Hope springs eternal, even for the Royals.

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." -- Andy Dufresne

The Royals pitchers and catchers report today, marking the start of another baseball season. Although the spring in spring training doesn't mean much when there are still piles of snow taller than Randy Johnson around, the more important portent is hope.

Even for Royals fans who fully expect their team to lose 100 games this season, hope still exists. Hope for a championship or merely a playoff berth...heck, even an 80-win season...is extremely minuscule, but hope still exists.

Hope exists in the little things like the green of the grass, the elegant simplicity of the KC logo, and Alcides Escobar's glove. Hope exists in big things like the crown scoreboard and Billy Butler's bat. And hope exists in between, in the spray of the fountains, the smack of ball into glove, and the hook of Joakim Soria's curve.

Hope exists because sometimes hope is rewarded, by the playoff push of 2003 or Zack Greinke's unforgettable 2009 season. No one expected Joey Votto to be the NL MVP last season. No one thought the Rangers would get to the World Series. No one thought the Giants would win it. Sometimes hope triumphs.

And so we Royals fans hope. Maybe Luke Hochevar will harness the potential he flashed in his 80-pitch complete game. Maybe Lorenzo Cain is the truth in center field. Maybe Alex Gordon will finally turn into Alex Gordon. Perhaps a few vaunted prospects will be shining by the All-Star Break. Perhaps by season's end, the bright future of 2012 will be blinding.

Maybe none of those things will happen. Maybe they all will. As camp opens, the beauty lies in the brilliant possibilities of the unknown. That's why we believe. That's why we hope.

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