Ah the sites, sounds and smells of baseball’s Opening Day.
I admit, I’m addicted. The bunting, the local high school baseball champions holding the American flag, Clay Walker performing the anthem and a mini-concert, the fly-overs and Golden Knights team (when the roof is open), the sound of Milo Hamilton inventing new names for players, the introduction of coaches you’ve never seen before, the 47 ceremonial first pitches, and the promise that this will be “our year!”
I love going to Opening Day. My boys and I have made it a tradition to attend this special game every year and we have a good string going.
Yesterday was no exception.
The game featured a lot of great baseball; Roy Oswalt pitching well, Luke Scot crushing a home run to center, great defense by Adam Everett and Chris Burke, and Adam LaRoche striking-out 4 times in a row (I don’t like that guy). Add to that a record crowd and you have makings of a very enjoyable Opening Day.
And so we come to the 9th inning with a one-run lead and the Pirates are down to their last out. The Minute Maid crowd is on their feet and screaming their lungs out. This is the moment we waited all off-season for; a chance to celebrate the beginning of the 2007 season in perfect fashion.
Then it happens, the bomb to left and the game is tied. The sound of 43,000 people gasping in horror is a very memorable noise. Morally wounded, the Astros go down in 10 innings 4-2 and the 2007 campaign is off with a thud.
Now what? Well, it’s only one game and for those of you who think the season is over, think of Yogi.
Here is what I saw yesterday. Great pitching from Oswalt. We take if for granted, but that guy can pitch. He had one sequence where he threw a 94 mph fastball and then a 66 mph curve that frankly is just evil.
The hitting was much better than last year. There were not a lot of strikeouts and a number of well-hit balls. I think this lineup is going to be interesting.
The fielding was better than I expected. Chris Burke made a couple of very nice catches and almost made a spectatular catch. Adam Everett showed his range by making a catch half-way into left field. That guy is amazing.
In the end, it’s only one game. I just wish we could have had the storybook ending to complete the picture. Even though we didn’t, I’ll be there with my boys next year ready to celebrate or lament again!