The 8-8 Jets are done. The 7-9 Giants are done. My 2-10 USF Bulls remain on extended bowl hiatus since 2010. In other words, all of my parochial football interests, such as they are, have officially expired. If you still have some other team competing for a larger prize on the professional or collegiate level, that’s your business — and you should feel free to keep it to yourself — but I am, as ever, ready for some baseball.
So is the calendar.
Old friend Baseball Equinox is upon us. For those of you who aren’t familiar with our trusty time-keeping device, the Baseball Equinox endeavors to measure the precise midway point between the final out of the last Mets season and the scheduled first pitch of the next Mets season. Usually the initiative produces results that are, per Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny, dead-on balls accurate. This year, however, there’s a Vincent Gambini-size gap in my temporal certitude.
I’m a little fuzzy on the exact spot in the cosmos where the hope of baseball commences to eclipsing the despair of no baseball because the last game of 2013 was tardy when it came to getting to first pitch. The delay was for a good cause, laid on in deference to the induction of Mike Piazza into the only Hall of Fame No. 31 is likely — thanks to rigorous observers of the human condition like Boston Globe grand panjandrum Dan Shaughnessy — to enter for a while. I believe the start of the game against the Brewers, which lasted two hours and twenty-three minutes, was pushed back to 1:40, which would, in turn, place last pitch at around 4:03 PM, September 29.
Or did it start and therefore end a scooch later? It’s a relatively infinitesimal difference, but when you’re dealing with the moon, the stars and the desire to drift toward the sun as soon as possible, the details should be sought and respected.
Sliced finely or approximately, we know this much: some Met who won’t be Matt Harvey is supposed to throw a pitch to some National who will probably be Denard Span on March 31, 2014, at 1:10 PM, and ceremonies may gently nudge that golden moment, too. So let’s say that at about 2:36 AM Eastern Standard Time on Monday, December 30, 2013, we will hit our mark, and the Baseball Equinox that brings us as close to next season as we are to last season will be in full effect.
A minute later, the past falls further behind in the loss column and the future grows close enough to start checking the out-of-town scoreboard.
Between 2:36 this morning and 1:10 on the last Monday afternoon in March, there will be markers. There will be whatever Piazzaless sham the Baseball Writers Association of America perpetrate a week from Wednesday. Three Saturdays from now, on January 18, the Queens Baseball Convention will arrive at McFadden’s Citi Field, and you should be there to greet it and enjoy it with me, with Jason and with a whole lot of good people. SABR Day comes to the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library on January 25, and that’s a worthwhile outing, too. In the middle of February, the pitchers and catchers return to their version of Capistrano, and by the end of that month in St. Lucie, the Mets will be playing those pretend games that will seem of utmost importance until it dawns on us they don’t count even a tiny little bit.
I’m all for anything that breaks up the monotony that lies inevitably on the other side of the Baseball Equinox, but winter will inevitably continue to see its own shadow between 2:36 this morning and 1:10 the day the Mets alight in Flushing for keeps. It’s not really baseball until it’s really baseball, as I’m sure you know what I mean.
The Baseball Equinox means we’re truly on our way. It’s about time.