They were wearing parkas in PNC Park yesterday, but it looked like spring anyway. The sun was shining. Bats were being swung. A certain agitated Pittsburgh Pirates fan (me) was begging Mark Melancon to please for God's sake close this thing out before the St. Louis Cardinals do something Cardinal-y, like erase a four-run deficit in their last at-bats.
Well, Melancon got it done, finally, and the Pirates won 4-1 on Opening Day. Which means a 162-0 run is still possible, in much the same way a reverse one-handed slam dunk is still possible for the 61-year-old who's driving this sentence.
Which is to say, it's not bloody likely. But possible.
That's the magic of Opening Day, when everyone's undefeated and the World Series is a mortal lock. Even the Cubs still have a shot -- a line that doesn't work the way it used to, considering the Cubs are probably the odds-on favorite to actually, you know, win it all this year.
In one sense, I suppose, you can look at Opening Day and see it as fool's gold, nothing but a lot of false hope destined to be crushed somewhere down the line. But that's the curmudgeon's way of looking at things. That's the way only those with curdled souls look at things, those poor glass-half-empty unfortunates who looked at all that sunshine yesterday and only felt the cold.
For the rest of us, Opening Day was ... Opening Day. Hits. Runs. Ring-ups. Fly balls being tracked down. All the familiar patterns of the warm months, all the promise, parkas or not, that it can't stay cold forever.
It can't, you know. It won't. Eventually, we'll be sweating.
Just like, eventually, Mark Melancon will retire the doggone side.