Opening Day – Spring Style

After what seems like an eternity, I survived Spring Training Game Eve. Baseball is finally officially back. This is the day that every baseball fan for every team has dreams that this is the year that their team will catch lightning in a bottle and they will be cheering for the World Series Champions.

For the fans of 29 teams that dream will be shattered. Some will lose their dreams early in the season while others will feel heartbreak in the stretch run in September. For a few their dreams continue into October. As the leaves change and the temperatures again fall down to freezing levels they will be warm in the thoughts that their team is still playing.

DSC_9614 2014-02-26Diamondbacks fans open this spring with a lot of hopes. After two consecutive years finishing 81-81 we are just looking for anything different. Sure it would be great if that change was positive and we made the post-season but any change at all would be welcomed.

In Arizona we awoke to a beautiful sunny day. Temperatures were forecast to be in the high-70’s to low-80’s with minimal wind or clouds. If there is such a thing as perfect baseball weather this has to be pretty close.

I arrived at the field early. There was no way I wanted to miss anything. I walked up the path to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. To the left were the Diamondbacks practice fields. You could hear the sounds of balls hitting leather gloves and an occasional crack of the bat from the back practice fields.

DSC_9590 2014-02-26As I reached the top of the hill I was greeted by the always-friendly security personnel who were checking bags and welcoming fans to the stadium. It was almost like being home for the holidays.

Going through the gates I could see the beautiful green grass and smell the aromas of Spring Training. It was a mixture of sunscreen, hot dogs, cut grass, and Cactus Kettle Corn. The smells were intoxicating and a welcomed change from the smells of the off-season, which by January were starting to remind me of old gym socks.

I made my way down to my seats. It was like cuddling up with a warm blanket next to a blazing fire except this was outside, it was hot, and I was wearing shorts. But the warm feeling was not just about the air temperature, it was the beginning of another year of baseball. Despite the groundhog trying to keep us down baseball overcame the difficulties and started anew like it always does.

DSC_9608 2014-02-26The crowd of 10,306 in attendance cheered as the public address announcer introduced the home team Arizona Diamondbacks. They likewise booed and jeered the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers making the universe right again.

The players stood at attention on the foul lines as the National Anthem played ending with a fly over to the excitement of the fans. Soon everyone was settled in to watch the game.

As it is every spring the game started with the starters getting in their work in a game situation then handing the baton over to rookies, non-roster invitees, and aspiring minor league players.

It was exciting to see the Diamondbacks win the first game of the season but it really wouldn’t have mattered what the outcome of the game was. Baseball is back and that is the best news of all. It’s days like this that I thank the Baseball Gods that I live in Arizona where baseball eternally lives.

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