Play Ball!

Nationals pitcher Tomo Ohka, of Japan, delivers a pitch during a spring training intra-squad scrimmage on Friday, March 4, 2005 in Viera, Fla.
Weekly commentary by CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.
Finally today, what with Iraq, a cold winter and this nasty argument over Social Security, Washington has been in a bad humor lately. But one day last week the clouds parted and people in my office anyway were smiling again because, after all these years, Washington finally has a baseball team and it was playing its first exhibition game in Florida. Full disclosure for the bosses in New York, yes, we were all watching, but it is possible to watch TV and work. Just ask any teen-ager.

A realist will tell you that our team had one of the worst records in baseball when it called Montreal home last year. But when our guys won that first exhibition game, people were actually saying, maybe, just maybe this team can go all the way. Such is the magic of baseball in the spring, when nature begins to renew itself and all things seem possible.

But it is more than that. Somehow baseball brings out the optimist in all of us and that shouldn't surprise us because optimism has been in our DNA from the very start. How else would a ragtag army have taken on the greatest military power in the world against all odds to win our freedom? Not because they thought they were going to lose.

The other day a friend of mine from another country said what she liked about Americans was that we were always willing to give it a go, to take a chance, whatever the odds, if the cause was right. I have always believed that but in these days when we get so many brick bats, it was nice to hear her say it.

America's core strength remains that spirit of optimism. Again last week it was baseball that reminded us of it. Play ball!

By Bob Schieffer