OPENING DAY: WHEN HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL (FOR MOST TEAMS)
For some of you today is simply April 1st, for others it’s April Fool’s Day (just a heads up). However for many today is like a National Holiday although they will likely have to use vacation or personal time to get out of work. It is opening day of the Major League Baseball season with all 30 teams in action.
The Yankees actually take the field first as they host the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx with first pitch scheduled at 1:05. The 10,850 fans allowed inside Yankee Stadium to see Gerrit Cole take the mound better be dressed for a cool and crisp spring day that would be better suited for a football game as temperatures might not reach 50 and it will be windy. The fans won’t care…just happy to be back for the first time since the 2019 season.
The Phillies are also home today as they welcome the Atlanta Braves into Citizens Bank Park for a 3:05 start with Aaron Nola on the mound. 8,880 fans will be allowed into the stadium for early-season home games and just like those at Yankee Stadium they better be bundled up.
The Mets are the last of the three local teams to make their season debut and they will do so on the road in Washington D.C. shortly after 7pm. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom not only has to face the Nationals but temperatures that might dip below freezing during the evening. New Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor can buy extra heaters in the dugout after agreeing on a 10-year, $341 million contract extension Wednesday night.
Despite it not feeling like baseball season the truth is it’s a big step to the return of some normalcy and will be quite a bit different then last season when teams played just 60 games with no fans. Plus all three “local” teams should be good, especially the ones who call New York home. The Yankees are strong favorites to win the AL East, the Mets should challenge the favored Braves in the NL East and the Phillies have to improve on last summer’s big disappointment.
Baseball is not a sprint but a marathon and for the next six-plus months there will be games every day not counting the All-Star break in July. After last season’s shortened season we are back to 162 games…it’s only a long season if you’re team is lousy. I certainly don’t expect that to be the case in New York and even in Philadelphia. Strap in because this could be a lot of fun…although as a life-long Mets fan I’m accustomed to disappointment.