A Day of Seasonal Rebirth

 


 
 

Okay, we are about eight hours away from the first “real” pitch of 2009. I find it kind of exciting that the current World Champions will debut on the first ESPN telecast trying to again go 162 games and then through the playoffs to regain a spot where they can defend their title. So here we are at the  perfect 0-0 record  that will forever change in our hearts and minds after tonight. It really doesn’t matter to me who wins this contest, because we all win just by having baseball “live” on the television, radio and on MLB.TV again this year. But there is also sorrow involved in this day. For by 3 pm today, some Major League dreams will be realized, and some will have a last second free fall back into the minor league system of their teams or back home to rethink their baseball futures.

 

I remember once reading a quote by newly inducted Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson on Spring Training. He said, “This S### don’t count, This S### doesn’t go on their bubble gum card.” And that is so true of what today truly means. We are finally over with the pretend games, and are about to embark on the quest for greatness that all 30 MLB teams strive for when we report in February each season. I always look forward to this time of the year for many reasons. Be it the time to purchase that new Rays cap, or uniform top, or to know that I will again be in  my second home for the next several months enjoying the sights and sounds of Tampa Bay Rays baseball.
 
 

But I know that everyone enjoys this time of the year for different reasons. It can be a time of renewal and anxious anticipation for some, and also could be the  dark cloud precursor to impending doom and gloom for the people who have doubts and fears about their team. But the first day should always be a day of pure hope and joy. It is the time when the record is clean, and you have endless possibilities in front of you for the coming year.  But with this game tonight also come a level of peril and uncertainty to the season. We are now going to have to came to the realization that some of our team’s goals and aspirations might falter after today. We will lose games, I do not think any of us has a dream of 162-0 for the year. Well, people outside of New York do not think like that. But will the joy of April become dismal in May or June, or can we keep this train running all the way to late October?

 
 

 

But that is what today is all about people.  Plain and simple and with no sugar-coating, tonight’s game is about rebirth and renewal of expectations for all of our teams. Be it the rookie starting the third and second for the San Francisco Giants, or the unproven starters at the bottom of the Oakland A’s rotation. There are hopes and dreams of success and the failures of our rivals. Will the experiment work out in New York by both the Mets and Yankees, or is the swapping of left fielders in Philadelphia a plus or minus in the long run. Questions will be answered, and not all of them will have the results we want to hear this season. Everyone knows who is favored, and who is considered the also-rans.


 

 

 But every year and also-ran take the reins and runs wild for a period of time shocking not only baseball, but the world with their unity and chemistry.  I love that the media has exploded the phrase “This year’s Rays” out to the masses like the team might not be as good, or better in 2009?  I remember Mark Newman, our guru talking about predictions yesterday in my blog entry. In it he stated, ” Actually no one knows anything and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. We all have theories based on various data and intangibles and sentiments, but at the end of the day this is the most competitive balance in Major League history and any of 30 teams can go to the World Series. I should know, I have spent eight years now writing the words “shock the world” over and over on MLB.com. It’s why everyone is fired up this year.”

 

That summarized it all up in one neat paragraph. We all want to be that psychic that can tell you the future by just following the numbers or the trends. But as Newman hinted at in his remarks, this year I think the facts and figures hide the more important aspect of baseball in 2009. We might not have the parity element that the NFL has been moving towards in the last 5 years, but the differences in the 30 teams beliefs for the season actually make each strong in their own sense of the word.  This is the time of the year where the hype is set high, and the possibility of failure is reduced to almost zero. But that is true human nature. We are creatures of a society that craves winners. And for that reason, we have to be totally positive and ooze confidence vibes to survive the intial storm of the season.
 

 
I do not have all the answers. I always give my opinions on here and either you like them or hate them. I  have been lucky to not attract a huge amount of negative comments and attacks, but they do come, and I do not shy from them. That is the greatest thing about being a baseball fan. You can love the fact that David Price is a budding superstar, and that he will control the mound for the coming years. That could be true, but in the same vein, we can disagree on his starting the season in the minors and both exist tog
ether in the stands and cheer for the team. But all that is moot for tonight. For tonight is the true essence of baseball. The first game will be held in the same stadium that saw its home team celebrate their World Series victory.

