Opening Day is more than just the first day of baseball. Even though we're just two days away from the first pitch of the 2016 Yankees season, I've been thinking a lot this winter about how baseball shapes our lives, shapes the way we crystallize memories about ourselves and our loved ones for years to come. If you're a baseball fan, you know what I'm talking about.
From November to April, there are obviously holidays. You spend time with your family, your friends, and you cherish the times you spend together. The difference between the winter holidays and baseball, though, is the idea of normalcy. Holidays, albeit "arbitrary" in that we choose a day for them, are special. They represent a religious purpose, something to commemorate, or a symbolic moment of reflection. Everyone is off from work, we cook a special meal, and there is something certainly special about all aspects of that day.
Baseball, on the other hand, is not special. It's mundane. It's, for example, the random Wednesday afternoon in July where you get a couple of tickets and spend a day at the ballpark with your brother, eat a couple of hot dogs, talk, and watch a ballgame. It's not going to go down in history as the greatest day ever, but it's going to stick somewhere in the back of your head.
It's easy to remember Christmas one year or another, but it's a whole other thing to remember that random Wednesday, or that one time you went with a friend or a significant other. Baseball thrives on forcing us to reflect on and to remember the mundane, lazy afternoons and evenings. It reminds us that our lives aren't about the highlights or the big moments--no, life is about those momentary pauses, most likely the times when we're most relaxed, and sometimes the most vulnerable.
So when I say that I'm excited for baseball to start, I'm excited for that to start. I'm excited for an excuse to remember an otherwise normal day. For this post, I think it would be interesting for all of us to reflect on our favorite Opening Day memories.
Here's mine, even though it isn't technically Opening Day: it was the Yankees' home opener in 2003, and at the time I was in third grade. I was let out of school just after the game started and I immediately turned the television on after getting home. At that time YES Network was only available via a cable box, so we had one box on our basement television so I could watch. It also happened to be Hideki Matsui's first game at Yankee Stadium, and I was especially excited. This guy was beloved in Japan and even though I knew nothing about prospects at this age, I was really intrigued to see him in pinstripes. And voila, he did this:
My basement is in kind of a circular shape that revolves around a staircase, and when I saw the ball sailing into the seats, I literally ran in that circle as fast as I could yelling, "GODZILLA!" It was a cool memory because it was one of my first years as a Yankees fan, and I still have never been to an Opening Day game. It was the closest I ever got to feeling that kind of giddy excitement that you'd get at the ballpark Opening Day, which is basically what being a kid and a baseball fan is like.
So, what's your favorite Opening Day memory? It could be a memory of Opening Day itself or maybe a home opener, but we'd love you to share. Any game that makes you remember a random weekday, as I've said, is pretty special in my mind.