Baseball’s opening day ought to be a holiday. It feels like one to me. One of the best days of my 20s was an opening day. My boss knew I was a big baseball fan. He told me to take the day off so I could watch the game. I didn’t have cable at the time, so I couldn’t actually watch at home. I went to a Chili’s and sat in the bar for about eight hours (Don’t worry, I left a good tip). I watched the Sox (Pedro was the opening day starter) and just stayed for the other games that were on. It was just me and a feast of baseball after a long fast.
Opening Day 2021 feels different. The Sox have gotten rid of most of my favorite players. They still have Xander and Raffy and they picked up Kiké Hernandez in the offseason, but that’s about it. I have nothing against the other players, and I have to get to know a bunch of them, but JBJ, Mookie, Brock, Pedroia, Price, and Benny felt like family. That’s been the way of the Red Sox the past couple of seasons, and I haven’t gotten used to it yet. I’m sure I’ll watch, it’s just odd to feel this ambivalent about my team on opening day.
As for the rest of the league, it’s a mixed bag. The Dodgers, Padres, White Sox, Rays, A’s, Mets, and Braves should all be fun to watch. And I have a good feeling about the Blue Jays. They may not win, but I think they’ll be entertaining. Detroit, Cleveland, Colorado, Baltimore, and Seattle are going to be miserable. It would be nice if Cincinnati can be good again, but I’m not sure about that. We should all be rooting for Kim Ng in Miami.
Going a little more meta, I don’t think MLB will be as good as it can be while Rob Manfred is commissioner. He and the owners are doing everything they can to take the joy out of the game. They blame baseball’s problems on trivial things like length of games. I hope they realize that it has everything to do with the way people consume entertainment now. If something amazing or funny or impressive happens in a baseball game, it’s almost impossible for it to go viral. Players get scolded every time they do anything fun. They still blackout local games for anyone without the proper (and expensive) cable package. The fact that I live too close to Boston to watch the Sox on my phone is beyond crazy. And don’t even get me started on what they’ve done to the minor leagues (Higher salaries are great, but not at the cost of hundreds or thousands of jobs). I’d love to do missionary work for baseball, but the league is making it extremely hard.
It is opening day, and I am excited, but it’s a tempered excitement. I’m not brimming with hope. It’s more of a wait and see. At least there’s good TV from now through the end of October. What do you guys think? Are you excited?