The day you have been waiting for since the World Series ended back in October is finally here. It is the day that even adults can act like little kids on Christmas. It is our National Pastime’s unofficial holiday. It is the day where it is finally acceptable to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” again. It is the day where hope reigns supreme for every team. It is the day where more students and office employees have doctor appointments than any other day of the year. It is… Opening Day.
The great thing about Opening Day is that it isn’t just for kids. Opening Day is something where every baseball fan, young and old, can come together and appreciate the great game of baseball. On Opening Day, every team believes they have a chance and that just adds to the excitement.
If you are lucky enough to be going to an Opening Day game, when you finally walk through those front gates of the ballpark, take a second to take it all in again. Smell the peanuts and cracker jacks, look at all of the bunting that is hung around the ballpark, and feel the energy that surrounds the first of 162 games your favorite team will play this season.
The game itself is just any other game, but the tradition, hoopla, and excitement surrounding Opening Day around baseball is unlike any other sport. The NBA, NFL, and NHL all try to make a big deal out of the first game of the season, but it just isn’t the same as in baseball. There isn’t just one certain thing you can point to and say “this is why Opening Day is special;” it just doesn’t work that way.
As a kid growing up in Seattle, I went to multiple Opening Day games at Safeco Field. To get out of school, you can’t just say that you’re going to a baseball game. Everyone uses the “doctor appointment” excuse to get out of school one time or another, but for Opening Day, this excuse just has so much more attached to it. (If you are a kid that got taken out of school for this, you know what I mean.)
One of the great things about Opening Day is that it is a game that finally counts. By the end of Spring Training, you are sick and tired of the scorching heat and the long days, but once you get back home and you actually are playing for something that counts, you appreciate this game even more.
“An Opener is not like any other game. There’s that little extra excitement, a faster beating of the heart. … You know that when you win the first one, you can’t lose ’em all.” – Early Winn
One of my favorite parts of the whole experience is the player introductions. They all line the base paths, the National Anthem is sung and if you are lucky enough, you will get a flyover as well. That right there is the moment that it hits me that baseball is back and all is right in the world for at least those three hours.
The late, great Joe DiMaggio summed up Opening Day perfectly with this quote.
“You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.”
Opening Day is so special and is truly unlike anything else in sports. Cherish these moments because you only get it once per year. Enjoy your Opening Day 2015 as we welcome back our National Pastime… Baseball!