There’s nothing like it. I almost took today off from work but decided it was better to torture myself for eight hours behind my desk. The anticipation cannot be quenched, even given the horrendous week we had to slug through before today, a week that saw our owner continue to basically goad fans into boycotting the product he has charged others with putting forth before we, unfortunately, had to witness the star player the PR-hating owner told us to “enjoy” get hurt AGAIN. None of those off-kilter instances, not the offseason of cutting payroll, trade rumors involving aces that never came to fruition, free agent relievers and outfielders that would have improved a World Series roster going elsewhere….none of that can keep me from almost vibrating out of my chair today. I’m of course talking about Opening Day, the best day of all the days.
What makes today so great? Starting today we have an almost never-ending marathon, a 162-game slog that will see hopes dashed and fulfilled, divisions clinched and lost, records broken, pennants won, a champion crowned, memories made, and we get to see the beginning today. There is poetry to the moment: the moments walking up the stairs to get to the diving board, or pull the strap down on the roller coaster safety bar and snap it into place, or shove the key into the ignition of your first car. You have an idea of where you’re going, you know there will be twists, you know there will be times where you wish you did something else with your time, but in the end, you know it will be worth all the stomach twisting throughout the journey.
Baseball has long been my rock. I’ve written in the past about how last year seemed to put me in autopilot, as the Indians coasted to another division crown, but there’s nothing like Opening Day to renew your spirit. I’ve been an Indians fan for a long time, almost feels like since birth, and I have the pictures to prove it. Here I am, not much older than my daughter is now,1 with my Grandpa at the old Municipal Stadium. I was recently given the pair of binoculars he would use to see the game from my aunt, which seems fitting; he never wanted to miss a play.
My Grandpa Gerberry, who I was named after, loved baseball, loved watching the game on the TV and listening to Tom Hamilton on the radio. Sure, the radio would inform us of the result of the pitch before we could see it with our eyes, but I didn’t care so much because I got to experience it with my best friend. I’m not sure of his historical favorite, my dad would know, but in my timeline, he loved Manny Ramirez. His ability to put bat to ball was almost legendary and the year grandpa passed away was the year Manny had his highest home run total. He wore number 24, something I symbolically put weight on and carried that weight over to the next 24: Grady Sizemore. I still have a Sizemore shirsey purchased for me by my other grandpa, which seemingly and spiritually closed the circle. So when you try to tell me that baseball is dying, or try to convince me to not go to games in defiance of our owner…I can’t. It’s in my blood, and that’s where I want it to stay.
While I attempt to wipe the dust that somehow happened to attack my eyes, I want to drive your attention to what we have put forth at WFNY in preparation for today. We have had a fantastic preview series covering a wide range of topics. I will forever be impressed and thankful for the work we do here at WFNY, and you should be too. So here are some links to previous previews: Welcome home Carlos – Everyone should be rooting for Leonys Martin – Will Jake Bauers make us forget Yandy Diaz? – Who’s replacing Yan Gomes? – Too many outfielders? – Ten questions that need to be answered – Who’s in the bullpen? – Jose Ramirez is an assassin – Opening Day Eve
Rant of the (Every Other) Week
WHY DO YOU HATE US GOD?!
Lindor suffers setback, sprains ankle in workout https://t.co/gMqaXDunyS
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 27, 2019