Well, it’s a new year. Pitchers and catchers have reported. The anonymous 2016 Braves are about to begin their wind sprints, and, with apologies to Peanut, I’m sure they’ll attempt to silence their critics. They’re a mortal lock to win 50 games, and if they really bust their humps, they just might win 60 or 70. If you squint, there are a couple of guys who even look like ballplayers: if Jace Peterson could just have that first half of his over an entire season, and Hector Olivera could hit like everyone says he will, and Adonis Garcia keeps hitting like a poor man’s Evan Gattis, and Arodys Vizcaino could stay healthy (and keep from getting busted), well, that’d be something.
I’m not one for false optimism; in the Pascal’s wager of sports, I hate being optimistic and wrong more than being pessimistic and wrong, because at least then I’m only getting gutpunched once. But the Phillies are still awful, the Marlins are still the Marlins, the Mets have an awfully old offense, and the Nationals are a walking injury list being skippered by a man who wasn’t their first choice; I don’t see how the Braves are any good, but none of those bums are the 1998 Yankees, either.
Like lambs to the slaughter, the 2016 Braves are getting ready to take the field. And I still couldn’t be happier that winter is over and spring is here.