Yesterday was Opening Day in Baltimore.
For those of you that haven't experienced an Opening Day--my life has been blessed with attending all but a tiny handful of Opening Days in Detroit and Baltimore--it is the greatest day of the year, without exception. Sure, individual events may surpass it--a particularly important sports game or championship; a wonderful trip or night out; that one time when you found that nice sweatshirt that you thought you lost, but there is was in some bag that you hadn't used in over a year, and then found $20 in the pocket--but there is no other day of the year that will be as reliably spectacular as Opening Day.
It has everything. The start of baseball season. The beginning of spring. Hot Dogs. Time with your family and friends before, during and after the game. Sure, sometimes it may be really damn cold, or raining or blustery, but with every Opening Day comes a duplicitous sense of hope.
This is the year my team can do it.
Winter's death grip shall finally be released.
When you grow up in a place like Michigan, that second point can't be understated.
So yeah, I treat Opening Day as a holiday, a proud family tradition dating back to my grandpa taking my mom and her brothers to Opening Day at Tiger Stadium. Every year he would tell the stories about how he would call in to their school and inform the receptionist that they wouldn't be coming in today. "They have a previous engagement."
Now I'm lucky enough to work for a company that literally shuts down to go to Opening Day. So just imagine my joy when I learned that my team--The Tigers--were going to be in Baltimore for the Orioles' Opening Day. Oh, there was joy.
But I was wrong. It was wrong.
Opposing fans should not be allowed at Opening Day. They should be banned. Removed at the gate. Stricken from the crowds.
I say this not because opposing fans are obnoxious, or rude or even a distraction to the home fans--I saw very few Tigers fans today and of those that I did see before, during and after the game they were non-entities. No. I say this because it simply shouldn't be. Opening Day is a sacred event. To not root for the home team is sacrelige. Hell, it's in the damn defining song about baseball, the entire lyrics of which are basically a narrative of opening day. Root, root, root for the Home Team
So here I was, watching my favorite team play on Opening Day in one of my favorite ballparks, and from time to time I couldn't help but think I shouldn't be here. Or, more specifically, if I'm going to be here I should be rooting for the Orioles. I have never felt that before, and I have been to many games in many sports as an opposing fan.
Was Opening Day a loss? A bust? No, of course not. It was Opening Day, and I love Opening Day. But this one was different. I was an intruder who somehow managed to slip through the cracks.
That's why I'm so excited to go back tomorrow. With Opening Day over, the baseball season can begin. Go Tigers.
*Full credit to my lovely wife and actual reader of ASFTINDA for suggesting a title vastly superior to whatever it was I had originally named this post, which I literally forgot the moment I heard her suggestion because it erased everything else from my mind with its superiority. Also, this post was in no way meant to evoke David Foster Wallace, or be written in the style of DFW or anything. I haven't read his stuff and despite wanting to, a full life with classes and lack of a kindle or similar doesn't make lugging around a 1400 page copy of Infinite Jest seem imminent.