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And so to Opening Day.

The simple fact is that the season is not a metaphor for the calendar. To a considerable degree, the season is the calendar - well, eight months of it anyway, with November through February as a monolithic blob designated the "Offseason", its only definable characteristic being the presence of Christmas and the lack of baseball. The season has rhythms and patterns that affect not only the players, but the fans, and each phase is recognizable, from Opening Day to the All-Star Break to the dog days of August to October. The offseason, though, is like "here be dragons" on a medieval map: hazy, unimaginable, and terrifying.

In Canada, that distinction is heightened by the brutal beating we take all winter long. There is always hockey, but hockey is a momentary diversion only, something done or watched for three hours once or twice a week. Baseball, for many of us, is a whole mode of being.

Our time is returning. All winter long, we have subjected ourselves to Will & Grace, to Trading Spaces reruns, even the Westminster Dog Show, just to build up the goodwill that lets you hold on to the remote when it's 9-4 in the sixth but you just know a comeback is in the offing. All winter long, we have smiled and nodded as friends, family, and co-workers have prattled on about how Tom Fitzgerald should be playing on the Leafs' checking line, or the merits of the 350 versus the 400 horsepower V8, or God forbid about the newest club fashions. Now we get to make everyone's eyes glaze over, with our analysis of the squeeze play in the seventh last night. All winter long, we've sustained ourselves with trade rumours and hot stove reminisces; now we get a game every night, or two, or more - an embarrassment of riches.

Think of what awaits us. Saturday afternoons against the Yankees. Trying to calculate batting averages in your head. Hot dogs (who eats hot dogs in the winter?). Boxscores (o lovely boxscores!). Arguments during rain delays. Tom and Jerry. Seeing "the Jays were trailing Anaheim 4-2 at press time" and knowing they pulled it out. Idly wondering whether Ichiro can hit .400 (or Nomar, or Barry, or Helton). Playing catch. Maybe even meaningful games in August and September.

Try not to think about the accidental sunburns, the inevitable losing streaks, "OK Blue Jays", or the neverending beer commercials. Or the ticket prices.

Did I mention the boxscores? I love boxscores. The long strings of 2s and 3s and 4s in Rockies boxscores. Trying to figure out who "JeGutrz" is. Seeing a favourite pitcher with "9 2 0 0 1 10" next to his name. The humour of seeing "3B - McGriff (1)", imagining him lumbering around second, and looking to see who was the rightfielder who let him do that. It's coming back, it's here.

We spend all winter walking home from work in the dark, waking up in the dark, trying to get there underground, bundling up in scarves and touques, shovelling snow. We spend all winter waiting for the sun; and in waiting for the sun, we're waiting for the season. It's an infallible rule; if it's warm out, there's a ballgame going on somewhere, and more than ice cream, more than the beach or the golf course, it is bound up with summertime - a time for kids, families, parties, vacations, and ballgames.

We need this, we put up with a lot of crap for this, and we should enjoy this. Have a great season, everyone.
Waiting For The Sun | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Spicol - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 10:03 AM EST (#91971) #
Great post, Craig. You've captured my own sentiments at least. It will be a brilliant moment for me the first time I hear "6-4-3 Double Play" come out of my radio. I just have one thing to say:

Not ALL of the Trading Spaces were reruns.
Dave Till - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 10:05 AM EST (#91972) #
I think it was Thomas Boswell who once wrote that Opening Day should be a national holiday.

Good luck to J.P., Carlos, and all the Jays on the field. I'm looking forward to this one.
Coach - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 10:36 AM EST (#91973) #
Me, too. Like Craig said.

Buy the Star today. Seven full pages, not many ads, and stuff like this feature, where the Jays recall their big-league debuts. I'd link to another one, but can't find it on -- a compilation of great baseball quotes, including Humphrey Bogart echoing our sentiments:

"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz."

And my new personal motto, courtesy of former pitcher Larry Anderson:

"You're only young once, but you can be immature forever."
Craig B - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 11:03 AM EST (#91974) #
By the way, it truly is a lovely day, isn't it? It just wouldn't be a Jays home opener without a white-out blizzard.
Mike D - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 11:20 AM EST (#91975) #
Oh no! I forgot to wear my Jays cap to work here in New York. Maybe it's a positive omen; I've been wearing it around the streets of New York on Jays opening days since '98, and the Jays haven't made the postseason in any of those years.

On the other hand, if the Jays lose tonight, it's on me, gentlemen. I apologize. My bad.
_Matthew Elmslie - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 11:52 AM EST (#91976) #
I think Thin Lizzy said it best when they said, "The nights are getting warmer, it won't be long / Won't be long 'til summer comes / Now that the boys are here again / The boys are back in town".
Gitz - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 12:59 PM EST (#91977) #
Just so everyone can be jealous of me for a change, I'm in sunny California right now. Temps in the 70s, plenty of sun, a delightful breeze.

I'll be going to Las Vegas this weekend for my AL-only keeper auction league, then coming back to the Bay Area, where somehow I got tickets to the Giants' home opener. I don't care much for the Giants or their LF, but PacBell stadium rules, my mom is grateful for my company (can you believe it???) and it's, well, a baseball game -- all in all the perfect diversion.
_Mick - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 01:59 PM EST (#91978) #
The Chicago Cubs would like to welcome Tom Glavine to his new team and thank the Mets for participating in the 2003 NL regular season.
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