h2h Corner ~ Opening Day(night)…thank god – or An Ode on Opening Day

It sure didn’t feel like Opening Day today. Usually the build up is akin to Christmas morning. That wasn’t the case today. Maybe I had done a lot of prep work, maybe it was how I awoke (a tongue in my ear and paw on my check at 6:03 – that’s how my puppy monster signals it’s time to go to the dog park).

Groggy, I got out of bed, put my rain gear on and went outside into a freezing mist. Roughly 5,000 steps later we got to the dog park – the first ones there, before it even opened. We got in a few minutes later and I kicked a tennis ball all over the park until the Mastiff showed up and my puppy played.

Then Rocky’s owner came. He was wearing a Detroit Tigers cap (no one is from D.C.) and it hit me that the second greatest sporting afternoon was upon us.

Finally my brain kicked into gear and I got excited. 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 holidays + 31 days – however it seems to fly by.

Without further puppy ponderings, an ode to Opening Day:

  • We’re one step closer to Chone Figgins getting back the third base eligibility that was stupidly taken from him.
  • The sound of a hand smacking a glove.
  • That it really doesn’t mean anything other than we’ll get another 161 games per team of pure joy and heartbreak.
  • The reminders of Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson and Elrod Hendricks – all of those that came before us.
  • A bat soundly smacking a fat pitch.
  • The first frozen rope.
  • Andrew McCutchen
  • Yes, Matt Wieters.
  • Jason Heyward.
  • The comfort of how a hard hit ground ball to the opposite field rolls off the infield and bounds on bright green grass.
  • Chipper Jones.
  • Jim Palmer’s horrible commercials – there must be hundreds of local “heroes” hocking/hawking awesome products. Palmer’s is my favorite.
  • Chris Shelton. Emilio Bonifacio. Jose Bautista? Naww.
  • Tim Lincecum.
  • 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 and the year before).
  • The end of Jeter?
  • The resurgence of Jeter?
  • The second greatest tournament: the MLB Play-offs (after March Madness of course).
  • Troy Tulowitzki.
  • David Wells & Dock Ellis.
  • Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby.
  • “Let’s play two.”
  • 0-0 with a 0 run differential.
  • Clean plates and slates.
  • It’s okay to pee on your hands…making you almost as cool as Eric Davis.
  • Terry Pendleton’s bat grip.
  • 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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