- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

This Will Be

The lamentably late Natalie Cole [1] told us in good old 1975 [2] what This Will Be [3], but she wasn’t necessarily* in the forecasting business. It’s a blank slate out there. The new year couldn’t be much newer or less knowable. If you need precedent (despite precedent’s limited efficacy [4]), just look back to 365 days ago. We had no idea what the Mets were about to do and only modest concept of who was going to do it for them when 2015 began. Counting on 2016 to reveal its mysteries at the outset is an exercise in assumption. No matter how informed yours is, I refer you to Felix Unger’s courtroom chalkboard [5] as to what will be made of “u” and “me” should you rely too heavily on it.

You could say the same about life in general, but let’s keep our eye on the literal ball here. If you want to say, “This season will be…” and fill in the rest, knock yourself out. You’re probably gonna get it wrong. Or you’ll accidentally get it right. How the hell would you know what’s coming next? Or how would I?

We’ll guess anyway. We’ll even assume, potential for “ass” notwithstanding. I’d suggest taking your own projections and predictions lightly. Give the players you’re certain are going to fizzle a chance to surprise you. Give the benefit of the doubt to everybody in January. We’re tied for first for another 92 days. Enjoy it.

And maybe revel in the fact that we’re in the midst of the shortest offseason in Mets history. Usually at the dawn of a new year, we’d be hitting the Baseball Equinox [6], the instant at which we are equidistant between the last pitch of the previous season and the first pitch of the upcoming season.

The previous season extended itself quite nicely, you may recall. Thus, because the Mets weren’t finished with 2015 until 12:34 AM on November 2 (I checked the time; it was better than watching the Royals), we have yet to Equinox. The midpoint — that moment when we’re rounding second and heading for home — will arrive on Sunday, January 17, at approximately 10:34:30 PM EST. When the clock strikes that, you’ll know we’re on an inevitable glide path to Sunday, April 3, at 8:35 PM EDT.

Ah, call it 10:35 PM (or 10:05 PM if you want to be a stickler for the hour we lose on March 13 [7] not being offset by the fall-back hour we gained before [8] the World Series was over). First pitch on Opening Night is at ESPN’s discretion, and between them and whatever unwatchable ceremonies are wrapping up at Kauffman Stadium, figure everything starts at least 30 seconds beyond when it is supposed to.

Not that there’s much concrete “supposed to” for a baseball season three months in advance.

*Instead of that corny “the bride feeds the groom [9]” tune, we played “This Will Be” at our wedding to accompany our ritual cutting of the cake. “This will be/an everlasting love,” Miss Cole sang for Stephanie and me nearly a quarter-century ago. I’m gonna say she was on target with that prognostication. R.I.P. to a singer whose voice remains an everlasting gift to us.