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Play ball!

It’s that time of the year again … when hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Opening Day!!

This is like a holiday for me … I grew up glued to the radio, daydreaming the sights, sounds and smells as Lon Simmons, Bill King, Hank Greenwald and other greats painted the game so vividly. Of course now we can see every game on TV or on the computer (or iPhone) but to me, baseball is beautiful when broadcast by someone who loves the game, and can capture the feel of it.

There are a few things that I love about baseball … but it’s strange that one of the things I first think of is the smell of the dirt. It’s a distinct smell … freshly raked and sprayed down … there’s nothing quite like it.

Part of the excitement about opening day is that every team is starting with a level playing field. Everyone is in first place. Any player has the opportunity to step up and establish himself as a hero. Every city gets behind its club (well, except in Oakland) and vibrates with the optimism that this might be the year …

The Giants won it all last year. It was thrilling to see how it all happened, though admittedly unexpected … these castoffs and characters didn’t scream out “1927 Yankees” but they played as a team, and came together with great performances from young pitchers and team players. And they won. So, who will it be this year? Could it be the year for the A’s, with their great young arms? Or will the Red Sox blow everyone away with their new superstars? Philly will be tough to beat with their rotation, and of course the World Champion Giants look stronger this year than last.

So here we go … just a few more minutes until the first pitch of opening day …

Play Ball!