Until last season, I had never been to Opening Day. I have now earned another badge validating my baseball fan/nut status by attending Opening Day at "the Safe"(I hate that...) where the M's took on Division rival Oakland. It was a magical day, peeling the wrapper off of a new season like a birthday gift full of wonder. My buddy Officer John Baker(pictured above with myself) got a bunch of tickets in the upper deck, where we witnessed Felix Hernandez fireball his way through the A's lineup for 8 innings of 3-hit shutout ball, striking out 12(!). Only Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez have struck out that many hitters on Opening Day. Unfortunately for Johnny, King Felix did all this against Baker's beloved A's(Baker is an Oakland native transplanted to the NW). I could also hear the cringing and moaning in disgust of my cousin Matt, who grew up loving the A's, idolizing the Bash Brothers, while living just East of the Berkley Hills. It may seem that Opening Day is just another baseball game, to absolute morons, but it is a day to renew hope for your favorite teams and players and look for answers to questions(will Richie Sexson be able to hit 45 HRs whilst staying below the Mendoza Line???). I am forever grateful to Baker for inducting me into the gang of fans that are simply bloodthirsty for baseball and just have to go to Opening Day, like a junkie that cannot wait for the next hit.
Oh yeah, the rest of that day was pretty awesome, too. Baker, myself and friends got stoopid smashed wandering around downtown after the game; watching the NCAA Basketball Championship game on big screens at odd angles and arm wrestling loudly at the Owl 'n Thistle. My solemn vow for this year is to maintain some sanity and sobriety after Opening Day so that I can remember it that much more clearly. Spring Training games are less than 5 days away and Opening Day feels to be just around the corner!!!!!