Regardless of the games in Australia, the exhibition games, even spring training (which is wonderful) but there is nothing better than MLB’s Official Opening Day which in my last piece in this series I pointed out should be a National holiday. For a baseball fan Opening Day is like all holidays and your birthday rolled into one big, exciting package. There are baseball games on day and night and it is a little piece of heaven after a what seems like an eternity of emptiness. BASEBALL IS BACK!
If your team opens at home then the day is even more glorious because it means that you will be back in the place you feel most at home, your seats in your home ball park. I love my seat at Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum. I sit directly behind the A’s bullpen in section 128, row 2, seat 8. It has been my seat for my entire adult life and I don’t plan to ever change it. If they tear down the Coliseum one day I am going to to whatever it takes to buy it. What better keepsake could there be?
At your home opener you get to see all your friends, there are fun giveaways and my favorite activity – time to take as many pictures as you like because of course no one is late to the game on Opening Day. Whether you are at a tailgate or just running into someone in the restroom it’s a delight just to see the your friends’ face, whether you have known them one season or ten.
I woke up as excited as ever for Opening Day 2014, or in the case of the A’s Opening Night, that the weather forecast predicted thunder, lightening and rain. Low and behold the baseball gods smiled upon the city of Oakland and the storm passed prior to the beginning of the game allowing all of us fans to tailgate albeit in the freezing cold. It is at least what we in Northern California consider the freezing cold. In other parts of the country I know you must suffer the cold a lot more but for us, 40 degrees plus wind? It’s like being completely chilled to the bone!
It was worth it though. Legendary Athletic and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson threw out the Ceremonial First Pitch to current A’s third baseman and the team’s most valuable player, Josh Donaldson. He is funnily enough called the “Bringer of Rain” according to his twitter handle and I had seen a tweet earlier that day that was to Donaldson telling him “we meant with the bet not actual rain.” I would quote the author but it was two days ago so once again I apologize on the tardiness of my column, it’s been an exciting week … now back to the game.
The A’s lost their tenth straight Opening Day game setting a MLB record. You’d think it would be disheartening. Your team losing the first game of the season seems like a bad thing, but for the A’s and their fans it was no big deal. Everyone was happy, the rain wasn’t pouring down as expected. Our young phenom Sonny Gray looked like a veteran after walking the first two batters, he settled down and pitched six scoreless innings, walking only one more batter, striking out seven and allowing only five hits. If it were not for what could have been nervousness or more likely just the cold that caused him to throw too many pitches during the first two innings he probably could have taken the game the whole way. Our Oakland proclaimed (and completely overlooked, as usual by the nation, media and everyone else) MVP Josh Donaldson went two for four and made some great defensive plays showing that he didn’t have a fluke year, just that he is really THAT good.
There were two disappointments, one expected and the other was, I bet if you polled the crowd, about a 50-50 chance of expecting what would happen.The first was first baseman Daric Barton, who (and I will not get into it) has been back and forth between Triple-A Sacramento and Oakland for the past decade. No, I’m not joking. He can draw walks and is decent defensively but somehow always manages to ruin things. He had a base running error that I really don’t even want to talk about it. Still though the crowd was having fun! Barton screwing something up though? That was expected. I call new closer Jim Johnson giving up the two runs the Athletics lost by a 50-50 because who knows what to expect he is new. He gave up two runs and ended up leaving the field to boos. I felt bad about that. I actually believe he will be solid this year and it’s rude to boo a guy that hasn’t let you down continuously. Barton deserved the boos (sorry to any of my friends reading this who are members of the #DBFC).
As far as disappointments goes those are minor on a day as stellar as Opening Day! Even a little rain and a loss are no big deal on Opening Day! Opening Day is one of those days where the little things don’t get you down and if they do there are people there to pull you back up! Besides the right things seem to happen on Opening Day – if you are getting just a little too cold a friend shows up at the perfect time to invite you up for a beer or if you are bummed about the loss there’s a game the next day you can go to! For the A’s this year there wasn’t a game the next day due to the weather that didn’t come through until after our home opener but that only made it time for the first double header! It is the first rain out in Oakland since 1998 and double-headers are extraoridinarily rare these in this day and age that I couldn’t be more excited. It’s not a traditional double-header where you only have to pay for one game but I’m not complaining! Baseball is baseball is baseball … the more of it I get to see the better. And on that note, I’d better go get ready for a couple ballgames!
Thanks for reading this week! I’m sorry it was a bit tardy! I hope everyone’s Opening Day and home opener was and/or will be great! Smile because BASEBALL IS BACK BABY! xx ~ Jen