Monday, April 02, 2007

Whether It's Opening Day Or Opening day, It's Special

Jim Bouton had it right.

Today is either Opening Day, or Opening day -- depending on how you feel about it.

Bouton, the former big league pitcher and author of the groundbreaking book, "Ball Four," described baseball's first day thusly in his book. He also ended it by saying that, as a ballplayer, you spend your life gripping a baseball, and it turns out it was the other way around the whole time.

Today is an unofficial holiday in Detroit -- maybe it IS official, come to think of it. Work attendance is going to take a hit today. But do schoolkids still carry tarnsistor radios with them, and listen to the game surreptitiously? Doubtful, but then again they have BlackBerries and other devices with which to monitor the match's progress.

In my school daze -- I mean days -- our teachers would have a TV rolled in by the geeky A/V dude, and he or she would let us watch a few innings. This was circa the early 1970s. But I also remember doing the transistor radio thing outside during afternoon recess. In 1972, when the Tigers were in the ALCS, the TV privilege returned. I remember hustling home to watch the final innings of the decisive Game 5 -- a heartbreaking 2-1 loss.

But back to Opening Day/day.

Few cities, if any, I believe, do it better than Detroit -- though I've never experienced another city on Opening Day/day. I just can't imagine any city's denizens celebrating it the way we do here. It's still not QUITE the same as it was during the Tiger Stadium days, but it's more than just about the ballpark, of course. It's an environment. An underlying feeling of fellowship. The few times when we all feel like we're in this thing together.

Proof of this is that you don't even need a ticket to the game to feel the energy. I've never done so, but one year I might just go downtown, sans ticket or media credential, and just hang out -- walking around and keeping my eyes and ears open. Yes, I just might do that someday.

Today I'll be in front of the tube, watching it on FSD. It can be special at home, too. Plus, free parking.


Blogger Ozz said...

The year you decide to wander around ticketless, I'd be glad to make sure that your ticket doesn't go to waste!

Here's to another season of fun!

Cheers to all!

10:26 AM  

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