Monday, April 3, 2017

Opening Day

It's Opening Day today, a time when, they say, hope springs eternal.

For baseball fans, it's an exciting day. We've waited for this since the last out of the World Series in November, enduring the cold of winter and watching only the endless run of NBA games and the occasional NHL telecast for our sports fix. In late January and February, we watched golf if only to see a hint of the green grass that is the staple of all baseball field summer viewings.

But it's here today. Actually, I am aware that the official Opening Day was yesterday when three games were played. But for the most part today is the day when it really kicks off. And for me, it's the one time of the year that I can say my favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, are tied for first place. Sure, they're 0-0, but so is everyone else.The Twins were also 0-9 before their first win last year. Yes, hope springs eternal for some. For me, hope sprung a leak by about the second week of last season.

That's what gives us that feeling today on Opening Day, though. We're all at the starting gate, each of our teams has a chance. Look at the Cubs' season last year. It took 108 years, but Chicago won the World Series. Of course, the Cubs took a few years to meticulously build the winning team through trades and drafts and a genius general manager in Theo Epstein (I'm reading The Cubs Way about last year's Cubs). But we're hoping our teams also have done the same thing during the off season.

Apparently, everyone does. In 2014, former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith and Budweiser tried to make Opening Day a national holiday and gathered over 102,000 signatures on a petition they sent to the White House. That attempt was denied a few weeks later. But in that denial, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted Opening Day was a “state of mind where anything is possible.”

The Twins open today at home, hosting Kansas City. I've got on my work computer to keep an eye on the score. Ervin Santana will soon throw the first pitch to Alex Gordon and the Twins' season will embark. And I've found some Minnesota FM radio station streaming on line to be able to hear the game.

Within a few weeks, most of us baseball fans will be grounded, realizing our team won't win every game it plays. Being a Twins fan at this time means being excited for a third-place finish out of five teams. But there's always that hope and it begins today.

I think us APBA players get the Opening Day feeling as well whenever we start replaying a full season. There is a replica of the excitement of the actual season, of the voyage we will undertake when beginning a replay. And the same wonderment occurs with the game. Will our team do well in the replay? There's always that chance. Which team will surprise us? Which players will stand out? And, the fun part of APBA... we can have Opening Days any day. I've begun replay seasons in late summer, early spring, winter.

So now, it's the bottom of the fourth inning. Mike Moustakas homered for the Royals in the top of the inning to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead. But, Twins' third baseman Miguel Sano just hit one out and the game is tied, 1-1. The Twins remain tied for first. Hope is still springing.

**NOTE: at 6:03pm, Twins won their Opening Day game for the first time since 2008, beating Kansas City, 7-1. Hope keeps on springing.**

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