") in the olden days, watching the very first game be it from Japan, San Juan or Washington, D.C. Of course, back in those of course the Mets weren't a laughingstock or, you know, owned by people who just gave a $162-million I.O.U. to settle a lawsuit.
Now the Mets are such a disaster I almost didn't realize their sport was happening. Hell, even of the teams that started the season bankrupt, the Mets are the worst off. And yet here we are. This appears to be life as a Mets fan this season, ignoring the oncoming six months of depression and trying to forget that the other teams in trouble are getting breaths of fresh air.
Of course, I'm not saying that being a Mets fan is the most tragic thing in the world right now. Obviously, bigger, more egregious violations of human dignity are occurring. But this is, nonetheless, a sad turn of events for us here in Queens -- either literally or metaphorically. That I should be so disinterested in the upcoming baseball season because my team is so bad that I don't even know baseball season is starting is a failure of my franchise -- not to mention MLB's marketing department -- of tremendous proportions.
Essentially, once hockey, where I saw both my teams, which are playoff bound, play a dandy last night, and basketball, where the Knicks are looking good, have finished for the season, I will have nothing on this continent to keep me entertained sports-wise until the Giants face the Cowboys on Sept. 5.
Fortunately, in this world of internet connectivity and modern technology, I don't have to restrain myself simply to this continent. This is great news considering Friday morning will, at long last, see the return of the thunder down under when Geelong kicks off its premiership defense in the 2012 Aussie Rules Football season with a season-opening fixture against Fremantle. It's just the latest in a string of positive news for the Cats now that stud captain Joel Selwood has re-upped for a long-term deal with the club. But really, more importantly, I'm just excited that one of the most underappreciated and exciting sports around is back in action.
That probably doesn't excite the rest of you as much as it excites me, particularly since ESPN not renewing its North American broadcast rights for the AFL has made it increasingly difficult to watch (it'll now be on FOX Soccer Plus), but really, when you look at it, I don't have much else to cling to. After all, what else am I going to watch this summer? The Mets? Please. I will watch, but I refuse to get excited about that disaster in waiting. Why don't we let the team get solvent first and then we can start to discuss how excited I am for Mets baseball.
And maybe then I'll pay attention to when the schedule starts.