posted by Matt W on April 3rd, 2013

Opening Day.

Sandy Koufax.

As the late, great, Mariner announcer Dave Neihaus used to say, “My Oh My.”

Yesterday was opening day for my beloved Seattle Mariners and while I was searching for game stats the headline that caught my eye was that Sandy Koufax threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. I would have liked to have been there for that. Sandy Koufax retired from baseball before I played my first Little League game, but the thought of seeing this 77 year old man throw a pitch sent a chill down my spine. Baseball just does that to me.

There are many things my children have learned throughout the course of their young lives, and while they would probably disagree, I think my wife and I have been pretty open minded. The one absolute is the Seattle Mariners are “our” favorite baseball team. No exceptions. If my children happen to move to a new city as adults, go to their new “home” team’s games religiously for at least a decade, can pull random stats out of their heads about this team’s players like I can about the Mariners, and don’t ever root against the Mariners, I might allow them in my house for Thanksgiving as supporters of a different team, but I really don’t see that happening. By the way, if they happen to end up in New York, I don’t care how long they live there, Yankee fans aren’t allowed in my house. My sons have been on little league teams called the “California Angels” and the “Texas Rangers” and I literally had a hard time rooting for them because both of those teams suck. I’m a Mariner fan.

But more importantly I’m a baseball fan. I received a text from my good friend the other day. He was wondering if it was irrational to feel so good about his team’s chances this year, when they are not expected to do well. I replied “If you don’t get a little irrational with hope during spring training, you aren’t human.” Monte D. holds a special place in my life because not only is he just a good buddy, but he is my baseball friend. If I happened to throw out the numbers 360 and 418 (lifetime on base percentages of Kirby Puckett and Edgar Martinez, by the way), he would instantly know what I was referring to, call me a bastard and then add ” Hall of Fame” and as Edgar hasn’t made the Hall yet, I would then have to shut up. We’re baseball fans. He once took a picture of me flipping off an entire section of Red Sox fans at Fenway because, well, they were Red Sox fans and they were playing my Mariners. And he bought the Red Sox fans next to me beers, so I wouldn’t get beat up. We’re baseball fans. Every major baseball headline is a good reason to give each other a call. He’s a Twinkie fan, but I forgive him, because he is a true baseball fan (by the way, Twinkie is a derogatory term for a Minnesota Twins fans to baseball fans, not an ex-Hostess cake product).

Baseball used to hold a mythical place in American life. It’s slower pace, and subtle nuances are now lost on most people in these fast paced days. But Opening Day of the baseball season is still an optimistic time even for the casual fan. For true fans, it’s better than Christmas morning. It is the one day of the year where everybody thinks this could be their team’s year (my god if the Mets could win it in 1969…). It is a day we remember our baseball hero’s like Sandy Koufax (Seriously, I would have really liked to have been there). It is a day as a true Mariner fan I remember Dave Niehaus’ incredible calls over the radio (My Oh My). And as the Seattle Mariners won opening night against the Oakland A’s, it is a time when I can honestly say they are currently the frontrunners for the World Series (This is the year, I can feel it)! I love baseball.

Go M’s!

File Under Weekend Warrior