Truck Day Brings With It Renewed Hope

Photo: MLB.com

I may be sitting in a cold, snow-covered hellscape, but Truck Day is here, and with it comes a renewed hope for the 2015 season

As I sit here writing, I’m wearing a sweatshirt and rubbing my hands indoors. There’s about ten thousand feet of snow outside, I’ve forgotten what the sun is like, and I’m fairly certain my city no longer has public transportation. In other words, Spring is the last thing on my mind. At this point, it’s little more than a myth, something you talk about to convince yourself there’s a light at the end of this cold tunnel. Baseball seems light-years away, like Opening Day will never come. And then, out of nowhere it seems, we see our first sign of Spring. I’m not talking about groundhog shadows; I’m talking Truck Day.

I briefly brought up Truck Day in our Tweets of the Night over on Today’s Knuckleball, where I mentioned it’s the first sign of a new season. In the second week of February, with football behind us, basketball at the All-Star break, and my Bruins falling apart, baseball can’t come soon enough.

It’s easy to make fun of Truck Day, and for those who actually go see it, that poking may be fair. The actual day itself is meaningless; a bunch of 18-wheelers loading up on equipment, sunflower seeds, and fresh baseballs, making the trek to their summer homes. Something about watching giant trucks roll by doesn’t exactly scream excitement, and even I – as big a baseball fan as you’ll meet – understand that. The thing is, it’s not about the trucks. It’s about hope.

Truck Day is basically the unofficial first day of the season; since the Red Sox trucks are departing today (some teams already have), I consider this Day One of the 2015 season. Not Opening Day, not the start of Spring Training, not even the day pitchers and catchers report. Today is Day One. The equipment – and, in spirit, the team – is packed and ready to go for a new season. Several thousand balls, a few hundred bats, and enough sunflower seeds to feed a small army are ready to be broken in. New players are excited to meet their new teammates and coaches. Veterans are dying to put last season behind them and get healthy, get better, and get ready for the grind.

If you’re a San Francisco Giants fan, congratulations. You and your team have spent the last four months celebrating from the top, content with the knowledge that last season was a raging success. If you’re a fan of one of the other 29 teams, you’re like me; ready to forget about the disappointment of 2014 and eager to turn the page. Sure, some fans are more excited about it than others (lookin’ at you, Twins fans), but today represents a new life, a new chance. Today is “next year.”

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Sure my Red Sox finished last in 2014. But that was last season. This season, everyone is 0-0. Everyone is tied for first. Any team could be this year’s Giants, taking the first steps on what will ultimately become a championship journey. Any team could be this year’s Royals, ready to put decades of failure behind them. That’s what makes Truck Day so special. Any team could be this year’s surprise. On the flip side, any team could be this year’s disappointment. It’s a blank slate. God I love Truck Day.

Baseball is a slow burn. The games are slow; there is no clock, just two teams battling until there’s a winner. The season is long, with twice as many games as the NBA or NHL, and ten times as many as the NFL. We start in February and don’t end until Halloween. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Well, they always say the first step is always the most important. A long journey begins with a single step. [Insert third saying you’d find on a poster in a guidance counselor’s office here]. Today is that first step, if not in actuality, then certainly symbolically.

Last season, my Red Sox finished in last place. Only one team, one set of fans, can say 2014 was a total success. Only one team finished with the ultimate prize. In fact, some teams were out of the running long before the trophy was lifted. Not today, though. Today, every team in the league is in the running. Every team in the league is tied for first. Today, anything could happen. Today, is Truck Day. Now excuse me; I have to go shovel my car again.

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