Unwrapping the gift of MLB’s Opening Day

Published 10:22 pm Friday, April 2, 2010

Ask me where my mind is going to be Monday around 3:10 p.m. Go ahead. Don’t be shy.

Well, I’m glad you asked. Very thoughtful of you. Monday around 3:10 p.m., my mind will be set squarely on Turner Field. That is right friends. It is time for Opening Day 2010. And I still say that Major League Baseball’s Opening Day absolutely should be a national holiday.

I get the all the buzz and fever that surrounds the first day of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It’s fun. There are brackets and everybody has a chance. That’s cool. But no day is like Opening Day. It is the only day of the year the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals can really go back to the clubhouse as division leaders.

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It is the day when all the chatter and talk of offseason acquisitions get out of the way and the game begins. It is the first of a 162-game marathon toward October.

And even equipped with that knowledge, I will still be unabashedly angry if the Cubs win Monday. No kidding. I will be absolutely inconsolable. And who will I blame first? That’s easy. Chipper Jones. OK, maybe this year I will blame Frank Wren first. And that thought process will have something to do with trading Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera, a couple of decent prospects and enough money to sign Troy Glaus. I mean, seriously? But shortly after that, I will blame Chipper Jones. It doesn’t matter if Jones goes 4-for-4 with four homeruns. I will chide him because the Braves needed baserunners, not dingers. If he makes play after play to keep his team in the game, it will still be his fault. There is no rhyme or reason to it. That is just the way it works. When the Braves win, I am happy. When they lose, Chipper Jones is the one and only source of my misery.

So Monday, my Braves could be on pace to go 162-0 and I will be utterly ecstatic. That night I will sleep with visions of playoff series dancing in my head. Then there is the very real possibility that they could lose to Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs. At which point, I will be ready to write off the entire team. I will want Jones, Glaus and Derek Lowe traded and Wren fired. I will publicly and privately denounce my fandom and immediately begin pulling for the Rays, Cardinals and Rangers. Either way, I can’t wait for Opening Day.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.