“Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.”
~ John Fogery (Centerfield)
OPENING DAY IS HERE… YEAH BABY ! 🙂 Aherm…well, to be truthful, Opening Day was Sunday. What today actually was is the Chicago White Sox home opener. Ah ha I can see you looking confused as to why this matters after my previous LETS GO YANKEES outburst. Mmhum if it really bothers you, I’ll be sure to write a post about my baseball loyalties in the future. For now let’s just say it matters to me. Deal? Anyways I have to wait until April 16th for the home opener in the Bronx as Derek Jeter and his boys start out with one looong ass road trip (which did not get off to the best of starts with a loss to the Orioles yesterday 😦 ). I’m sure you’ll hear from me again about that day, the new stadium etc. but for now come on back to Chicago ok?
First of all this post should have been written yesterday. The game should have been yesterday but as ever the only predictable thing about Chicago weather is that it will be totally unpredictable so snow and freezing temps threw a spanner in the works yesterday and the game was shifted. At least the game was cancelled ahead of time. It’s not like fans sat at the park for hours before being sent home disappointed. Well not this time anyways. SNOW!? …this is NOT baseball weather. It’s supposed to be spring ya know!
Of course I was not actually THERE. No dear friends – I did not secretly fly across the pond without telling anyone for a baseball game. Now granted I totally would make that trip JUST for a ball game. But you can bet you bottom dollar I would not go quietly. Everybody would know about it in a flurry of countdowns, disorganized packing and happy dance. Instead I caught the game courtesy of MLB.TV and from what I saw of the shivering bundled up crowd members I may… MAY have been better off sat warm at home in a comfy chair. MLB.TV is a new thing for me this year. I’m already beyond thrilled that I should be able to follow more games this season than I have in many many years, but that’s not what I want to tell you about.
Even thought the game was quite thrilling and Jim Thome’s home run in the 8th to give the good guys the lead was the second time I’ve almost choked from excitement this week (the first being a home run off the bat of Mr. Jeter himself). That’s not what I want to talk about either, however I have to note that I really should stop eating and drinking while watching these games in case next time the popcorn actually does get stuck at the back of my throat or the juice succeeds in its attempts to come out my nose… either that or I have to learn to remain calm and collected and swallow before squealing with excitement and/or punching the air with my fists, bouncing up and down over excited on the edge of my seat. Mmhumm and the chances of that are oh about equal to pigs flying, hell freezing over, winning the lottery…you get the picture.
Hmmm… what was it I DID want to talk about? Oh yes… Opening Day. I’ve never actually been to an opening day game. Never been on the right side of the water at the right time so far, but I have seen the ceremony that comes along with thanks mainly. It has to be said, to Gadget Guy’s video and photography and every time it gives me shivers down my spine. Today was no exception. It’s something I can’t explain. There seems to be something extra that you can’t quite put your finger on – something in the air as people say. Of course if you’re in Chicago that air is probably more likely to be a 35 mph wind trying to blow your face off and let’s face it only Die Hard fans would go to the park in that. I absolutely love the red white and blue bunting that the stadium is decked out in the park, itself dressing up for the occasion ..
I’ve never been able to explain why the American National Anthem affects me the way it does. It moves me every time. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Actually it’s a source of a considerable amount of irritation to me. I feel so unpatriotic reacting this way to an anthem that is not my own. When the dirge that is God Save The Queen has no effect on me at best and causes severe eye rolling at worst and yet here I am biting my lip HARD so as not to cry for the land of the free and the home of the brave. I’m just about holding it together. I’m getting through it without a ridiculous show of emotion but when you add in the unmistakable sound of 2 US Navy Reserve VFC-12 Fighting Omar’s (that’s kick ass jets to the rest of us) ripping the sky open with a fly over AND top it all off with the unraveling of the biggest star spangled banner right over the playing field… the roar of the crowd… I am going down… I’m gonna cry you bastards. Damn it!
All this for a sporting event. Really? It’s over the top, its silly, it looks expensive… says my British mind. It’s also undeniably packed with national pride, a patriotism that’s rare this side of the Atlantic. Yes it’s pageantry, it’s excitement, it’s atmosphere… are all totally utterly of the “Only in America” variety and I love it! I experience it with the wide eyed wonder of childhood excitement, intoxicated and inspired by all that is good in America.
I truly believe nothing terrible could happen to me inside the walls of a ball park aside form an embarrassing defeat of course, but more than anything it was here, watching this game that I feel in love with a country….and that is an amazing thing to experience.
Just give me tickets, a hot dog and a margarita… and if I do choke to death because of a winning home run at least I’ll die happy.
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. “