There’s a beautiful poetry to the opening day of the baseball season that is one of the easons I hated opening a week early in the middle of the night. Baseball symbolizes so many things, so many parts of the mythology of America, not necessarily that it was ever really true, maybe not any of it was true, but we imagine that it was true.
Like a Norman Rockwell painting that brings back Memories that never happened, So too does the opening day of baseball bring to mind the carefree memories of our childhood, where it was never too hot, there was always a swimming hole nearby, and there were no mosquitoes.
I remember being confused that my father still got up in the morning and went to work, because “it’s summer.” I didn’t understand then that the freedom only applied to us children. My father never ran around the backyard barefoot. He mowed the lawn, and snuck a nap on Saturday afternoon.
But he did take me to Rangers games, and I remember him getting a beer and winking at me as he did so, knowing that I would keep it secret from mom, and I remember his delight when we both stood up to participate in a wave. One of my dearest memories is a game the Rangers lost 9 to 8, to the White Sox, I think. They scored seven runs in the eighth inning, and everybody knew they would come back to tie and then to win, and they didn’t. they went 1 2 3 in the ninth, but that was OK. I was with Papa…and I can see him now, again in the stands pounding his feet with the crowd, grinning at me all the while.
And opening day means it’s all back. Nobody has to go to work. Gas is cheap and taxes are low.
And it’s summer. Not in New York or Boston or Minnesota, or even on the Calendar. It’s barely a week into Spring.
But it’s summer, and there are no mosquitoes, and Papa and I are cheering the hapless Rangers, and I won’t tell Mom about the beer.
And it’s opening day.