Opening Day is special to everyone for different reasons. For some people it may trigger memories of attending previous Opening Day games. For people in St. Louis, I’m sure they’ll fondly remember running all over Jon Lester on primetime Sunday Night Baseball back in 2015. But for me, all it means is that America’s Pastime is finally back!
This year, baseball has crawled back into our lives and onto our televisions earlier than normal, with this season being the earliest Opening Day in MLB history. In addition to the early start it looks like Major League Baseball has finally figured it out, having all 30 teams starting on the same day. In previous years, it’s been so weird watching a team play on Opening Day and then have an off day immediately after. Also, as a central Illinois native and Chicago White Sox fan, it was the biggest bummer in the world to be left out of the hype of all the Opening “Night” festivities, along with 24 other fan bases. And since I’m piling on, you probably would’ve seen the Astros vs. the Rangers on ESPN that first night. Yuck. From both a business standpoint and a fan perspective, this way certainly makes more sense.
Opening Day is also special because of the national buzz that surrounds it. It’s one of only a few times throughout the season where the entire country cares. With a 162-game season, I am of the belief that there is an oversaturation problem in the MLB. Even the most hardcore fans would be hard pressed to watch every game. Additionally, most of the matchups are meaningless by the time September rolls around. I mean they have September call-ups for god’s sake, where they literally bend the rules so you can call up minor leaguers to play in those games. Of course it’s awesome when a wild card spot or division title comes down to the final days of the season, but the same thing could probably be accomplished if you whittled the season down by even a quarter. That’s why I absolutely savor moments like Opening Day. It grips the nation, and even though there’s 161 games left to play, if you win on Opening Day there’s a sense of optimism. As a White Sox fan, that optimism usually stays with you until you proceed to lose seven of your next ten.
Regardless of the team you root for, or however bleak your season looks (Marlins), Opening Day is something all of America can get behind. Because there truly aren’t many feelings in the modern world as good as sitting down at the ball park with a hot dog, sunflower seeds, and some Big League Chew watching Mike Trout hit bombs off your best pitcher.