Today is "Opening Night", signifying the return of that best of seasons, the April to October baseball season. The properly-named OPENING DAY is tomorrow, kicking off the full-on start of the 2006 season. Up until about 5 years ago, the first pitch of the season always took place in Cincinnati, as it is the oldest franchise in MLB. Cincinnati has an Opening Day Parade every year, for godssakes -- Let them keep the first pitch. The loss of this fine tradition due to grubbing after Sunday night TV advertising cash is a bummer, as are the constantly changing names of ballparks, depending on which huge utility coughed up some bucks for two years for the naming rights. I have no idea where teams are playing anymore by reading the name. I miss stadiums with permanent names like Three River, County, Candlestick and Riverfront. Even if those stadiums were boxy behemoths, at least they weren't called stuff like "PETCO Park".
Wonder how the steroid scandals will shake out, and what will be done about all the record-breaking years of hitting between 1997-2003? McGuire, Bonds, Palmeiro, Sosa etc. are all big bunch of cheaters (check out the charts in today's Times showing how much their home run production went up for those years) but the records will probably have to stand. How can you pull them all out of the books? And what would be in their place? Will Commissioner Selig take the fall for not putting any serious penalties for steroid use until 2005? Lots of questions to be answered as it unfolds more and more. But here's to hoping Bonds doesn't break Aaron's total home run record of 755....
The Reds will suck again this year, for the sixth season running. Amusingly, we now have Bronson Arroyo as our #2 pitcher, the cornrowed rock-n-roller formerly of Boston. Eric Milton will hopefully get his ERA under 6.00; Adam Dunn will hit 40 homers, plus strike out 150 times; and maybe a healthy Griffey Jr. will play more than 130 games. Lots to look forward to in the Queen City. Ha.
God Bless baseball and Daylight Savings Time. Oh, and p.s. baseball should open on a gorgeous spring afternoon, not on a Sunday night, or in another country. Thank you.