Monday, April 06, 2009

Opening Day

*** Warning ****

Baseball discussions ahead. Absolutely nothing about family, friends, religion, or politics.... only the important stuff. If you want to see pictures of Piglet, scroll down to the next post. I just put it up today (April 6).

Yep, its that time again. The greatest months of the year are between April and October (sometimes October, according to how the Sox do). And that isn't just because of my birthday, Chrissy's Birthday, Kaitlin's birthday, and my anniversary. Its because April marks the beginning of the greatest sport ever invented.

Opening Day is today. Actually, it started last night with Derek Lowe thoroughly impressing me with 8 innings of shutout baseball, followed by a near collapse by the Braves closer. One prediction for D-Lo. He'll look spectacular at times, but when he pitches bad, he pitches real bad. One of my favorite writers has trademarked "The Derek Lowe Face". Its the face he makes when his game goes down the crapper. Happens every year, at least a few times.

Anyways, opening day is today. I thought about taking the afternoon off to watch the Sox play their first game against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the game got rained out. It seems that most people these days think that football is the best sport. I disagree. I'd much rather veg out in front of a Baseball game than a football game. Here are a few things I love about baseball:

1. The stadiums. No one ever says that they went to a historic football stadium. I've been to Fenway and I felt like I was in a holy place. That is the closest I've ever come to feleing like I was in church without actually being in church. I love the architecture. I love how beautiful the old parks are. Top parks I can't wait to see a game in: Wrigley, Camden, New Citi Bank Field. The one exception is Yankee Stadium. I'm sure the new stadium is great, but the old one was a stink pit. It smelled like urine. I've never felt like I've needed to wash my hands as much as after I left the Stadium.

2. The Sox-Yankees rivalry. People always ask me how someone from Jacksonville who has lived in only 3 states ( Fl, AL, and GA) can be so passionate about Boston. 3 reasons:

The first is I've got a brother-in-law from that area. Being around him kind of got me into it.

The second reason is because of one of the best vacations I've ever taken. When I was in college, me and my Dad decided to take a trip. We bought 2 plane tickets to New Hampshire a rental car for a week, and had a hotel reservations for that first night. From there, we had absolutely no plans and no idea where we were going. We bought a map and started driving. We ended up in Quebec on the first night. It was spring and it was snowing and freaking cold. We then headed east to Maine. Then we had to decide if we were going to go to Nova Scotia or head south down to Boston. If we'd headed to Nova Scotia, maybe I'd never had been such a huge Sox fan, or baseball fan. Maybe instead, I'd liked lobsters or polar bears or whatever there is in Nova Scotia. But we didn't go to Nova Scotia, we headed South into Boston. We went to Harvard. We went to MIT. We went to the Charles river. We took the subway (The T) everywhere we went. Everyone talks about how rude people in the North are, but we didn't experience that at all. People were nice everywhere we went. The last stop in Boston was Fenway (even though the Sox were in Florida for Spring Training). I love the town, therefore I love the team.

The third reason I'm a member of Red Sox Nation is that I hate the Yankees. I do consider them literally evil. I enjoyed reading tonight about how their new 160 million dollar pitcher got shelled by the Orioles and didn't even make it out of the 5th. There is nothing I enjoy more than a Red Sox win other than a Yankees loss. I don't like Aroid. I don't like Jeter. I used to really like Giambi, but then he went to the dark side and so I didn't like him anymore (Now he's back with the A's so I like him again). Did you know the Yankees have a facial hair policy? Its baseball, not the Army.

Our friend Jawan decided to take my picture and make a practical joke out of it. I can take a joke, since she did set the record straight.

3. 162 games. Some people would argue that this is a negative about baseball, but I disagree. I love turning on the TV every night and seeing something about Baseball. There is either a game on, or I get to watch my favorite show, Baseball tonight.

4. Any game can be special. A no hitter. A rookie centerfielder hitting a homer in his first at-bat (Schafer for the Braves did it last night). A 60 year old man, 50 pounds overweight getting ejected for a temper tantrum that would get Piglet a good spanking. You never know what you're going to see.

5. Every at bat is a battle. There is a reason the pitcher is going to throw it inside, or outside. The pitcher has read a scouting report and watched tape on each hitter. The hitters do the same for the pitchers. I love the strategy involved. I heard today that Lou Pinella goes onto the field at Wrigley before home games to check the wind and uses the way the winds blowing to determine that days lineup. Bunting, hit and runs, pinch hitting, going to the bullpen, sabermetrics, pitch counts, unwritten rules, etc....

That is just a few reasons that baseball is awesome to me.

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