Time Begins on Opening Day is the title of a book by Thomas Boswell (see previous) and pretty much sums up my attitude toward baseball and life. There’s something comforting about the daily rhythm of baseball that is comforting. Even if I’m not watching a game on a particular day, I’ll pass a tv showing one in a pizza parlor, hear the radio broadcast from a passing car, and hear people discussing stats on the subway. If I want to divert myself with a couple of hours of baseball, I never have to wait a week or two to see a game during the baseball season. Those five months from November to March, of course, are nearly intolerable. So Opening Day is a joyous holiday for me in which life as it should be – for the most part – is restored.
Time began for me on March 31st when Johann Santana took the mound for the Mets in Florida, and lead the team to a 7-2 win. I started the season on the DL myself, laid up with a slipped disc and sciatica so I really haven’t been able to write about it until now. Of course, regular season baseball started even earlier with the Red Sox and A’s series in Japan. Such events are old hat to Mets fans who saw the first MLB game in Japan versus the Cubs in 2000. That Opening Day is memorable for the game winning homer by one of my all-time favorite Mets, Benny Agbayani. Incidentally, the Mets played the first MLB game in Mexico too versus the Padres and were the first opponent for Canada’s first MLB team the Expos in 1969.
My favorite Opening Day was April 9, 1985. That was the day I became a baseball fan. Previous to that date, I claimed to be a Mets fan and even avidly collected baseball cards, but I never really watched baseball. While they were able to play baseball in Queens, it was a rainy day in Connecticut so we had indoor recess. Some of the boys found a tv an tuned-in to the game, and for the first time I found myself watching, and asking questions about the game of the other boys. I was extremely unpopular so the fact that the other boys were even talking to me felt good, but better yet, I was enjoying an exciting game. After school, I rushed home and flipped on the tv and caught the finale. The Mets won on an extra-inning home run by their new catcher Gary Carter. I was so hooked I watched the replays and Kiner’s Korner, and pretty much every game for the rest of the season. I don’t think I’ve watched so many games since.
I heard this poem on Writer’s Almanac this morning and thought it appropos to this post:
Poem: “Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God” by Philip E. Burnham, Jr. from Housekeeping: Poems Out of the Ordinary.
Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God
And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all of creation:
Here also are my Predictions for how I believe this Major League Baseball Season will finish. Don’t go to Vegas with these picks, I’m usually wrong.
Los Angeles of Anaheim
Philadelphia over Los Angeles
New York over Milwaukee
Boston over Cleveland
Detroit over Los Angeles
New York over Philadelphia
Detroit over Boston
Detroit over New York