 

 
         

Emotions will be high in the stands in Philly. We will see a multitude of emotions in that first moments of the game. From tears to cheers, to the barrage of flash bulbs lighting up the night for a brief moment during that first pitch.  Tonight is about the celebration of baseball………….pure and simple. And I know myself, like millions of fans watching from our collective living rooms around the country will all have a moment of true emotion during tonight’s game. But as the Rays showed on the wall of the Budweiser Brewhouse during February’s Fan Fest, The Playoff number is set at 162 tonight, it is the time for every team to start to take those first steps towards their own dreams of raising that trophy into the cool Fall night.  For tonight we start another great chapter in our baseball lives…..version 2009, let’s hope that everyone can see the magic and the possibilities as endless, if not just for one night.

Photo credits:        1) http://www.randomcuriosity.com
                               2) http://www.United Syndicates.com
                               3)  RRCollections
                               4)  http://www.Associated Press.com

16 Comments

Rays – I know exactly how you feel! I was down by Fenway today – and watching the banners being hung and the vendor carts being made ready – it was wonderful! If only the gorgeous weather we had today could be held over for the game tomorrow! I think we are all ready to hear the cry of “Play Ball” and have it mean something!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I was looking at some Opening Day records today, and Boston has lost 6 of their last 8 season openers.
But then again, James Shields is 0-3 with an over 10. ERA in Openers too.
Might be an interesting first game if the weather lets us have some fun.
The White Sox/Royals game has already been cancelled due to snow.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I was looking at the weather a few minutes ago. It’s calling for snow here and rain in Boston tomorrow. I hope it’ll stop at, say, noon…that would work. I’d love to see them play tomorrow since the next game I get on TV is Thursday’s. Figure that Monday and Thursday’s games but not Wednesday’s. Gotta love the cable company and their…logic? Hopefully Shields can improve that record this year!
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Rays, go figure we had wonder weather last week and then Opening Day reappears and snow returns too. Good luck to your Rays. My wife can’t stand that I picked the Yanks. She told me the Rays deserve more credit than you gave them. She wants the Rays to win.
Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

Hey, what’s up! I am commenting to invite you to a contest I am starting for the 2009 MLB season. It’s going to be a pick ‘em contest. Every Friday all us bloggers who are competing will make our picks for the slate of MLB games, and we’ll keep running totals and see who comes out on top. Should be fun, it’s only once a week so it shouldn’t be hard to keep up, let me know if you’re interested!

http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

I guess it is all up to the Baseball gods now as to if a game is going to be played in Boston today.
The only great thing is that it can be rescheduled immediately for Tuesday. But the bad is the Television commitments might make it impossible to be televised on ESPN.
We still have over 4 hours until the scheduled first pitch, and anything can happen in that time period.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That is the way most of the media has played the Rays this spring. No team has ever been to the World Series and lost, and then gotten back into the playoffs the next season. If we do it, we will be the Denver Broncos of the MLB.
But seriously, the experts also say that the AL East might have three teams within a few wins of each other at the top in the end of the year. Hopefully they will have won enough for two of them to get into the playoffs.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That sounds interesting.
I will get back to you either way in the next few days.
I like that idea.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Good luck today. Should be a nice Pitcher’s duel with Beckett & Shields and cold, wet weather. That’s if they even get it in.

Can you identify the picture of the anonymous Ray in my blog. I do not know who it is.

Go Sox!

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

PS I like that pic you have with the Nasty Boy. Where was Hogan? Haha, they are good buddies.

Not sure who the unknown Ray is you are mentioning? The only player in a photo in today’s blog is the Phillies Shane Victorino after they won in Philly last October.
I would love to see what Beckett’s breakdown is during cold weather.
They say that sometimes the cold weather can change a pitcher’s breaking pitches since they are ” feel” pitches during unusually cold or damp weather.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

It’s going to be played Tuesday at 4:05pm. Guess Beckett gets a break. Wonder if they will cover the game tomorrow or not.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

It was in my blog post: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/04/opening_day_eve.html

About the 9th picture down

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

I guess I can wait another day.
I do not want to, but if that is the price I have to pay for Rays baseball, I will just have to keep the anxious energy bottled up for 26 hours.

Rays Renegade

http://raysreengade.mlblogs.com

Yeah Shane! :O) Love the Charlie Brown…he’s my favorite “baseball” cartoon guy!
Just posted pics from Opening Day at CBP!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I thought you might like that Jenn.
I loved that game. I am sorry, but I was rooting for the Braves last night. Not becuase of the series, but because I want to see their outfield have a great year, along with Chipper Jones.
I did have a monster time up there this weekend, and as always, I did have ti put a Phillie fan in their place, but it only hurt for a moment ( him not me).
It is going to be a great year for baseball, once we get these weather issues under control.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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