Our spring sports season begins today. M and C both have their first kickball games, while L has a soccer practice. All at the same time. At three different locations. This is my life on Wednesdays for the next month. C is also playing softball, so there are a couple nights where she has both a kickball and softball game. Fortunately that happens just twice so she can miss one of each and we won’t offend either coach too much.

M is excited about her fifth season of kickball. No St. P’s sixth graders are playing, and they like to keep the teams big in the spring since so many girls are playing multiple sports. So she’s on the A team, and it is made up entirely of her grade-mates.

This is C’s first season of kickball. She wasn’t that excited about playing, but we talked her into playing this year since she’ll probably run track next spring.[1] I haven’t watched her practice but she says she’s doing well and enjoying it. They mix fourth and third graders in the spring so the third graders can play with girls who already know the rules and understand the game a little.

Her first softball game is this coming Monday. She moves up to kid pitch this year. She’s only been to two practices because of weather issues and our spring break, but in those practices she was still smacking the ball pretty well. She struggles a bit in the field. I really should work with her more on that. But she’s kind of like Ted Williams: she thinks about hitting all the time and would be perfectly fine if she never had to make a play in the field.

And L is on a soccer team that has eight first graders from St. P’s. Practices so far have been a big goofball fest as they all mess around the entire time. There’s one poor kid who goes to a different school stuck with this group. Fortunately, he looks like a pretty good player, so I’m sure they’ll adopt him without any issues. Her season begins on Sunday.

Next week is when we really get busy. Monday we have kickball and softball games at the same time. Tuesday is open. Wednesday we have kickball practice, a kickball game, and a soccer game. Thursday we have a kickball game. Friday we have a kickball game and softball practice. Saturday we have a softball game. And Sunday we have a soccer game. Then repeat through the first week of May when we hit the kickball tournaments and things should calm down a little. Fortunately I will have a lot of help from grandparents, aunts, and other parents so as long as I keep organized, every girl should get to every event on time.

As for baseball, I eased into this season. I was ready for it to begin, but there was also a part of me that didn’t want to give up on the winter of the Royals being World Series champs. Throw in us being out-of-town and the Royals odd scheduled the first week, and it was easy to put off jumping into the new year.

I watched the last 3–4 innings of opening night on ESPN, but didn’t renew my MLB.TV subscription until this Monday, so the next four games I only followed casually via Yahoo. But the last two nights I’ve listened to the game through the early innings, then turned the TV on once the girls are in bed. I feel those familiar summer rhythms rippling below the surface, ready to break through and carry me across the warm months.

As I told a few friends, I’ve had weird flashbacks to October as I’ve watched games the last two nights. Eric Hosmer hit a liner down the left field line Monday night. It hugged the ground and never threatened the wall, but when they showed the replays, all I could think of was his double in the ninth inning of game five of the World Series, the hit that turned the tide of the game.

A few of the faces are different – Johnny Cueto, Ben Zobrist, and Alex Rios are gone; Omar Infante is back after missing the postseason; Reymond Fuentes is new – but the team still has that vibe that they will always get things done. I’m glad they’re back.

And I have faith in them this year, which surely is a bad sign. Last year I didn’t think they would have the pitching to get back to the postseason, even with better offensive seasons from several players. Shows what I know.

I still think their starting rotation is very shaky. But if I’ve learned one thing the last two years, you never doubt this team. That Royals Devil Magic works all summer, not just in September and October.[2]

The Royals will win the AL Central, but with fewer wins this year. Let’s say 89–90. When the playoffs begin, Toronto or Texas or Houston will be the favorites. But the Royals will get hot at the right time and win their third-straight AL pennant.

It’s an even year, which means the San Francisco Giants have to win the World Series, right? They put off the Chicago Cubs dynasty one more year and get through to face the Royals for the second time in three years. Volquez beats Bumgarner in game one, the Royals crush Cueto in game two, and they finish up the sweep with a complete game, two-hitter by Chris Young.

Mark it down.

  1. CYO track begins in fourth grade.  ↩
  2. And November!  ↩