Major League Baseball Opening Day is Still Cool to Me
It's not the special, unique day it was when I was a kid, but I still always look forward with some excitement for Major League Baseball's opening day.
Sure, it's changed over the years, it used to be the Cincinnati Reds or some old school MLB team would play on one day and then there'd be a slew of games to follow.
I can remember a time where I'd sit in front of a TV at a Sports Bar or in my apartment as a 20+ year old (I'm much older now) and watch games all day long. ESPN would start running games at Noon and they'd go all day--and all night long.
Today (Thursday, March 29th) kicks off yet another season with 13 games beginning at 1pm, the way it should be. Ironically, the Reds, who's fanbase still believes they're the ones who are supposed to kick off the season won't be playing due to bad weather forcing the team to postpone the game a day in advance.
Baseball, for all of its warts--holds a special place in my heart. Yeah, sure, like most kids, I played and was fairly good at it. I was a pretty solid 2B, 3B, OF with some speed and pop in the bat. But I stopped playing at a certain point.
It didn't take away from my appreciation of the most strategic of all games.
Yeah, sure, baseball doesn't have the violence of football or the eye popping athleticism of basketball. It doesn't have the grace of hockey players gliding on the ice or the relentless passing and probing for an opening of soccer. The game combines strategy with execution and sort of start/stop action.
For the longest time, I didn't live in a Major League Baseball town. My job took me to various towns around the Southeast, most of which had Minor League teams which in a certain way was more fun to watch.
But I ended up in Atlanta, the home of my childhood favorites, the Braves. And yeah, the Braves haven't exactly lit it up of late, but for a long, long period of time they were fantastic to watch. Precision, creative but not flashy---the Braves of the 1990's and early 2000's just won.
When not living in Atlanta, I'd make the pilgrimage when I could, often dragging my father, who lived here at the time, with me when I could. He wasn't a huge baseball fan--but appreciated how much I enjoyed watching it. Still to this day--one of my favorite memories is him sitting there perplexed as we watched the Braves play the St. Louis Cardinals one summer night. It was the night Braves pitcher Greg Maddux threw a one-hit shutout and I knew early something special was happening. The Chief (my dad) would look at me with a confused look as I'd get up to get us concessions or go to the bathroom while the Braves hit.
He asked me about it on the way home and I explained to him---"I was watching an artist at work. You do realize how good the pitcher was, right?" Like I said, he wasn't much of a baseball guy, but he got it after the explanation.
That to me is the beauty of baseball. Golf holds a similar stature for many, but it isn't quite as popular. So many guys I know have similar bonding stories with parents over baseball. So many smile when they tell you the stories. It's an experience so many no longer have, a relic of a bygone age....
So if you don't make it appointment TV or to a game, I do understand. But you're missing out. The game isn't the fastest paced 3 hours you'll ever spend, but it will give you a chance to laugh, talk, cheer and enjoy being outside---old school fun in a new school venue.
Try it. Check it out. You might find out its still as fun as it was when you were a kid.....