Today is opening day of the 2015 Major League Baseball season. I know there was a game last night, but today is the real opening day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year. Baseball is back and that makes everything better. There are so many things to like about opening day, that it’s hard to know where to start.
Most people talk about the promise and hope at the beginning of the baseball season. Everyone is tied for first place and everyone has a real shot. I tend to think this gets overplayed. I’ve been a Red Sox fan my whole life. I remember years where they had no shot and I knew that on opening day. That didn’t make the day less special. I think baseball writers are too worried about winning and losing. Of course it is better when your team is winning, but there are so many other reasons to watch.
One thing I love about the beginning of the season is the small sample size statistics. Right now, Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez are on pace to each hit 324 home runs this year. That would be the first time teammates have combined for 648 home runs in a season. I know it’s unlikely, but it’s still fun to think about. And I like seeing guys are hitting .750 and .125 in the same lineup.
Another thing I love is getting to know the new teams. I always root for the Sox, but the team is never the same from year to year. Even when I knew players while they were on other teams, I still get to know them more intimately when they join my team and that’s a fun experience.
I also love the fact that baseball is the only one of the big American sports where the players try their best every game. It doesn’t matter if it is April or October, if the team is in first place or last place, there is a chance of seeing something special. In football, there are always games where they are resting players. In basketball and hockey, so many teams make the playoffs that they don’t seem to care during the regular season (and let’s not even get into tanking to get a better draft spot). Not baseball, though. You could see a no hitter or a cycle in any game on any day. You can see an amazing play at any time. You can’t watch on opening day and think, “this game doesn’t matter,” because it certainly matters to the players and will matter in the standings in six months.
Then there’s the fact that baseball lends its rhythm to life in general. There’s the box scores in the morning, the games in the evening and the highlights before bed. It’s comforting as well as entertaining.
Finally, there are the broadcasts themselves. For me, Don, Jerry, Joe and Dave are like old friends. Even though I haven’t heard them in six months, it feels like we picked back up right where we left off. It doesn’t matter if my team is winning or losing as long as my friends are there. It actually makes me a little sad that not all fans get the pleasure of listening to good announcers. I suppose there are only so many Vin Scully’s to go around, but can you imagine being a New York fan? Aside from the black pit where your soul is supposed to be, you’re stuck listening to Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling every night. I’m just glad I watch a good team with good announcers and we have all summer to chat about baseball.
This was a good opening day. My only complaint is the games started while I was still at work. But, I got to watch baseball, so all is right with the world.