Opening Day is romantic, rejuvenating, sentimental, fun, and exciting all rolled in one and to me it should be a national holiday. Baseball is a reminder that spring is here and things are starting a new. For many teams it is the only time of year that many teams have a glimmer of hope.
When I was back in the States working I would use a vacation day to take the day off and either attend a game or sit at home and watch baseball all day long. But with all the good memories come some not so great ones as well.
First, let me take a look at some of the better memories.
I can remember several times waking up early in the morning to catch the first pitch of the season coming from somewhere overseas like Japan. In 2008, the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox started the season out in Japan and I was up at 3am (or whatever time it was in the US) to watch those games. Some may call me crazy or say that I am hardcore, but I love it.
Several times I was able to attend Opening Day at the Ballpark in Arlington (dubbed the “Temple” by the guys from Sports Radio 1310 in Dallas). Each time I made it the weather was gorgeous, the fans were lively, and the games were great no matter who won. I love seeing pomp and circumstance around the first game. The pagentry of seeing the anthem being sung by a star sometimes (saw Jessica Simpson sing it before I knew who she was), seeing the giant flag out on the field and either jets/bombers flying over the stadium or the bald eagle flying to home plate. With it all wrapped up in one, it makes for such a great experience.
If I couldn’t make it to a game, my routine would be gathering some “baseball” food such as hot dogs, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and a cold beverage to sit down on the couch and watch as many games as possible. ESPN always did a great job of showing multiple games throughout the day. Then the Holy Grail came along in MLB Extra Innings which used to (don’t know if they still do it) give a free preview for a week.
Missing the first pitch of the season is not something I like to do, but sometimes it happens. This year I just arrived back in South Korea and was a little jet lagged still from the 30 hour trip out here. The first game of the year started about 2am here locally, and I was simply unable to stay up and watch it. It was a little frustrating, but it just wasn’t going to happen. It looks like I will miss the Rangers first game as well on Friday because I don’t have internet in my apartment yet. Again, it is a little frustrating but once things get rolling here again I will be able to watch a lot of baseball since the night games back home come on here in the morning before I go to work.
I seem to have little luck in watching my favorite team play on Opening Day, the Atlanta Braves. This year was jet-lag. Last year I was again in South Korea, but I was up and ready to watch the game only to have MLB.tv not work. That was VERY frustrating. I was up early in the morning and the game was not being shown due to technical difficulties. But this wasn’t the only time I had issues. In 2009, I got the chance to go to Atlanta to see the opening game. I couldn’t have been more excited. For the previous 20+ years I had rooted for the Braves good or bad, but it was always from afar. Being able to attend the festivities was going to be amazing for me. The only problem was nobody told mother nature how excited I was.
The game went into a rain delay as it stormed quite hard. The game was halted and my friend and I went home to watch the game on TV only to have the game to go into extra innings. The Braves did win, I did have a good time, but it wasn’t what I had expected for my first Opening Day in Atlanta. I hope to go back one day to see it once again.
Overall, Opening Day is one of the best days for me, but it really is only the beginning of my favorite part of the year – baseball season. After today there is another 182 days of what I like to refer to as “summer greatness”. Then it gets even better with all the greatness that comes with the fall season and the Fall Classic.
So no matter who you root for, today is a day to renew your love of the game, have faith in your team, and have a little hope that your team will see the light of day in October.
I’d love to hear any stories you have of Opening Day’s from the past.