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Play Ball | One Fan’s Take on Opening Day

nationals ballpark
Kevin Risner

Even though the start of the baseball season was earlier this week (and incomprehensibly for two teams in Australia last month), I am still anticipating Opening Day in Cleveland! Today’s weather is somewhat balmy and a little soggy, which actually makes me more excited than usual: there have been times in the past when the first home stand of the season was snowed out in the lovely city along Lake Erie. I don’t have tickets for this afternoon’s game, but my fiancée and I will be making the trek to Progressive Field tomorrow to indulge in America’s pastime and be a part of the revelry that only Opening Day can provide. Of course, the weather then will be more typical of early April here. We intend to pack the parkas and bring along a blanket for the occasion. No rain is expected, though! At least the last time I checked, that was the case.

The excitement and thrill of the first weekend of baseball is incomparable; the first week has already eaten away my sleep time because of late-night games in Oakland. The shouts, chants, the music, the announcer: noise among noise, the start-of-season energy. There’s this tangible optimism; you can almost feel it. You want to snatch it and keep it all for September. The big slogan for the Cleveland Indians this year is “Unfinished Business.” The Tribe made it to the Wild Card playoff last year, but that was it. Therefore, the team and the PR people wish to instill this optimism and hopefully get more attendees for the home games this year. (The numbers at the ballpark last year were somewhat embarrassing.) Where cynicism and heartbreak are commonalities in this town for all the major sports, this surge of expectation and the possible aromas of the playoffs this baseball season have carved a tiny space in the air this time around. You can almost see it there. We have to row fervently toward it and make sure we get there again; it’s doable. I don’t think the World Series is there for us to seize in that distant space, but a decent, entertaining season definitely lingers close at hand.

Hopes for tomorrow: arriving early, taking in the awesome view (third base line), swigging a can of beer (Genesee or Schlitz), eating a hot dog with stadium mustard slathered all over it, sharing the experience with the people I care about.

A win would be nice also.

Here’s to baseball season! Here’s to a brew or two before, during, and after the game!

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