Opening Day Brings Hope To The Baseball Masses

There’s no one day in sports that gives as much hope to the masses as Opening Day. Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is something more than just the beginning of a season. It’s hope realized even for just one fleeting day. Fans of all teams can come together and pray that their collective team can somehow, against everything, give them a long, winning, and meaningful summer. This is what makes Opening Day so special, but it’s just one of the many things that does.

If you’re a fan of Major League Baseball, once the first of April rolls around you are ready to get back into first pitch strikes, throw them strike them out double plays, and of course the long ball. Even if every analyst on ESPN has your team already out of it you find yourself dressed in your team colors ready for whatever is next. Opening Day is also the beginning of a new season. A season where, much like the actual season that surrounds it, hope springs eternal. No longer does winter’s cold bog you down. It’s spring and baseball is on. It’s time to play ball!

This is why so many will pay enormous amounts of money and sit in the cold to watch what at the end of the day is a seemingly meaningless baseball game on day 1. This is why people take long lunches and sometimes call in sick completely from work so they can just get a quick glimpse of that first pitch. This is why I can wax poetic about the first game in a 162 game season! That’s the allure of Opening Day and 2011’s version was no different.

2011’s Opening Day featured the defending champions San Francisco Giants losing to their arch rival LA Dodgers in a pitcher’s duel that went to the very end. It featured the upstart Cincinnati Reds coming from behind to walk off the field as victors on a game winning home run. And for better or worst, it featured the beloved and equally hated Yankees coming out on top.

All of these events were great, but none of them equaled the joy of having baseball back in our lives. However, thanks to Opening Day some needed hope returned also.

MLB: Yankees & Red Sox Open the Season

Sunday night marked the season debut for Major League Baseball.  The Yankees faced off against the Red Sox in Boston at Fenway Park.  The game initiating the first contest between the biggest rivalry teams  in baseball, and arguably, in sports period.  The game didn’t take long to heat up.  Only a couple innings in, Jorge Posada hit one of the shortest homeruns possible off the foul pole in right field.  The very next batter, Curtis Granderson, smacked a solo shot over the right center fielder giving the Yankees an early 2-0 lead.  The Red Sox would score 1 run in the bottom of the inning and the score would remain 2-1 until the 4th inning when the Yankees added 3 more.  With a 5-1 lead going into the 5th, the Red sox would begin their comeback.

Beckett had already been punched out of the game by the Yankees in the 5th inning.  Therefore, Sabathia looked to be the more prepared pitcher as manager, Joe Girardi, opted to leave him in to start the 6th.  The decision to leave him in was odd because Sabathia had given up a couple hard hits in the 5th and allowed the Red Sox a 2nd run, which easily could’ve been more.  After escaping a potential disaster in the 5th, Sabathia was up to an 85 pitch count which most managers would’ve assumed enough to call in a relief pitcher.  Instead, Sabathia came out for the 6th inning and let on a couple base runners, gave up a couple more hits and put runners in scoring position.  Still, Joe Girardi stuck with him until he had given up 3 more runs, ultimately leaving the Yankees and Red Sox tied at 5 going into the 7th.

The Yankees came back with 2 runs of their own, only to give them right back to Boston.  With the score all tied at 7, the Red Sox put 1 more run up in the 8th which ultimately sunk the Yankees, having been put on the losing end of an 8-7 thriller at Fenway.

The Yankees look to avenge their loss on Tuesday night at Fenway.  Needless to say, you can bet on an exciting game because neither team is ever counted out despite a several run deficit.  I believe that unless one of them is down by 10 runs, you can continue to call it a close game.