America’s favorite pastime is alive and well.
This week marked the official opening of a new season
of Major League Baseball, and what a week it has been.
Sunday: Wisconsin native and reigning NFL Defensive
Player of the Year J.J. Watt threw out the ceremonial first pitch of this MLB
season for the Houston Astros on. Monday: The Brewers fought to win in walk-off
fashion against the Colorado Rockies in extra innings. Tuesday Texas Rangers
pitcher Yu Darvish had a perfect game broken up on the last out of the game.
While baseball is not a money draw like college and
professional football, there’s something unique about sitting in the stands for
a baseball game.
I was fortunate enough to be at Opening Day for the
Brewers—my first Opening Day, Monday with my family. It was one of the greatest
experiences of my life.
There was an unrivaled excitement, inside and outside
of Miller Park that I have seldom felt at any other venue.
When my family and I arrived an hour before game time,
the parking lot was already packed, and still filling as we made our way to the
gate. Wisconsin’s state scent of beer and brats hung like a cloud across the
parking lot as infants to the elderly took in the pregame festivities.
We stopped short of the gate where the Bob Uecker
statue had been erected last season so my grandmother could get a picture next
to her most revered Milwaukee legend.
Inside the park throngs of fans strolled this way and
that, none in any hurry to rush through this day lest they miss something.
With my father in the lead, we made our way through the
crowd to the stairs where this concrete and metal Mecca opened up to reveal one
of the greatest sites my eyes will ever behold.
Finely manicured grass, freshly drug dirt, a carefully
crafted pitcher’s mound, the most perfectly lined batter’s box. This was a
Section 112, Row 9, Seat 18. First base line, behind
the Brewers dugout.
Our seats were great, the atmosphere was great, the
game was great. As close to a perfect day as I think you can get.
But what makes days like Opening Day special are the
little things. The beer you have with your dad. Listening to your mom swear
along with everyone else in the sellout crowd after the other team hits a
homerun. The way your grandmother looks wearing your two-sizes-too-big hat to
keep the sun out of her eyes.
Baseball is our game, and Opening Day is our day. It’s
our day to skip class, skip work, skip responsibilities and focus on the truest
of pursuits; happiness.
Monday: I sought out pure happiness, and I found a