Yesterday, we saw at least two dozen Robins over at the high school while we were walking around the track. They looked beautiful and sounded sweet. It felt like spring. We’ve also begun to see the Phoebes flitting from wires to posts to tree branches with their distinctive tail bob. They also make us feel as if spring is here. But nothing confirms the arrival of spring in Red Sox Nation like Baseball’s Opening Day! Tomorrow, the Red Sox are opening in Kansas City against the Royals in their home opener. Friday, they will play the Texas Rangers in Arlington in their home opener. Finally, next Tuesday the 10th, the Red Sox will face off against the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park in our own home opener! We’ll have to wait until Friday, April 20th for the last, big, unofficial kick-off to the season, when the Red Sox face their arch rivals the New York Yankees for the first time in 2007. But we do it at home, making it all the better!
Despite my grandfather, my mother’s dad, having played baseball in the early part of the last century, I didn’t grow up as an avid baseball fan. My Dad didn’t follow baseball. He enjoyed watching hockey and football. My favorite sport to play in high school was Team Handball - not exactly the world’s most popular sport! But I loved the strategy coupled with sheer strength and power needed to make a play to score a goal. At one point, during a gym class, we played “girls against the boys”. I can still remember the thrill of sending the ball so forcefully into the net, that the male goalie ducked instead of blocking! And he was a football player!
It wasn’t until Chuck and I got together that I started watching Red Sox baseball regularly. The more I learned, the more interesting it became and the more I wanted to watch. Gradually, I fell in love with the team camaraderie, the quirks of individual players, the history, the announcers play by play and color commentary, the Red Sox fans, and the grace, pace and elegance of the game itself. As I’ve said before, I don’t memorize the vast quantities of exhaustively (dare I say excruciatingly?) detailed statistics that some people relish. God bless ‘em, but that’s not where the fun lies for me. And the nice thing about baseball is that there’s room for everybody, at all levels of interest, under the tent. Well, unless you think it’s O.K. to leave the park in the 8th inning to try to beat the traffic. I can’t remember if it’s venial or mortal, but it’s definitely a sin! Wait a minute. I know. If the Red Sox are behind in the 8th and you still leave to beat traffic, that’s definitely a mortal sin! So sit down, park it and lock it, and let’s play ball!!!