I love Opening Day, one of the surefire signs that Spring and Summer will eventually arrive here in New England. Seems appropriate to blog about it, no?
Alas, I must have Opening Day jitters. I can only think in clichés when it comes to “America’s Favorite Pastime.”
You see, here in the United States, baseball is like a religion. Opening Day is a “High Holy Day“. We all “root for our home team”. Baseball is woven into the fabric of society, like apple pie and ice cream. Our kids start playing T-ball in preschool.
When we think of Opening Day, we can hear the crack of the bat in our heads, can almost smell the grass in the outfield, and taste the hot dogs and lukewarm beer in plastic cups.
We love our ballparks, even the small, old quirky ones with plenty of obstructed views. We fight to preserve them. In Boston, I once saw a guy who built a model of Fenway Park on top of his car, and drove around the city that way as part of his effort to preserve the park.
The lexicon of baseball has spawned clichés that even the most casuaL fans understand. Good choices become “home runs”; escalating punishments for legal infractions are often deemed “3-Strike Rules”. A car salesman might give you a “low-ball” for your trade-in, and of course, nearly every teenager learns the double-meanings of 1st, 2nd and 3rd base.
Ah, but back to Opening Day. I wanted so much to write an insightful post about what baseball means to me, and the shared American psyche. How baseball is the back drop of American history, from World War II to Civil Rights, and even the Death of Disco.
America is Baseball; Baseball is America. In fact, in WWII my grandfather was shot down over Belgium. He and his crew were unharmed, but they had to make their way, on foot, back to an Allied camp. They had no money, no ID. How did the MPs at the camp verify that they were Americans, and not German spies? They asked them about baseball.
I just wish I could find something new and interesting to write on this particular topic. Seems everything has been said, so there is nothing left to do but