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.

8 thoughts on “Opening Day

  1. My dad and I have had season tickets at Iowa football for about 19 years now (front row – 35 yard line). We started going when I was in junior high and whenever I have been living in the area, I’ve gone to virtually every game. It is amazing how much bonding can happen on a three hour car ride each way and a 3 1/2 football game. I think all dads should be required to take their kids to one sporting event a year once they turn 4.

    My wife is due on October 19th’ish. I’ve decided to sell the second half of my season ticket but am going to try to take both of the kids to a game this year.

    Go Hawks! And why not, Go Pirates! (I’m a Cardinals fan so I should be good for a few years without them winning another championship).

  2. Mike – That’s cool about the Iowa tickets. Traditions like that are really important.

    Thanks for the well wishes for the Pirates. I’m sure you will have many years before you ever have to worry about them. I will even cheer for Iowa for you when they aren’t playing Penn State 🙂

  3. My dad and I don’t bond over baseball. That would have been my grandfather and I. I want to take my dad to a boxing match one day though…front row tickets and all that comes with it. 🙂

    And yes, I think it’s ironic that we both wrote about our dads today!

  4. We used to have our seats in the front row behind the visiting team (last year we got switched to nearly identical seats behind the Iowa bench). When Lavar Arrington and Coutney Brown (sorry if I butchered the spellings) were on the team, one of the nobody players was talking trash with my dad and I. We really laid into him and had the rest of the bench cracking up. Lavar Arrington gave us a football (that the stadium nazis later stole back). So, I always have a soft spot in my heart for PSU…except for one weekend a year, of course.

  5. My A’s lost, but I too am happy to have bball back in my life. We don’t have a TV, but do a lot of netflix (and so avoid being sanctimonious non-tvers by watching shows as well as movies), but I most enjoy listening to baseball on the radio, a prominent feature of my childhood summers.

  6. Kaitlyn – Sorry about the A’s. I love listening to baseball on the radio, too. I remember listening to the Pirates on the radio and “keeping score” in my bedroom when I was growing up

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