One of the greatest names – and THE greatest delivery – the game has ever known belonged to Van Lingle Mungo…
It returns on a brisk day, the kind that requires a few extra layers. It’s the kind of day we normally rue and call miserable, but today it’s the most beautiful day ever. Today is rebirth and rejuvenation, summer and Christmas in April. Greatest day of the year.
The grass outside is dead and brown, but inside all will be June-worthy emerald green. The sun glares through an icy sky, the winds whip and summer seems years away. But today summer begins. Today we step off the street, through a turnstile and into a dreamland of warm nights, weekends that seem endless and escapism from the hard facts of life.
Today is Opening Day.
Today is the day that has whispered all throughout the winter. It’s all about bunting and Americana and having the exuberance of a kid again. Great seats! Dog and a beer, and time to break in that new cap. Grab a score card and get inside the game.
The winter of our speculative discontent is over. All the could have and should have trades are done, and the roster is set. Hey, let’s play ball!
Our kid pitcher looked good in spring training, but the first visiting batter looks good too. The mental cat-and-mouse game between pitcher and hitter is on, and we play inside ball in our seats, second guessing, anticipating and discussing with seat mates. This turns to reminiscing and swapping stories, and buying rounds.
We sit in the chill of a brisk April day for a few hours, watching the game of youth and feeling the warm nights so soon to come. We marvel in the beauty of a perfectly executed double-play and a bang-bang out at the plate. We jeer as the opposing pitcher throws to first one too many times, and we talk about the greatest games we ever saw, in these same seats and in other parks. And for a few hours we leave our mundane worlds behind and enter the dreamland.
Today is summer and Christmas, and we are reborn and rejuvenated, despite the sharp April winds and sepia landscape. It’s Opening Day. Greatest day of the year.