Monday, March 31, 2014

Warming Up for Opening Day

The clickity-tickity-tick of thousands of needles fighting unsuccessfully to stab through the shingled roof over my head woke me around six this morning.

Half-blinded by unfulfilled REMs while blinded the rest of the way by the  nearsightedness I’ve been cursed with since childhood, I groped the nightstand for my glasses before stretching over to reach the window shade.

Even in my bleariness, I clearly recognize winter’s last big ”eff you.”

View from my living room 7 a.m.

Sleet. Snow. Twisting sideways as well as in its usual hellbound direction onto what was once my greening front lawn.

In a few hours, my weather app informs me, it will be gone. The sun should stumble drunkenly into work again after a six-month South American bender. The red liquid that pretends to be mercury in my window thermometer may even approach a double-digit number starting with a five.

The kids and My Love will still need to wear at least four layers of clothing, though, to fight off the ever-present Flushing Bay winds that will once again filled by the aroma of grilled hot dogs and piercing sales pitches for peanuts and cold beer. I will, too, but I will be warmed by more than heat-trapping polymers in the fabrics I wear.

I will be wrapped in an invisible blanket of optimism and joy, regardless of how fleeting it may be given my misguided rooting loyalties, at the return of the game I have loved for so many years.

And with that, the “Always Home and Uncool” offices are closed for our most glorious of national holidays.

It’s baseball’s Opening Day.

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Today you'll dig in the closet for your glove and snap a ball into it while sipping your morning coffee.

Today as the toast comes out of the toaster, you'll still remember how to execute a perfect "pop-up" slide.

Today you'll drive to work and admonish yourself to "keep your head down" and your eye on the road.

Today your team will be in first and planning to stay there.

Today you'll end your contract holdout.

Today you'll still be able to turn the double play.

Today you won't lose a business deal in the sun.

Today you'll find yourself rotating your arm around your head to stretch the shoulder and keep it loose.

Today someone asks if you'll be at the meeting and you respond by saying, "Let's play two."

Today you spend an hour in the attic with old baseball cards and dusty Sports Illustrateds.

Today sunflower seeds strangely find their way into your back pocket.

Today you find yourself muttering something about "Bill freakin' Buckner."

Today you'll think of wearing a black suit to match the eye black.

Today you'll have the steal sign.

Today you slip up in a meeting and mention "our sales team ... vs. lefties."

Today a hot dog and peanuts for lunch will sound about right.

Today you tell a co-worker to "warm up."

Today the only strike you'll know about is above the knees and below the armpits.

Today you'll wear your jacket only on your pitching arm.

Today you'll buy two packs of gum and stuff them in the side of your mouth.

Today, during lunch, you'll wonder why Coke doesn't come in a wood can.

Today you'll scratch yourself and spit for no apparent reason.

Today you'll wonder why stirrup socks never caught on.

Today you'll be the rookie looking to make it big.

Today you'll be the wily vet with just a little something left.

Today you'll look for the AM dial on your radio.

Today your glove is hanging off the handlebars of your bike.

Today seems like a good day for an ice cream before you head home.

Today is box scores and "Baseball Tonight."

Today is Nick Punto and Scott Rice.

Today is Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.*

Today your first coach is cheering. Still.

Today mom's watching.

Today dad's in the backyard -- with his glove.

Today it'll still be a kids' game.

Today you'll be a kid.

Today is Opening Day.

Poem: “Today” -- By Greg Shea, Copyright © 2000 The Closer (*Player names update for 2014 by me)



  1. And good luck to you and yours - but not too much because my team needs a healthy dose of luck too.

  2. I give thanks to the baseball gods daily for sending Miguel Cabrera to my Tigers.

    Play ball!

  3. I love your opening day posts more than I love baseball!

  4. Dude. I would like to apologize in advance for any heart-related failures you and the other Mets fans may experience as a result of Jose Valverde's actions as "closer" for the team. The Tigers released him last August, after too many chances.

    1. He can't be much worse than anyone else we have. Pitched well on Opening Day.


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My Uncool Past