It’s time to really get your hopes up risk the cycle of disappointment once again. The optimist in you says, “We’re gonna be good this year, we’re gonna be good.” Obviously, you have to keep your wits about you and the realistic expectations for the season in sight. The team will either underperform or exceed your expectations. And when they underperform, fans dive deep into despair. 


New Teammates, New Opportunities

The Yankees have made some moves in the offseason that would call for optimism. Juan Soto is a big reason. One slugger being added to the line up has completely changed the Yankees’ offensive outlook in one offseason. Soto alone generates runs, but paired with Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, who also appears ready to roll this year, the lineup looks fantastic. 

Management acquired Alex Verdugo so Soto didn’t feel the entire weight of carrying the lefthanded portion of the team’s offense. Judge is there, but I have a feeling he’s going to be limited by that toe injury and he needs to continue to be careful. 

In the same trade for Soto, the Yankees acquired Trent Grisham. Many focused on Soto, but Grisham has the defensive skills to round out a strong outfield. The two-time Gold Glove winner covers defensively for his teammates while they cover for him offensively. Speaking of defense, Marcus Stroman was added to the roster to bolster the starting rotation. 

An Alluring Season

Spring training has fed into the surging excitement for the new MLB season. For Yankees fans, Soto’s RBI double to tie Monday’s game against the Twins and prospect Spencer Jones’ home run in his debut have only fueled Yankee fan optimism. 

The season starts out on a rough road that will put the team through some early adversity. Opening the season with a four game series against the Astros followed by the Diamondbacks could be a bleak 10 games. We could certainly come out on top in these games, but new pieces of the puzzle often take time to fall into place. The Yankees won’t realize their new identity and completely shed the poor habits of old overnight. While the beginning of the season is long from indicative of how the rest of the games will play out, a tough opening makes it hard to be overly optimistic. 

That’s the allure of the start of a new season. All of the goals and trades have been laid out for fans and analysts to scrutinize and narrate. Fans of teams in the dumps are hoping to only go up from where they were, and fans of good teams are hoping to maintain their status. The trades look good, the players look good, and the stats look good, but there are still so many unknown variables. Human error goes unaccounted for in preseason forecasts and baseball, like most sports, is full of human error. Perhaps the new roster of teammates won’t mesh well, which could affect the team’s output. Or maybe the manager does a poor job of playing to the strengths of the team. 

Fans underestimating their team may be surprised by the collective hard work and grit they can muster to pull themselves into a favorable spot. There are many things to consider and many things to overthink, which I tend to do well, but as fans we are only able to watch as things play out. Anyway, many make predictions to maintain their sanity year after year. I’m always hopeful, and the offseason is favorable for a productive season. But I fear that we might find ourselves disappointed at the end of the day.

To Be Excited or Not To Be 

This is the year of tempering our expectations, and I would rather be pleasantly surprised by the results than disappointed by high expectations. We will see improvements that may not churn out a title, which would be fine to build on. However, Juan Soto is not tagged down and it’s worrying that he might hop off the train after one year. The team will depend on Soto this season, but they cannot become reliant on his offensive production. 

Truly these are only vibes, and no one can say for sure what will occur during the season. But there are many exciting factors that are hard for Yankee fans to ignore. The offseason has yielded an exciting roster, and players are showcasing their stuff so far in spring training. While wise advice may be to temper expectations, there may be a little part of you that’s hoping for a World Series win no matter what.

Ultimately, that is the essence of sport and the competitive spirit. Things can be exciting or bleak, and there’s always a chance to do well if you believe in doing well.

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