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The time has arrived.

Opening Day is finally here. There will be bunting on the facade. The pinstripes will be so fresh and so clean. We’ll hear an actual roar from a limited crowd. Baseball is back. Except, this isn’t the time I’m referencing.

It’s time to be all-in on the 2021 Yankees. Yankees fans have engaged in endless debates focusing on the potential flaws of this roster. That needs to end. This team has the potential to be a juggernaut. There is a genuine possibility that these 26 (and by extension, 40) men will run roughshod through the American League. It is ok to proclaim that faith in this team.

Optimism hasn’t been this fan base’s default for a while now. I get it. They always fill up the IL. The closer gives up big postseason home runs to both stars and random players who thrive in a 60 game season. The front office doesn’t spend $500 million every winter on every free agent like the good old days. The rotation never feels deep or good enough. It’s been eleven years since experiencing the ultimate glory.

All of that stops today. It is time to embrace our excitement and wildest dreams for this team. Great rewards come from great risks. We’ve already experienced disappointment, and we’ve made it to another Opening Day. We’ve survived a lot. We can take that collective big leap and raise our hopes that this is the year the Yankees play the final game of the season.

They have the best lineup in the game. Gerrit Cole will have a full season to establish his presence as one of the best in the game. The rotation has a strong chance of being one of the best in the game with the depth to withstand injuries and workloads. The bullpen will be dominant again. This season can be one of the great ones we think fondly upon in a few years.

For the last few seasons, we’ve viewed the Yankees’ season through the lens of that one team who could challenge them for the pennant. This season, they are the team everyone else has to measure up against. They are the bully on the block. Sure, the Rays are the defending AL Champions. The only thing that did was help them add to their impressive banner collection. Their biggest feat this year will be their hype video starring WWE Superstar Drew McIntyre. We’re talking about real championship contenders over here. The Yankees are in that select group.

When the home plate umpire calls “play ball” to kick off the 2021 Yankees’ season, we should all embrace the expectations that come with this team. We don’t have to step into this year with cautious optimism. Be bold. Be confident. Let that cautious guard down and be fearless with your hopes. The Yankees will have a great season. We will eventually see how great it can be. But that shouldn’t stop us from acknowledging what is so clearly staring us in the face. Enjoy the season. Go Yankees.