Thursday, April 7, is the American national holiday known as Major League Baseball’s opening day.
Opening day is both a religious and patriotic American holiday. Let’s face it, even God is a baseball fan. You don’t believe me? Here’s the proof. When the baseball season begins, the days get longer, the temperature warms, flowers bloom, and trees turn green. If that is not a message from our maker, I don’t know what is.
Remember what God himself said in the movie “Oh God!?”
I don’t do miracles. They are too flashy. They upset the natural balance. Oh, maybe now and then, just to keep my hand in. The last miracle I did was the 1969 Mets. Before that, I think you have to go back to the Red Sea.
If you don’t want to believe what George Burns said when playing the role of God…Just look at the first words of the Bible—Chapter one, verse one of Genesis. The very first words of the bible mentions baseball. It says, “In The Big Inning.”
Baseball is America’s game. It is the sport that most closely reflects the American Dream. It’s about how freedom gives every American the opportunity for prosperity and success, no matter where they started.
We dream that our family and children will be better off than we were as long as they work hard. That is also the dream of baseball, especially on opening day. What the team did last year gets thrown out, and players who work hard can go from bust to boom.
Teams can go from lousy one year and make the World Series the next. Heck. Like the 1969 NY Mets, teams can go from awful to World Champions in the same season (but that takes some extra help from above).
Opening Day is the most optimistic of days because every team is tied for first place before the first pitch is thrown. And we believe that every untested rookie has the opportunity to be a Hall-Of-Famer or at the very least better than the veterans who were on the team before them.
Baseball is a game most of us played growing up. Sure we played football also, but when you watch the NFL on TV, most of the players seem like they are seven feet tall, four hundred pounds, and could crush a car with one hand. If we found ourselves in the middle of an NFL game, most of us would receive major (if not fatal) injuries. Baseball players seem like “regular guys.” While watching an MLB game, many fans believe that they could play on the professional level given a few months to train.
This is a sport of individuality. Sure, football and basketball have individual stars, but those stars are more dependent on team play. An excellent quarterback performance can be ruined by a lousy offensive line, a lousy defense, or because he plays for the NY Jets. But a great hitter on a tear can carry a team for weeks, and so can a great pitcher or two. A hot player’s effect on the rest of their team is more significant than other sports.
While there are “team plays” such as shifts, hit and runs double steals, etc., when it comes right down to it, most of the time, baseball is a battle between one pitcher and a single hitter.
And just like any little American kid can become president, any MLB player can be a hero. How many “non-stars” have delivered the game-winning hit or gotten hot during the playoffs or World Series. That is the dream of America’s game. It’s the every-man game. Many pitching superstars have never thrown a no-hitter, but many mediocre players have. Johnny Vander Meer is the only player in history to pitch no-hitters in consecutive starts, but looking at his entire career lost a few more games than he won (W/L: 119-121).
Baseball is a game of patience and balance. Taking the first pitch, don’t be too aggressive at the plate and swing at bad pitches, a pitcher setting up a hitter, corner infielders playing closer to the line, the catcher framing the pitch, etc., more than on any other sport, this is a thinking person’s game.
Baseball is a crucial way to learn about the truthfulness of political candidates. For example, it was one of the things that exposed Hillary as a fraud. She was a loyal Chicago Cubs fan until she decided to run for the NY Senate seat. Then she started saying she was a NY Yankees fan.
This was is a major flip flop. If you are a fan of one team that lasts for your entire life, you don’t change unless the team moves. There are still people who grew up as Brooklyn Dodgers fans who will never utter the Los Angeles team’s name. (except when the team’s name is preceded by a curse word).
Even though “dem Bums” left Brooklyn in 1957, many baseball fans who grew up saying, “wait till next year,” still have voodoo dolls representing former Dodger owner Walter O’Malley. He’s the man who abandoned his fans and moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Some also curse Robert Moses, the former NY City planning commissioner. Moses fought against the Dodgers when they wanted to build a new stadium in Brooklyn; He wanted them to move to Flushing (which eventually became the home of the Mets).
When your favorite team moves, the fandom bond is broken, and you are free to pick another team. But only a liberal flip-flopper would do it for political reasons.
Opening day of the greatest sport ever created by man should be a federal holiday—banks closed, no mail, and days off for everyone to go to the stadium of their choice or watch it on TV.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson described the MLB opener as a day where all teams are created equal. They are endowed by their general manager with life in the big leagues, liberty to make good plays, and the pursuit of the happiness of winning the World Series,
Growing up in the United States, teachers told us that there are four seasons; Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring. But those teachers lied. There are only two seasons in America– baseball and the rest of the year.
Tomorrow, opening day, my team will be playing away at Washington. But being a proud American, I will be watching the game on TV while drinking a beer and eating a hot dog. During the seventh-inning stretch, I will stand up and do the wave (alone) while snacking on a box of Cracker Jacks.
Enjoy Thursday’s national holiday, and may your team do well (but not as well as my NY Mets).