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Opening Day is right up there with the opening round of March Madness and the Super Bowl as one of the best days of the year. Not just Best Sports Day, one of the best days of the year. It isn’t because of the caliber of game on the field, far from it, actually (nobody ever said April baseball was the best baseball). It’s not just those first nine innings, but what those nine innings represent. Optimism. Summer. A relaxing way of life. Hope.
Today, every single team, from the best on paper to the worst, from the storied winners, to the storied losers are all even. Supporters of all teams are ripe with optimism (maybe), or at least can sigh in relief knowing we have, hopefully, seen the last of the snow, and that barbecues, beaches, and beautiful blondes in white shorts and bikinis are right around the corner. Because that’s really what baseball is all about. It’s not just 25 guys playing a game for our amusement. Baseball is a national symbol for summer.
Summer’s pulse, like the rhythm of the waves washing up to shore and cascading back to sea, can equally be measured by the back and forth tide of pitcher to catcher. Yesterday was the first true sign that in a mere number of weeks we will be able to trade in our Bean boots for Sperrys and sweaters for Gingham. Instead of sitting by a fireplace, we actually can sit outside in the dead of night by a fire, drinking beers and smoking cigars, swatting at the mosquitoes. Summer is digging your ass in the sand. It’s playing wiffleball in your yard barefoot. It’s having a catch with your dad in a quiet street before dinner.
Opening Day should resonate with everyone — students, yuppies — because there is nothing better than the stretch of days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and today is the first true indicator that the winter doldrums are behind us.
Cue the 4th of July scene from The Sandlot! “For us, baseball was a game. But for Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez, baseball was life.” Chills..
Image via YouTube