Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Opening Day

Should it be Opening Days? When was Opening Day this year? There were those strange games down in Australia many days ago and they counted as regular season games. Most of the the rest of the league celebrated Opening Day on Monday, March 31. Except for the Yankees and Astros who had their Opening Day one day later on April 1. I always thought Opening Day should be a national holiday even before Budweiser threw their Clydesdales behind the effort this year. My wife whose baseball IQ doesn't qualify her for an official baseball fan certificate used to celebrate Opening Day at Wrigley Field. Even she realized Opening Day was a sufficient reason to miss a day of high school. On the other hand, I had little reason to celebrate Opening Day this year. Most recent Opening Days would find me blitzed on a marathon session of ESPN televised games. By the end of the day I couldn't tell the difference between Orel Hersheiser and Jon Kruk. This year being the year of "cable freedom" found me, like Israel in the desert, longing for the old days when I was chained to ESPN on Opening Day. The real heartbreak was the Opening Day after Opening Day game when the Yankees were playing in Houston. Nolan Ryan, the president of the Astros, threw out the first wild pitch of the year. Then, Yankee ace, C.C. Sabbathia, was not much better over the first two innings. He gave up home runs to players no one ever heard of. Derek Jeter got plunked on the forearm the first time up after almost a year off because of injuries. Manager Joe Girardi must have wondered if this year was just a replay of the last one. He might have thrown out his flag to have the whole game reviewed. New acquisitions, McCann and Beltran threw errantly and these were the players everyone has heard of (well except for the Cubs fan I live with). The Yankees lost 6-2. Jeter said, well I guess we are not going to be undefeated and Girardi quipped, I figured we would lose at least one game. The real heartbreak was that I was following the action on CBS sports game tracker.  Instead of Miller and Buck, I supplied the play by play as I waited for my slow streaming internet to post the next ball or strike. "Ball in play" would  pop up on the screen and then - wait, wait - until you found out if the ball in play was a hit or an out. Ironically, I was reading Michael Lewis's new book called Flash Boys about high speed internet stock traders in between my slow speed internet pitch by pitch postings.

Opening Days is over for another year. The season has begun. The Astros are undefeated. The Yankees are in last place. Seattle is 2-0 and the Brewer fans are giddy their PED tarnished superstar is back in uniform. It's a new season; the slate is wiped clean, almost.  And I have a lot more games to announce.