Opening day is pretty much my favorite day of the year. I don't care about my birthday, because whatever it's just a day I was born. We all had to be born someday. The other holidays are great but tainted in one way or another, via people trying to sell you a million things, unwanted conversations with annoying family members, etc. Not to say that you can't enjoy them, but they aren't Opening Day.
I recently learned that Budweiser petitioned the president to consider making MLB Opening Day an official holiday. At first I thought it was a fine idea. Why not? It's not like I get anything done anyway.
However, upon reflection I've decided that this would be a tragic idea. Aside from the fact that the government would be subsidizing multi-billion dollar businesses (MLB and beer companies) with their own dedicated holiday, they would be taking something that's ours.
For me, baseball is life, but for most everyone I know it falls somewhere on the scale of relevance between the latest celebrity baby bump and the food picture they are about to take with their lunch today. I imagine this is the case with most of us ANers. We care more, we want it more, and Opening Day should be just for us.
Typically, Opening Day starts with me figuring out a plan to leave work early. Like preferably 3 hours earlier than I usually leave. As I said, they don't typically understand how important this is to us, so typically arriving at work decked out in A's gear and announcing your need to tailgate is not an option. If anything, they might be aware that the Giants are playing a game today, but the significance of that game (it's OPENING DAY!) is lost on them. Given this, avoiding any discussion about the existence of the A's is paramount. They don't know and don't care; It will only serve to delay, frustrate, and potentially ruin any chance of pre-game tailgating. No, it's better to just get out while the gettin's good. We have been racking our collective brains to construct optimal 25 man and 40 man rosters for four months and there is no way we can possibly relate to these people at this most crucial moment.
Anyway, back to the plan. The plan may or may not involve scheduling a meeting a few BART stops from the Coliseum for the sole purpose of having cover to leave work at 2 and not having to come back. Sometimes just walking out and not saying anything is an effective method. The important thing is you have everything packed and ready, because like Billy Beane when a player is tossed to the scrap heap, you need to be ready and available if an opportunity presents itself to pounce and not look back.
It's not like you were doing any work anyway. You were reading this and 17 other sites, you were listening to 10 other games on the radio, and you were refreshing weather updates from multiple sources. Plus, it's impossible to focus on anything even if you try.
This indescribable feeling that's occupying all our physical and mental capacity is something that only we know. The anticipation, excitement, culmination of an offseason, family reunion, and return to our home away from home fills us up with warmth. We get to the parking lot and we see old friends. We get to our seats, maybe with someone we haven't spent much of the winter months with, and everything fits like an old glove. It's as if we never left, because we know we will be back there again and again and again and it is going to be awesome.
We may kick it off with a ceremonial 40 oz. in the parking lot, or getting into the Coliseum when gates open just to take in the sights and sounds and try the latest artery-clogging food options. I like to grab some brews and walk around the parking lot to take in the scene before traipsing in just before lineups and the national anthem. Whatever we do, we have a great time. We do this despite having lost the last nine (9!!!!) openers. Win or lose, we still have great memories from some of these openers.
In the game that started off so promisingly (Josh Willingham just took King Felix deep! This could be our year!) Koooouuuzzz notched 3 errors (at least they should have been errors). But I still remember that game fondly, because a guy was walking by our seats in the front row of the upper deck, carrying nachos loaded with the works and a couple of beers. His phone rang, he answered it, dropped everything (nachos, beer, whatever else he held) right in front of us. What really set us off though was the first words he said into the phone. "Why'd you call me right now, you knew I was carrying the food!" Heh, serves you right for answering your phone. At that point we couldn't stop laughing, and Kouz' errors were a distant memory. As an added benefit, by the middle of the game that mess congealed with our peanut shells and sunflower seeds into some rank pile of grossness that successfully stopped people from walking in front of us the rest of the game.
Overall, our great memories are of the seasons that unfold from that opener, and how we want to be there to kick it off. Whether in the stadium, or thousands of miles away following on AN, TV, and radio, we don't want to miss it because we know something special can start here. It's good to get back in the routine and get going again; life is starting to regain its optimal balance.
This year Mother Nature is taking away much of the pregame festivities, but not dampening our spirits. We will brave the elements to sit outside in wet weather in a clunky old building overflowing with sewage and we would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. We'll wait for hours, and by the end we'll have a unique story to tell regardless of the outcome.
As I write this, I get an email asking me to get something done and to schedule a call this afternoon. Seriously. Now tell me, is there any point in sharing this day with any of them?