By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Mar 03, 2015 at 5:30 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

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With deep apologies to Dinah Washington, what a difference a year makes.

Go back one year and think about where we were.

The Green Bay Packers had come off a season where they finished just one game over .500 and were one and done in the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks were stumbling to their worst all-time record in pursuit of a top draft pick.

And pitchers and catchers had just reported to spring training for the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that had finished 74-88 the previous year and was only better than the Chicago Cubs during the regular season division race.

But it was all that spring is supposed to be: The hope, the fresh faces, the expectation that things were going to be better.

A big part of that spring training a year ago was the possibility of getting out of the doldrums where it seemed like we had been trapped forever.

Now, move up to today.

The Packers are coming off a wonderful season, getting to the NFC title game and missing a berth in the Super Bowl by a series of inexplicable errors. It was a great season.

The Milwaukee Bucks have been overwhelming in both their record and their buzz factor. People are talking about the team and the talk is all positive.

And so we come to spring training.

How much hope can we have? How much hope do we need?

If we learned one thing last season it’s not to count our chickens before they hatch. So, let’s not get all that excited.

Last year was as a perfect example of how horrible it can be to get too excited about your home team.

The Brewers surprised the entire world with an incredible run for the majority of the season. They looked like sure fire participants in the playoffs. Then they went 9-22 and slid virtually out of sight.

The disappointment was especially severe because we needed our Brewers. We were languishing in disappointment and someone had to ride to our rescue.

For a while, it looked like the Brewers were the answer.

What I hope is that we have learned something from last year. We need to learn that the phrase "moderation if all things" applies to sports as well as to dessert. I don’t think we should necessarily be fatalistic about the upcoming baseball season.

It’s just fine to have hope and dreaming is a good thing. But be careful about going overboard. I think it’s easy to approach this spring training with something other than blind devotion.

You see, this year we don’t need the Brewers.

Oh, we can love them and we can get on all the talk shows and blabber about who should be the backup shortstop or who ought to be the set-up man on the pitching staff.

But don’t get too wound up in this thing. It’s easy to do this time of year, but let’s just coast into the season. Let’s take it easy. We don’t need to be manic about the return of baseball.

We’ve got enough else to get excited about.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.