One-hundred and forty-nine days of withdrawal between Brian Wilson’s strikeout on Nov. 1 and C.C. Sabathia’s opening pitch at Yankee Stadium today.
It begins in New York, but where will it end?
Magic begins. Miracles happen.
The sound of the wood bat striking a 98 mile per hour fastball. The feel of your hand inside a freshly oiled glove.
The days start getting a little longer, the weather a little warmer. Springtime is here.
Twenty-five men, nine coaches, a front office, and an entire stadium full of fans pulling together.
Baseball is America’s sport. America’s pastime.
There’s a feeling of optimism within each of the 30 teams today.
A fresh start. A new chance.
An opportunity to prove that their transactions over the winter have put them in position to be the best team in baseball. This could be the year.
The pennant will be raised in San Francisco for the first time. The Phillies will try to pitch their way back to the game’s biggest stage for the third time in four years. The Boston Red Sox will try to live up to their offseason hype.
The dirt has been watered. The lines are chalked. The smell of the freshly cut grass lingers in the air. Pine tar is spread up the first 18 inches of the bats.
Tell Fenway Park to strike up “Sweet Caroline” again and “Tessie” after a Red Sox win. Wrigley fans can join in the infamous “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” singing during the seventh-inning stretch.
Each jersey is pressed. Each light and each seat in the stands has been checked as the scoreboard lights up for the first time.
Contracts are finalized. Lineups are penciled in. But the road to the postseason is anything but certain.
Summer nights will soon settle in where there is no better place to be than at the ballpark.
The boys of summer.
Inside the stadium, concession lines will form as hot dogs are cooked. Ketchup, mustard, and all of the condiments of your choice.
Sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cracker jacks.
Fans willing to shell out $14 for a hot dog and beer, and not ashamed to do so—just for a chance to witness something great. The chance to see someone great. The chance to witness history.
A towering 450-foot home run. Hustling around first base and sliding into second for a double down the line. Taking one step too many and getting caught in a pickle. A 6-4-3 double play.
Stains on the jersey from a diving catch deep in the outfield. Collisions at the plate.
Infuriated managers. Ejections.
Catchers giving pitchers signs. Pitchers shaking off the catchers' signs.
A suicide bunt to score the tying run. A grand slam. Hitting for the cycle.
Extra innings. Game-winning walk-off hits. Fireworks. Excitement. Celebrations.
Grown men dog-piling on top of each other.
Baseball brings euphoric emotions to each of its fans.
Dreams begin for children today. Dreams for their team. Dreams of playing someday.
Dreams for adults. This game allows them to become kids. Fathers and sons enjoying their first glimpse of the new season while playing hooky from work and school.
We witnessed extraordinary events in 2010: The Year of the Pitcher, the National League All-Stars ending its 14-year drought, Trevor Hoffman’s 600th save, Mark Buehrle’s Opening Day defensive play of the year, Bobby Cox’s retirement, Stephen Strasburg’s debut, the passing of The Boss, Jim Joyce.
What will be in store for 2011?
Button up your jersey. Tighten your newly polished cleats. Adjust your cap and get ready. The boys are back in town, ready for a 162-game dogfight for the chance to be crowned the world’s greatest.
Baseball is back.
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