Thursday, March 31, 2011

THE UNOFFICIAL FIRST DAY OF SPRING: A DAY OF ETERNAL HOPE

To many people, tomorrow is all of the above and more. To many, it is the first day of spring: a day when many people have great hope and belief in a group of men to do the right thing: to endure long days/night battles, injuries, inglorious defeats, pain, humiliation and their enemies' fans hurling insults at them. To do all of this for glory, the glory of a World Series win, to be champions of the world (well if you do not count China, South America, Australia and other baseball playing countries). But why let the facts interfere with our glory.
Tomorrow is baseball's opening day for many teams including my home team, the Boston Red Sox.
                                            

Opening Day is anticipated by all baseball fans. It is said that all teams are equal on opening day, that all of them are undefeated and have a chance to win it all. Really?? I think the Pittsburgh Pirate fans might disagree but that's okay. My Red Sox are favorites to win it all this year and to a true baseball fan that is all that counts. To a true Red Sox fan, it means Opening Day is the time to start worrying about how the Sox will "ruin our summer".

If the Red Sox are up by 10 in July will the fans anticipate a World Series appearance? More than likely, they will tell you not to forget 1978 when they had a 14 game lead on the hated Yankees on July 18 and not only lost the lead but also the playoff game for the pennant. When Bucky, (or as he is known in Boston;  Bucky, F*****G Dent)  hit a home run to break Red Sox fan's hearts. Do not even mention 1986 when this guy.........
hit a ground ball that our first basemen ****** Buckner let go through his legs for a World Series defeat. I still cannot watch the replay without feeling pain!
But the Red Sox have won 2 World Series in 2004 & 2007 !! Now the fans will finally believe, right?
 Check back if they lose the opening day game. 
Seinfeld might be right when he said all we do is root for laundry, but it's our laundry and we love them.



The privilege of playing the first game of the year, for many years, was given to the Cincinnati Reds: baseball's first officially recognized franchise. They hosted the outings from 1876 to 1989. In 1990, the streak was broken as they were the visiting team in Houston. Opening day has become an opportunity for US presidents to show off their pitching arms by throwing the first pitch. On April 14, 1910 in Washington D.C, President Taft was the first President to show his stuff. Since then, 11 sitting US presidents have tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. The standout would have to be President Harry Truman who showcased his ambidextrous talent by throwing out two balls: one left handed and one right handed. It is said that the Republicans stated that this was another sign of the Democrats being wasteful and indecisive :)
Opening Days have witnessed many other historical performances:
Ted Williams, (Red Sox Star) was a .449 hitter on opening days.
Opening Day 1940 witnessed one of the most famous pitching events as Cleveland's ace, Bob Feller and White Sox hurler, Eddie Smith went head to head. Smith blinked but Feller remained in control throwing the only opening day no hitter in baseball history.
Hank Aaron ignited the crowd at Riverfront Stadium on his first swing of the 1974 season by hitting his 714th career home run to tie Babe Ruth on the all time list.
Statistically how important is a win on opening day in regards to a championship?  The answer is not that much but individual stats speak volumes on an accomplished player's career. Greg Maddox was a perfect 6 & 0 on opening day starts. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. have each hit a record eight home runs on opening day, while all time greats, Willie Mays and Eddie Matthews, each hit seven.
But regardless of the outcomes, Opening Day remains as the number one date in the hearts, minds and souls of baseball fans everywhere. All winter fans wait to hear those two great words again:





PLAY BALL!!











10 comments:

Ann said...

From another transplanted Boston fan--great post!

melissa said...

am not really a baseball fan jim... but still looking at the photos is truly worth it... i could feel the intensity of the feelings with each photo... and the story beneath it...

you're really good at it... wow... almost like watching a sports tv channel :P...

great shots...i especially like the balloon stuff... wow!!!

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Haven't been to a baseball game since my 2 sons were young. Your terrific photos bring up such happy memories for me! Thank you!

Sailor said...

Beautiful collections!

sulekkha said...

Great pictures Jim but I am a cricket and football fan, so can't get the game.

Jorie Pacli said...

Fantastic shots JIM! The balloon picture is my favorite.... I love watching baseball but I unfortunately I couldn't watch it here in SG but I do play it on Wii games.... Hahaha..Cool stuff!

JIM said...

Thank You all... ANN this is our year or not lol

Melissa you know how I feel

mari anytime I can provide a road to a memory makes it a great day!

Sulekkha were all fans ( fanatics)

Jorie ever in Florida we will attend a game together

Jenni said...

I played alot of sports in High School, baseball being a staple since I could walk. For some reason I just can't get into watching it on tv as I could while playing it. Maybe because my home team is The Detroit Tigers. lol

This post was great, the pictures are so detailed and you can feel the excitement and disappointment in every word you write. Here's hoping for a great Red Sox season, even though right now all I can focus on is My Celtics.

Ana said...

Jim, great photos! Every sport is beautiful. Some people want to win only, they play as for life, but I think the most important in sport is playing with whatever result, spending good time, meeting nice people, having hobby, something which keeps in hard moments :)
Best spring regards from my Team :)

Kriti said...

two words that you don't have to wait too long for - Well done : )