Opening Day

There is nothing like Opening Day in Major League Baseball. 

This annual gathering of a community, bonded by a game that signals a start of a new year, the blooming of spring, and hopes of someone’s favorite team winning the World Series in the fall. 

Paul Yeager, Becky Mollenkamp, Nick Renkoski, Liz Lidgett, Jason Gavin, and Chris Juhl, to name a few know what that feeling is like when your team is on top of the world.  Their St. Louis Cardinals went from a wild card team to beating the Texas Rangers in one of the most memorable championship series in recent years. 

“Wait until next year” is a moniker I could do without.  As a Cubs fan, it’s agonizing that the Northsiders are the kids standing outside of the candy shop, looking in. 

“But, a season awaits, with glory in their eyes” as John Facenda spoke with reverent authority.  Baseball brings a sense of community, a pilgrimage, as fans sit next to each other, cracking open shells of warmed-up peanuts, scribbling on their scorecards, and vocally coaxing the opposing team’s batter to swing and strike with the fervor of Ferris Bueller. 

Welcome back baseball. 

Welcome back the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales as they enter Busch Stadium and make their way around the track and making a stop at home plate.  Welcome back the regal pomp and circumstance that makes Yankee Stadium a sight to behold.  Welcome back the family fun atmosphere that makes watching Royals games cool at Kaufmann Stadium.

Welcome back bleacher bums and Steve Goodman’s voice singing “Go Cubs Go” over the sound system at Wrigley, when that “W” flag is raised after a win.  Welcome back Fenway Park where The Standells lovingly opine about the Charles River.

Welcome back Vin Scully.  There’s no one quite like you. 

Welcome back baseball.  It’s good to reconnect again. 


Sports and News Links (The Day After The “Big Game”)

Micah Hyde of Iowa (left) breaks up a Steele Jantz pass to Josh Lenz of Iowa State. (Rodney White/Des Moines Register)

There’s some news and interesting stories that may have flown under the radar over the past week.  Let’s check some Sunday reading before settling down to watch pro football or whatever suits your fancy. 

  • ESPN has been the king of sports coverage and have withstood most of their competitors.  Could that change now with the rise of Yahoo Sports?  With the acquisition of Sporting News Radio and rebranding it, and the recent addition of Bruce Feldman, ex of ESPN, Clay Travis breaks down how Yahoo Sports has bolstered their way to the top when it comes to the first place to get your sports mojo. 
  • University of Connecticut (UConn) Coach Jim Calhoun brings in a highly touted player, Andre Drummond, into the program.  Problem is, UConn has no more scholarships to hand out.  Backup center Michael Bradley decides to give up his scholly so UConn can give it to Drummond. 


Is Jim Calhoun and UConn thumbing their nose at the NCAA again? Warren K. Zola thinks so.


Many call Bradley’s move selfless, but Warren K. Zola (via Sports Law Blog), in the Huff Post, questions this under-noted practice and the NCAA’s inability to corral their member institutions. 

  • Will she run or not, that is the question when it comes to Sarah Palin.  She may be a lot of things, most of negative, but should her recent speech in Indianola have gotten more play?  You bet it should have.  Anand Giridharadas of the New York Times writes that Palin didn’t just assail the “far left”, but she delivers a sucker punch to the left, center, and the right of the political divide.  Her speech might raise a few eyebrows. 

If it was anyone else saying them, everyone would be talking by now.

That should do it for your Sunday. 

Opening Day


When Vin Scully gets behind the microphone, you know it's time for baseball again. This will be Vin's 62st season as the Voice of the Dodgers.

It doesn’t feel right at all this morning to be thinking of Opening Day.

It’s Thursday for crying out loud!

Baseball’s Opening Day was reserved for the first Monday in April.  The traditional first game in Cincinnati, the ceremonial first pitch by the President in Washington, and the Cubs and the Mets being “mathematically eliminated” from playoff contention for the umpteenth time…before even taking the field. In St. Louis, the Cardinals will have their grand parade of yesterday legends and today’s stars during their opening ceremonies at Busch Stadium.

Today is Opening Day, that time-honored ritual that signals the unofficial start of spring, mixed with a few lake-effect snow showers in Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland from time to time.  The San Francisco Giants, the newly crowned champions of this sport, will meet their long-time hated nemesis the DodgersJoel Hanrahan, of Norwalk, will be asked by the Pittsburgh Pirates to take the mound as a closer this season.

Meanwhile in Seattle and Chicago, heavy hearts will reside as the Mariners and the Cubs start their season without an institution and a legend:  broadcaster Dave Niehaus and former player and beloved color analyst Ron Santo. This baseball season will also be empty without the man from Van Meter known as “Rapid Robert”Tim McClelland and Eric Cooper pull out their umpire masks and stand behind the plate to judiciously call balls and strikes again.

Opening Day brings hope and hearkens emotions of yesteryear and bonding among fans, family, and friends, as we turn down the television, pull out our cell phones, and feverishly try to find an app that will let us listen to Vin Scully poetically weave a story as the Dodgers mount up a rally late in the games.

Opening Day is here, regardless if it’s on Monday or, as weird as it is, on a Thursday.

It’s time to play ball.