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And just like that, after the long, cold winter, the MLB season is back in full force and the fantasy baseball season has officially begun. Happy Opening Day to you all. Worth the wait? I’d say so. We got a nice, little taste on Sunday night as the Astros won their very first game as an American League team and then Monday was just one of those days that made you feel like a little kid all over again. We saw some great baseball played with the promise of so much more to come.
So it was Opening Day on Thursday….again. And while some people will mock the fact that MLB pretty much has four different Opening Days, I’m going to relish in it. For me, the offseason drags on for far too long. Sure, football is a nice distraction, but I’ll take a heated pitcher’s duel for nine innings any day. And that’s exactly what we saw on Thursday – outstanding pitcher’s duels. Roy Halladay squaring off against Erik Bedard, John Lester versus Justin Verlander, Johan Santana against Tommy Hanson, and Stephen Strasburg taking on Ryan Dempster. Some of the other matchups were good, but the show that these eight pitchers put on the other day was top notch. Maybe some of the offenses each guy faced were a tad anemic (yes, Pittsburgh, I’m looking in your direction), but overall, you have to love watching a guy standing on the hill pulling strings on pitches left and right, making hitters look just plain silly in the batter’s box.
To say that I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like a kid on Christmas morning is an understatement. Doesn’t matter how old I am, doesn’t matter how many Opening Days I’ve seen or been to, I get the same feeling I had when I was a kid heading to the stadium for the very first time – pure, unabashed excitement. It’s like Ray Kinsella when it hits him that he’s pitching to Shoeless Joe Jackson. It’s like Ben, Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, when he gets his new set of Red Sox season tickets. It’s like those kids in The Sandlot gazing at either the fireworks or Wendy Peffercorn. Just pure joy; complete euphoria. That’s what the start of the baseball season does to me.