Anticipation. Excitement. The day we had all been waiting for. That day when life went back to normal and all was right in the world. Opening Day. Opening Day never disappoints. Whether it’s your 19th, 14th, or 2nd, the sorrow that has been held up for so long bubbles up and explodes into pure joy. It’s only a game, they say. Just the first of many. It’s more than a game, though. The grass is green again, the sky is blue, and a ball makes that THWUMP sound falling into a leather glove. Hope and joy abound. Everything is alright now. It’s Opening Day.
T’was the night before Opening Day. I couldn’t sleep. Neither could you, or Dexter Fowler or Troy Tulowitzki. I stayed up late making my sign, since I would be awake ‘til two anyway. Surprisingly, I eventually fell asleep. When I woke up, it was Opening Day. I made it.
Those who watched the sunrise no doubt heard the joyous music of the dawn of baseball season. I know I heard the birds singing louder by the time I woke up. I went out and got the Denver Post, and picked up the beautiful purple plastic. "It’s Rockies Opening Day!" So it was true, and I wasn’t dreaming. The whole morning leading up to the time we drove down Park Avenue, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was getting harder and harder to breathe. The fact that we ended up parking a mile away and had to walk all the way from North Denver didn’t help.
As soon as I walked under the last overpass, I could smell it. Baseball. Coors Field. Opening Day.
All of downtown was electrified, some people even more due to mass consumption of alcohol. It was like a huge party, with a bunch of freebies. I got a few before I went to stand in line at the gate at 11:45.
The green gates eventually creaked open, letting the cheering, hungry-for-baseball fans in.
Remember that feeling you got when you went to your first game and you saw the field for the very first time? That’s the same feeling you get on Opening Day. The gates open, the concourse parts, and suddenly there’s this green mass gleaming below you, the thing that your favorite game in the world is played on. Nothing else matters, except that you’re standing in front of a field and baseball is going to begin on that field. All the waiting you’ve been doing for what it seems like an eternity is finally paid off.
You get that same feeling all over again, but this time it’s different. It’s only stronger now. You know something magical is gonna happen on that field. You’ve seen it before. Felt it. Touched it. Tasted it. It’s the most wonderful feeling, that feeling you get on Opening Day, like falling in love all over again. Yeah, for love and for baseball, one would do anything: Like pay ridiculous amounts of money after standing in line for tickets at the crack of dawn. The price of the ticket doesn’t matter, because that feeling is priceless and nothing compares.
Running towards the first base dugout to seek autographs, I wanted to run out on the field and hug it. I didn’t of course because I didn’t want to get kicked out, and instead stood for one and a half straight hours until there was any glimmer of hope for autographs. Meanwhile, Root Sports filmed me with my sign.
Finally people by the dugout started cheering and screaming like crazy. Tulo trotted out- and in a purple jersey! "It’s an Opening Day miracle!" I thought. I couldn’t believe it. After four years, the bold stunning dark deep purple jerseys had risen.
We yelled at the players as they came out for stretching. "Well, looks like there’s no luck for today. Everybody should just leave," a kid said behind me. "Dude," I said turning around, "I am not letting you in front of me!"
Finally, Ryan Spilborghs came out, and began signing away. I fumbled through my Rockies magazine for his picture, and he signed it.
One of the kids behind me kept yelling "Spilly! Spilly!" in a hopeful voice. "I hear you, man!" Spilly said. Everyone laughed. I then told Spilly how I couldn’t wait to hear what his at-bat song was, because he was the only one who chose good ones. He chuckled. It ended up being revealed later: "Roxanne". Okay. Go Rox, then.
The ushers kicked us out, and I flew up the stairs to my seats in the third deck to catch the rest of introductions.There should’ve been dramatic music as I walked through the tunnel.
I then looked at the very large crowd, and it was very purple. Maybe the purpliest crowd I’ve seen on Opening Day, even though there were a few red speckles. And they were cheering loud for all the players as they lined up for the National Anthem.
"And the Rockies purple glare…the bombs bursting in the (insert opposing team here) hair…" Oh, yeah. I love America.
Rockies 2011 Opening Day National Anthem (via prettyinpurple94)
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out, which meant the real first pitch was coming soon. I decided to make a quick hotdog run at Grille Works. I had a hankering for a foot long for my holiday meal this year.
The combination of ketchup, mustard, grilled peppers, onions, and tomatoes was quite delicious. I sat down, and it was time. Time for baseball.
The first pitch was a strike. Ah, yeah. It was officially back. Baseball time. Time for foul balls and pickoff attempts, running catches and swinging strikeouts, cheers and jeers, runners on base and dirty changeups, and the crack of wood against leather. And after a while, time for a Coke. Those pistachios were making me thirsty.
Being without baseball, you miss a lot of things. Like standing and clapping after a homerun.
Or cringing at Tulo’s walk-up song. Or yelling at the fans to STOP DOING THE WAVE. Or laughing at the drunkards in the row behind you because "Ubaldo, why don’t you field your position?" in the ninth inning and "Why’d we resign Deter Fowler this offseason. I don’t think he’s that good. Yeah, who else did we sign: him and Tulo and Cargo. What’s that one pitcher’s name?"
Or flipping your cap to start a rally.
Or getting frustrated about runners left on base. The outcome may not be good, but the intensity is awesome. It reminds you that you’re alive again. So we ended up losing. But hey, we got extra innings, and more value for the dollars spent on tickets! Ah, it didn’t really matter to me. Everything was still alright. It’s just the first of many games. Opening Day is Opening Day is Opening Day, meaning it’s awesome no matter the outcome. I feel we outplayed the Diamondbacks. They had the benefit of a few calls going their way and…whoa! Déjà vu. No, I wanted the Rockies to win, but they didn’t. I’m not going to complain. My world was a mile high.
I walked back to the car with the sweet music of a saxophone echoing throughout the streets. I smiled as I recognized the tune as Amazing Grace. And what is so graceful as the game of baseball?
I went to my grandma’s house after and watched myself on TV and drank another Coke.