The Cards blew it on Opening Day, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a great time, and I think we’ve just established a new tradition here at the Markel household. There’s no possible way I was going to be able to get tickets for all six of us to go, so we had to be creative and figure out a way to have some fun while staying home during the game.
The first step is to act like a real St. Louisan and immerse yourself in the game and the festivities which surround it as early in the day as possible. This means turning on the news, because every TV stations’ news crews here were all down at the ballpark where they belong. If you want to do something heinous in St. Louis and escape media attention, Opening Day is a pretty good choice in terms of timing. A good high speed chase or even a political scandal would be a good choice.
The next step is to make sure you have access to watching the game. Thanks to a fluke of the Internet and my subscription to MLB.tv, this is not a problem, blackout restrictions or no. We were unable to verify this until just before the game was to start. Needless to say, I was holding my breath, but I would have listened to it on the radio, even if I would have had to withstand the incomparable verbal diarrhea of Mike Shannon.
Baseball is more to me than simply a game. It is a tradition that I share with my children, that I share with my father, and that he shared with his father. It consists of stories told from one generation to another of who is the best, who you have seen play while sitting in the stands, and the comparisons and discussions that come along with those shared experiences and memories. It is neglecting to study for finals to go to a day game at Wrigley, taking the entire family out for a day at Busch, and staying up late listening to the west coast games. It is a love of a game that connects both halves of our family, and a baseball game is the gift I’m giving my wife for our tenth anniversary.
Baseball gives a shared language, a lore of well over a century of organized play, and a history that follows the contours of the events that shaped this country. It is a profoundly personal thing that you watch along with tens of thousands of people in a stadium or millions of people on television and radio. Grown men wait for the season to start every year to sit in the stands and feel like a child or to own imaginary baseball teams and challenge each other in the field of statistics.
I love baseball. Opening Day is the day of dreams—the day where every team is in first place, if only for a couple of hours. The day where fans’ hopes are refreshed (even the Cubs fans), the future seems bright, and optimism abounds. It’s the day where the heroes of children suit up and take the field of competition, as their fans watch and wait to see what will take place for the next six months.
It is the only major professional sport in the United States where the end of the game is not dictated by a clock—and in more than one way, it is timeless.