April 2, 2013

Opening Day Thoughts

There were times this past off season when I thought the 2013 baseball season would never get here.  Checking baseball sites like mlbtraderumors.com every few minutes can be taxing and hunting for nuggets of baseball news can be exhausting.  I get to a certain point when the only thing that can pull me out of the dull drums of winter is real, live baseball.  That’s usually where Spring Training comes in; however, Cheryl and I didn’t get the chance to do that this year.

We managed to fit a little bit of baseball in by going to see the Nebraska Cornhuskers (coached by ex-Angel Darin Erstad) play the U.C. Irvine Anteaters and while that was fun; it made me miss baseball even more.

I got to a point where I didn’t want to read about baseball any more.  I can only read so much about how great the Dodgers are supposedly going to be and how Oakland is the favorite in the AL West.  Not that I care because I usually feel better when the experts don’t pick the Angels.  It’s just that I get annoyed with the hype.

I didn’t really even want to talk about baseball much and I didn’t even want to blog about it.  I just needed the season to start.  I’m sure a lot of you felt the same way.  There’s just no substitute for the game itself.  It's like being in a long car ride as a kid and constantly asking "Are we there yet?" 

Well, we're there!

So… we got a taste Sunday night when ESPN had the Rangers at the Astros.  I didn’t get to watch the whole game, but knowing baseball was being played was almost enough for me… almost.  The icing on the cake was in the Astros beating the Rangers, that’s for sure.

Opening Day is special, but it’s a lot more special when you can actually be at the stadium.  In a perfect world – Cheryl and I would have been in Cincinnati for the opener, but that wasn’t going to be the case.  Instead – I had to arrange my schedule to be near a TV around 1 p.m. to see a little bit of baseball and then continue to follow the game on the radio while in my office.

Opening Day should be a National Holiday.  I mean, c’mon – it would make our lives much easier if that were the case.

I’m usually pretty good at listening to a game and working at the same time – but when it comes to Opening Day – that’s a task that’s much harder than I’d like it to be.  The Angels didn’t help the situation any by playing a nail-biter.  I’m telling you, 161 more like yesterday’s game and I’ll be a basket case if I live that long.

A lot of things go through my mind during a game like yesterday’s 13 inning marathon.  At some point I started to wonder what kind of negative impact losing an extra-inning game would have on the rest of the season.  I know, I know – but I’m only human.

I tried to not second guess Mike Scioscia and the moves he made.   Okay, maybe I let myself indulge a little bit here and there – but it didn’t matter because everything worked out in the long run.

As the game wore on, I kept thinking about how happy Dodger fans must be after their big win over the Giants and how I would hate that if the Angels were to lose.  I’m perfectly fine with Dodger wins so long as I get to enjoy an Angel win at the same time.  Yeah, it’s silly – but there’s nothing worse than a gloating Dodger fan.  Just saying.

Yesterday’s game provided me with some valuable take-aways.  The bull-pen might just be good enough.  Yeah, it’s just one game – but it’s certainly nice to see them get off to a good start.  It’s also nice to know that Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton or Mark Trumbo don’t have to be heroes every game in order for the Angels to win.  It was nice to see Chris Iannetta come up big and comforting to know there are other guys on the team who can carry the load now and then.

It was great to hear Mark Langston paired up with Terry Smith.  I look forward to hearing the two of them on a regular basis.

And then there’s Jered Weaver.  Kudos to the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin for his piece on Jered’s opener.

Shaikin rightfully acknowledges how good Weaver is even when he doesn’t light up the radar gun.  Watching Weaver pitch is a thing of beauty.  He’s becoming more like Greg Maddux every day and that’s definitely a good thing.

Game one is in the books and I’m looking forward to a lot more “good things” in the games to come.  You know me, I always talk about enjoying the journey of the baseball season and thankfully; we all get to saddle up for another adventure.

Baseball is back, baby.  Go Angels.  Make me proud.

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