A brief muse on Opening Day.
It’s the combination of New Years Eve and Christmas. The blending of eternal optimism with the culmination of anticipation that has been smoldering in the depths of our bellies for what has seemed like an endless string of winter months. The one day where every team is tied, and not only are they tied, they’re tied for first place. It may be the only day for the next 182 days that some teams will even sniff the top of the leader board, but for that one day, it’s something that cannot be denied.
It’s the smell of a glove put to your face and the feel of a cold beer in your hand, waiting for your favorite stars to finish what, for all but one team, is now the unfinished business of last year. Whether it’s the “This is our year” sentiments in Wrigleyville or the “You gotta believe” hopes in Queens, it’s something that is as part of our past as it will be our future. It’s rookies getting their first taste of The Show and veterans counting down what is an unfortunately finite number of openers. It’s the knowledge that last year’s standings are meaningless, and a new pennant is up for grabs. It’s the child-like optimism that makes Opening Day as American as apple pie. It’s the beauty of the pine-tar covered bat and the artfully crafted Vin Scully call. It serves as a reminder that, though football might be king of the rating, baseball still rules our hearts, as it has for generations.
As our society continues to evolve into one of instant gratification and commercial breaks every eight minutes, fight the urge to complain about the 3 hour games, and the 162 game schedules. Baseball is the one sport that isn’t ruled by a clock. The game is over when it has played itself out to completion. This is our game, as it has always been, and forever will be. Happy Opening Day, everybody.