The weather always seems to cooperate on Opening Day.
I woke up Thursday morning to birds chirping and the sun starting to peek over the horizon — offering the promise of a warmer late-March afternoon.
This is the time of year that hearts begin to melt, our frigid bones begin to warm, where we finally are supposed to make our way to the ballpark.
Opening Day is as wonderful a tradition as ever in the United States. One that unofficially welcomes spring while allowing us to dream of summer days in the stands with friends and loved ones.
It’s on this day that you’re officially introduced to your favorite team, your new heroes, your temporary best friends — whether they’re on the field or seated near you in the cheap seats.
And with that very first pitch of each new season, we’re immediately connected to every summer of our fathers and their fathers when they were a little more spry and a little less grey.
For while we argue about bat flips, vigilante justice, game length, juiced baseballs, and questionable ideas from the commissioner, this is very much the same game that they watched with a new cast of characters on the field chasing the ghosts of those that came before them.
And with that comes the conversations, debates, even arguments that help make baseball the staple that it is.
“Pete Alonso is going to be the Mets’ greatest slugger ever, even better than Mike Piazza.”
“Sure, Gary Sanchez is one of the best catchers in baseball, but he’ll never come close to Yogi or Dickey.”
“Who’s the best pitcher in New York, Gerrit Cole or Jacob deGrom?”
On a personal level, the 2020 season is going to be a special one for me. It’ll be the first time in my journalistic career that I’ll be on the New York beat, covering both Mets and Yankees games from Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. That would have meant being in the press box for Opening Day in Queens today as the Mets hosted the defending world-champion Washington Nationals.
Down in Baltimore, Cole likely would have been making his Yankees debut against the Orioles.
The realization of that dream and one of the best days of the year will have to wait a little longer, just like we’re all forced to wait to hear “Play Ball!” as the coronavirus pandemic has put the world on hold. That includes baseball, which has never been stopped like this, as Opening Day is now expected to come in late May or even June.
No matter. The main priority is for all of us to get to that day — even if it is in June — so we can all enjoy it together.
So that means staying inside, washing your hands, and understanding what “quarantine” or “isolation” means.
It will be worth it in the end, no matter how boring it gets — I promise.
In the meantime, we at amNewYork Metro will still be here, ready to talk baseball (or basketball, or hockey, or football, or soccer) with you because we could all use a little distraction from the harsh realities of the outside world.