Opening Day

As you may or may not know, yesterday was opening day for most teams in Major League Baseball. Yep, this post is going to be about baseball, but bear with me because I hope it will be about more than that.

Opening Day is usually an exciting time for me, a day I anticipate for weeks, reading as many articles I can about the Pittsburgh Pirates chances for the year. This year was different. I’m not sure if it was because of the little one in the house (everything is just less important compared to her), or the Penguins excellent season (they will be in the playoffs for the first time since 2001), or just because the Pirates have been so dreadful for the past 14 years. Leading up to the big day, my Dad and I talked a few times about the upcoming season, and I just couldn’t muster up a lot of hope, which is sad because I used to be the optimistic one. I guess that’s what 14 losing seasons will do to you.

My Dad and I have always been close, and a good part of that has to do with baseball. Now I know that there are many things more important in the world than sports, but I do think they can bring us together. Baseball has always been something we have had in common, from him coaching my little league team, to us collecting baseball cards together, to us attending one playoff game a year for each of the years the Pirates made it (1990, 1991, 1992), driving four hours on a school night just to cheer on our team. I remember the one year we were at a playoff game, and our seats were something like two rows from the top of the upper deck in cavernous Three Rivers Stadium, almost directly behind home plate. When the ball was hit, you couldn’t tell whether it was a foul ball or a home run. Those seats were terrible, but we had a great time.

Three Rivers Stadium as seen from the Upper Deck (look how small the players are)

Even today, we often have a game of catch. Picture the scene in Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner gets to play catch with his father, except my Dad isn’t a ghost, we play catch on the road instead of on a baseball field, and we live in rural Pennsylvania instead of rural Kansas. Other than that, exactly the same.

Anyhow, I got home from work yesterday, thoughts of opening day were in the back of my mind. First, though, we had to do the usual baby dance: feed the baby, make our dinner, change the baby’s diaper, play with the baby (the best part), bath the baby, and finally put the baby to bed at 8:30 (hopefully). The game started at 7:00, so I only caught glimpses of the beginning. Fast forward to the top of the ninth inning, two outs, and the Pirates down by a run. One more out, and they would lose the first game of the season, as they often do. Except this time, amazingly, the Pirates Xavier Nady hit a home run, tying the game, which eventually went to extra-innings.

In the tenth inning, the Pirates remarkably got another home run to take a two run lead. At this point, I called my Dad, who I knew would be watching the game. We talked about how great it was the Pirates could actually win a game and he told me he had been going through some of our old baseball cards and how I did a great job organizing all of them. Man I wish I had the kind of free time to be able to sort through my cards, as I did growing up.

Anyhow, it was nice to be able to watch baseball again (a sign summer is on the way), and especially nice to be able to call my Dad and talk about a Pirate win. Hopefully they can win again tonight. Stranger things have happened.