Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Reopening Opening Day

April 02, 2002

What's the deal anyway with different opening days for a baseball season already underway? On Sunday the Angels and Indians played an official game (well, at least the Indians played). That was the real opening day for the nation's 2002 baseball season. Ask the Easter Sunday sellout crowd of 42,697 in Anaheim. No Mo Vaughn, but they all saw the opening day game--6-zip for Cleveland. So there's no doubt that 2002 baseball got underway on the weekend. But judging by all the hoo-hah sports coverage last night and this morning, Monday was "Opening Day" in many places. The nerve!

Time was opening day was, well, opening day. The season was open or it wasn't. Like pregnancy, you were or you weren't; no maybe for either. The concept of opening day is ingenious and downright grand, regardless of the ensuing shoe-tapping, bat-rubbing, endless warming-up tedium. Opening day was made for optimists, even Cub fans. The slate was clean for everyone. Baseball's winter trades and spring training were over; so, finally, was basketball.

At the stadium, the new basepaths were perfectly etched in reddish dirt, the seats unmarked by pigeons. Opening day augured a full summer of sun unfolding dawn after dawn. Opening day was packed with warmth and fresh potential.

Opening day also meant that closing day for school was close by. Hooky on opening day was excused by a nice note to the teacher. Like the newly cut grass laid out so very green and fresh for everyone, opening day at the stadium always smelled good, even before the hot dog steam wafted through the newly painted seats. There, countless youngsters wore their well-pounded gloves, newly liberated from the closet, oiled and ready to snag any fortuitous foul that flew by. Opening day was more full of anticipation than a sweet-smelling unopened pack of bubble gum trading cards. What either could contain was limited only by imagination.

Football and hockey had opening days too, but they weren't the same. The closest thing to the excitement of baseball opening day was in September when car dealers tore down the paper temporarily covering showroom windows to reveal the metallic splendor of next year's models. That was an impressive array of movable chrome to behold. But as living proof of an enduring social normalcy, the rhythmic beginning of a new season of excitement and progress, baseball's opening day was the perfect seasonal marker.

As such, come to think of it, after this past autumn of awe and a winter of war, maybe it's not such a bad thing this April to have more than one opening day--just for emphasis.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|