Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Best Day of the Year

Spring Training was fun. It really was. There were a lot of interesting storylines to come out of Bradenton this year from the emergence of Matt Hague and Starling Marte to the struggles of Pedro Alvarez and the injury to AJ Burnett. Still, I couldn't be any happier that it is finally over. Not because I had grown tired of watching exceedingly boring exhibition games but because I simply couldn't wait for today. In about four hours, the Pirates will officially kick off their 2012 baseball season. Maybe it will wonderful and the team will finally kick off decades of stink and "break the streak." Maybe it will be more of the same and the team will be out of contention by May and out of mind by the 4th of July. I could make some predictions about what I think will happen...hell, why not: 87 wins...but it's nothing more than a guess. Even if I'm right on, it won't show that I'm some kind of genius, only that I was lucky enough to guess the right number. However, I love that I don't know! That's part of the beauty of today, anything can happen!

Yes it's a cliche but I'm the one writing this, so deal with it. On Opening day, everybody is 0-0. The Pirates are in first place in the NL Central right now. They have the same record as the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Cardinals. Of course, they're also tied for last place and have the same record as the Astros, Orioles, and Royals but shhh. I love everything about today.

I love the wooden bat HR Derby I have at Mazeroski Field in Oakland. Yes, it's a little league field and the fence is only about 200 feet away but that's kinda the point. If we were playing at a regular sized field, it wouldn't be a home run derby it would be a fly ball to the outfield derby with maybe a home run or two. Plus, there are no other baseball fields within 100 feet of the outfield that Roberto Clemente used to cover.

I love tailgating for the first time. There's something different about tailgating for a baseball game than tailgating for a football game. I can't even really explain it other than to say it's just different.

I love wandering around the stadium looking for my seats even though I know exactly where my seats are. Walking around the stadium is like walking around a park. It's just fun to see all the sights and smell all the smells.

I love that there are 40,000 people there and the overwhelming majority of them are blowing off work or school. There are 162 games for them to watch and to go to but it doesn't matter. This is Opening Day and it's more important than whatever else they had planned today.

I love the view from my seats, the skyline in the background. I love how everybody there holds there collective breath every time there is a fly ball. As the season goes on, it starts to bother me but on Opening Day it's OK.

I love the food there. I'm not talking about the Primanti's stand that only serves 2 different sandwiches. If I wanted Primanti's, I'd go to Primanti's. But the ballpark food? Manny's BBQ, hot dog and peanuts, Dip'n Dots, $8 beers? I love 'em (OK, maybe not the last one).

What do I love the most? That I have to leave...right now...