At long last, we reach Opening Day. After the long, barren cold of the offseason, the first pitch of the baseball season heralds the start of spring, signaling a rebirth of the magic, aura, and mystique that accompany our national pastime. This day holds varying significance in different cities. In places like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, it stands as a moment of wishful thinking, a day where everyone is 0-0 and in first place, when each team can still cling to the glimmer of hope that this may in fact be the year that they shock the world. While that dream typically fades rapidly, Opening Day retains that quality of being a moment of hope.
In cities such as New York and Boston, the onset of a fresh season holds an entirely different meaning. It is the start of an exhilarating journey, the means to a hopefully greater end. It is a journey for which the destination remains unclear, which is exactly why it captures our attention and holds it for seven months of fascinating highs and devastating lows. For teams like the Yankees, Opening Day can legitimately represent the first step on the road to a World Series championship, and it is that type of significance that makes it so special. From this point, until the season ends at some point in October, anything is possible.
Here are what some others have said about Opening Day and baseball in general:
“You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” – Joe DiMaggio
“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.” — Rogers Hornsby
” In the beginning, there was no baseball. But ever since there have been few beginnings as good as the start of a new baseball season. It is the most splendid time in sports. ” -B.J. Phillips Time Magazine (1981)
“I would be lost without baseball. I don’t think I could stand being away from it as long as I was alive.” – Roberto Clemente
“I think a baseball field must be the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s so honest and precise. And we play on it. Every star gets humbled. Every mediocre player has a great moment.” – Lowell Cohn
“The sport to which I owe so much has undergone profound changes…but it’s still baseball. Kids still imitate their heroes on playgrounds. Fans still ruin expensive suits going after foul balls that cost five dollars. Hitting streaks still make the network news. And the hot dogs still taste better at the ballpark than at home.” — Duke Snider, Dodgers outfielder
I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones. And the only church that truly feeds the soul, day-in day-out, is the Church of Baseball. –Annie Savoy, in Bull Durham
“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when all the days are all twilight, when you need it the most, it stops. It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.” – A. Bartlett Giamatti The Green Fields of the Mind
Here are the lineups and pitching matchup, courtesy of Pete Abe:
2. Derek Sanderson Jeter SS
18. Johnny David Damon LF
25. Mark Charles Teixeira 1B
55. Hideki Matsui DH
20. Jorge Rafael de Posada Jr. C
24. Robinson Jose Cano 2B
22. Xavier Clifford Nady III RF
12. Bryan Cody Ransom 3B
11. Brett M. Gardner CF
Pitching: 52. Carsten Charles Sabathia LHP
1. Brian Roberts 2B
10. Adam Jones CF
21. Nick Markakis RF
6. Melvin Mora 3B
17. Aubrey Huff 1B
23. Ty Wigginton DH
30. Luke Scott LF
9. Gregg Zaun C
3. Cesar Izturis SS
Pitching: 46. Jeremy Guthrie RHP
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