Opening Day, er, Night is upon us. I, for one, am super psyched about the match-up even though they are 1a and 1b on my most hated baseball team list (yes it exists). After Sunday, the Orioles will be ahead in the loss column over either the Yanks or the Sox, which might be the only time that happens. It’s the little things you need to enjoy with baseball (like an opposite field line drive (unless you are the Mets/David Wright)).
Opening Day has always been the pinnacle of March. And March is clearly the best month of the year. Think about it: the NCAA tournament, the first day of Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, my birthday, fantasy baseball drafts, NFL Draft preparation, and many other reasons that are less important.
March also happens to be, perhaps, the longest month – no federal holidays + 31 days – however it seems to fly by. Now that I’ve checked my calendar, it seems we’re in April.
So why do I see Opening Day as the Deadeye Dick weathervane cap to the brilliant March sporting season. Here’s why:
- Cal Ripken – please let his pure reputation remain intact. Ripken represents all that is good and holy about baseball and my childhood.
- Brady Anderson – what can I say, he was my first Starting Lineup Figurine. He was cool and I believed in him when he struggled. Then, with a little help, he became good.
- The fact that managers don’t appear to be all that important.
- The comfort of how a hard hit ground ball to the opposite field rolls off the infield and bounds on bright green grass.
- Horrible GMs, because they do matter.
- Theo Epstein – you have to be impressed with the way he approaches the game – failed AROD trade, notwithstanding.
- Hearing old stories of the Robinson’s (Brooks & Frank (the most underrated player ever?)). Also, was the Glenn Davis trade (Schilling, Harnish, Finely) karma for the Frank Robinson trade (#7 on the list)? If so, it was worth it just to hear recounts of the Orioles’ golden days. And maybe the Erik Bedard trade is Karma’s payback.
- Jim Palmer’s horrible commercials – there must be hundreds of local “heroes” hocking/hawking awesome products. Palmer’s is my favorite.
- Jeffrey Maier/Armando Benitez (cough: Tony Fernandez)/Tony Tarasco/Jose Mesa (cough: Edgar Renteria)
- Justin Upton.
- Fantasy Baseball – see: Fantasy Baseball 101.
- AROD, the Britney of baseball.
- The ridiculous outrage over PEDs and records – people cheated, yes. People have cheated throughout baseball, and football, and apparently the financial industry. Get over it. Did the Black Sox (who did something far more heinous) ruin baseball? I don’t think so, neither will this “scandal.” (I wrote this verbatim last year).
- Derek Jeter – you have to admire his consistency on and off the field. I just hope that when he retires from baseball, he does so with as much success as he did with Minka. I’m an Orioles fan. I hate the Yankees. I can’t help being impressed with Jeter – it hurts.
- Because “Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.”
- Underrated “scrappy” guys like Craig Biggio.
- Overrated scrappy guys like David Eckstein.
- Earl Weaver Baseball.
- Opening Day….when every team sort of has a chance (if you don’t play in AL East and are the Jays).
- Prospects hype…and the chance they live up to it.
- The best reason is the poetry, allure and magnetism surrounding this game: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” From here.
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