And, here we are. The day when hope springs eternal, and dreams of walk-offs at the ball park are so close we can hear the crack of the bat.
It’s Opening Day time.
Ours is a Detroit Tigers house. It’s also a Los Angeles Dodgers house. That’s what happens when you inter-marry. But, that’s OK, my wife and I both have enough cheer and vigor to go around. And, if we have to root for two teams, none better.
The Detroit Tigers; a team steeped in Old English D tradition. There are few things that bring tears to my eyes like a clip from a past Tigers broadcast. Whether it’s one of many Ernie Harwell hum dingers, or recent magical moments, I hear the music and remember the moment and I’m transported. It’s Disneyland for my soul.
As a kid I was all about Alan Trammel, and still relive the moment when Darrell Evans and Larry Herdon hit back to back homers at Tigers Stadium in 1984. As an adult, nothing beats the first time I took Sam to a Tigers game, which happened to be game 4 of the 2006 ALCS. Maggliio Ordonez hit a 3-run walk off homer to send us to the series. Not a bad first game for my wife. She’s been a good luck Tigers charm ever since. The Tigers, and in particular Opening Day, is a holiday unlike any other in Metro Detroit. And I’m thrilled that the party is nearly begun again.
Every time I sit in my seat at a game at Comerica Park I feel the same way; in awe. I’ve attended tons of games. Still feel in awe.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a team rich with MLB history. From east coast to west coast prominence, the Dodgers bridge the history of Brooklyn with the golden shiny new of Los Angeles. It is a cool combination for my wife, who’s family is from Brooklyn and who herself grew up in Los Angeles. I don’t have the childhood memories of the Dodgers, so I can’t wax poetic like she can. But, with one of the oldest ball parks in baseball, and a slew of Pennant and World Series rings, the Dodgers have stature. Any team that has a name derived from a link to trolleys is a team with some gosh darn history.
Like I mentioned, I don’t have the youth or family history with the Dodgers, and it’s been years since I attended a game at Dodger stadium. However, having lived in California for many years in the 90’s, I was lucky enough to sit in the seats at Dodger stadium. And, I must say, few places rival that Dodger scenery. How can any place effectively compete with the topography that is Southern California? If ever you are interested in a dazzling view for a game or a concert, go sit awhile in Dodger Stadium, or at the Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara. Both are spectacular, but only one is home to Dodger Blue.
And, let’s not forget that the Tigers and Dodgers share Kirk Gibson, a Michigan kid filled with piss and vinegar, who will return home in a few years to lead his old team, the Tigers. He’s the same Michigan kid who has one of the most memorable of all baseball moments while in a Dodgers uniform. Ah, the poetry of it all.
Normally, my pre-season blogs are filled with predictions and the reading of some tea leaves. Not this year. Predictions are out the window and I’m more fascinated with watching it all unfold. Even though I’m a rabid football fan, and football brings out the extra crazy in me; there is something special about baseball. I’m sure I said it last year, and I’ll say it again; baseball is magical. It makes a kid out of all of us, and it takes fans on a long and curvy six month journey. It’s a day in and day out grind, for players and fans alike. It takes patience. It takes fortitude. It takes character.
Steroids, addiction, and obscene money aside, baseball is one of the best things going. It’s my power food! It’s an obsession for many. And, it’s still a beautiful national pastime.
The baseball song to end all baseball songs plays throughout my mind from April to October; “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.” And I am. Hope you are, too! Go Tigers, Go Dodgers, and go whatever team you are pulling for (unless they are playing the Tigers or Dodgers)