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Opening Day Has Arrived

3/31/08

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In this life of ours, there are few certainties we can rely on.

Benjamin Franklin wisely stated that the only two things you can count on it life are death and taxes.

Well Ben was around long before the beautiful game of baseball was invented, because another thing you can count on, when winter fades to spring, is that baseball takes it rightful place atop the sports world.

They call it the National Pastime, while most baseball fans treat Opening Day like a national holiday.

Opening Day is about more than baseball.

It’s about a fresh start.

It’s about putting the past behind us and leaving it there.

It’s about “there’s always next year” being this year.

Of course most of all, it’s about baseball.

The offseason seems as endless as the winter itself, and when February rolls around, the two most popular words a baseball fan will hear are pitchers and catchers.

Spring training begins, with Florida and Arizona the backdrop for our heroes’ return.

In March they get ready, as the season gets closer.

New faces and old, the excitement builds as Opening Day approaches, and those last handful of meaningless exhibition games linger on.

And finally, when you think it’ll never come, those skies look bluer and that grass looks greener.

Something you can’t even describe lifts you up, and reminds you that this year could be your year.

Baseball has returned.

Opening day has arrived.

* * * * *

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From a personal perspective, this Opening Day is somewhat more emotional than ever before.

For both Mets and Yankees fans, 2008 marks the final year of both Shea and Yankee Stadium.

As a Mets fan, I have nothing but the highest regards for Yankee Stadium, as the baseball fan inside of me knows all of the history and the mystique surrounding baseball’s greatest cathedral. It will certainly be missed.

When it comes to Shea Stadium, I can’t think of a place outside my home or a school where I’ve spent more of time growing up.

Serving as my home away home since I was 5, Shea is far more than just a baseball stadium to me.

I fell in love at Shea.

Not with a girl, but with a baseball team.

The Mets have become as big a part of my life as anything else, and while some could argue for all I’ve given they have yet to reciprocate with the taste of a Championship, they have given me something even more valuable.

An escape.

The best part about baseball, aside from winning, is having something that manages to transcend everything else going on in my life.

I’ve dealt with too many ups and downs in my life to count, however throughout all of it, between April and September, I know that at 1, 4 or 7 (10 when they’re on on the West Coast) the Mets will be there, distracting me from whatever it is I need to be distracted from.

Somebody asked me recently what my favorite thing in the world to do is, and after thinking for a second I realized that there isn’t anything which tops sitting in the Mezzanine, Section 5 row G seat 23 and watching a game.

One of the papers asked what aspect of Shea will be most missed, and with choices like the home run apple and the planes flying overhead (which actually will still be flying overhead next year), I immediately said it was just watching the game there.

Shea is without question among the least attractive ballparks in baseball, however for anybody who has been there (and spent as much time there as I have) you just embrace it for what it is.

It may lack the aesthetics of Yankee game or Wrigley Field, and it might not be state of the art like a lot of these other new stadiums going up (and for some reason, the bathrooms remain flooded on Opening day before a single game has been played) BUT…to me, and to Mets fans, Shea Stadium will forever be one thing and one thing only.

The home of the New York Mets.

It too, will be dearly missed.

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March 31, 2008 - Posted by | New York Mets, Sports | , ,

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