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How long until opening day?

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As I look forward to another break from school for Thanksgiving break, I begin thinking about those hard-hitting questions that my relatives will throw at me during our turkey-day festivities.

“So, do you have a boyfriend yet?” “What’s new with school?” “What’s it like being the editor-in-chief of a college newspaper?” “What are you going to do now that baseball is over?” Oh, I bet you weren’t expecting that last one, were you?

Every member of my family knows that among chocolate and country music, baseball is one of my favorite things. My mom talks about how her future son-in-law will probably be a baseball player. My brother thinks I should be able to improve my grades if I stopped paying so much attention to the Cardinals. My cousins laugh at me because I have more pictures taken at Busch Stadium than I do with them on vacations.

But I just can’t help it.

There’s something about “America’s favorite pastime” that has had me hooked ever since I could sing the words of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”.  Honestly, I don’t think anything, not even the overpriced food and beer at the ballpark, could keep me from loving the game.

For the past seven months, I’ve enjoyed all that baseball season has to offer: the rivalries, the crazy fans, the triumphant wins and the depressing losses. Then, last week, that enjoyment ceased as my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, lost after playing six hard-fought games against the Boston Red Sox.

I was devastated.

Ask the rest of the editors that were in the newsroom last Wednesday night. I was whining, pouting and in de nial that my team had lost. How could baseball be over?! Seven wonderful months of watching the Cardinals on their journey to the World Series, and now it was all over. No more Fredbird. No more Wacha. No more Busch Stadium.

In the days following the Cardinals’ loss, I felt like I was going through a bad breakup. It was lonely and it was quiet. I started watching cheesy rom-coms instead of ballgames.

And then, as the countdown until the 2014 opening day began, I realized that, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, I should thank the Cardinals and the rest of Major League Baseball for an incredible season.

This season had its ups and downs, but there were some things that I would nonetheless never forget.

In the beginning of the season, I remember thinking about the future of the team without Jason Motte or Chris Carpenter. What would we do without Allen Craig? To be honest, I really did not know how we would make it to the postseason back in June.

Despite all of this, this 2013 team gave me many reasons to believe that this would still be an unbelievable season.

I loved attending opening day, watching Cardinals fans of all ages come together in celebration of the beginning of the season. I enjoyed every minute of Joe Kelly’s dancing and his standoff with the Dodgers. I attended the game of Michael Wacha’s [almost] no-hitter. I went to my first-ever National League Championship Series game to see the Cardinals defeat the Dodgers. I attended a social media night with the Cardinals and was within three feet of some of my favorite players. I constantly checked Stub-hub with my friends to see if we could afford tickets to World Series games that took place in St. Louis. I rescheduled meetings in order to watch the games that were in Boston. There was no way I was going to miss watching this team play.

So, thank you, Cardinals, for making this another season in which I was, without a doubt, proud to call myself a Cards fan. From now until the end of March, I’ll faithfully follow the Cardinals through their offseason journey, dutifully checking their twitter accounts and liking each Facebook post about the team’s current status.

Only 144 days until opening day, my friends. Keep calm, and Go Cardinals.

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How long until opening day?