April 1, 2011

Life begins on opening day of the baseball season

Frank at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres

This day is more important to me than Christmas. Yesterday was my 59th opener, the first being in 1952 as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan when I was nine years old. The long months between baseball seasons make me appreciate the grand old game even more. Sure, I enjoy basketball and football, and follow closely my favorite teams.

But I live and die with baseball and especially my favorite team, the San Diego Padres. I started out as a Brooklyn fan. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and when the New York Mets were created in 1962, they became my team. Like the Dodgers, the Barnings moved to California. During our first season while living in San Diego (1983), we quickly became Padres fans.

Yesterday, the Padres opened their 2011 season with an 11-inning 5-3 victory in St. Louis. The great Albert Pujols, baseball's best current player, went 0-5 against San Diego pitching, including grounding into three doubles plays. It was the worst game in his illustrious 10-year career.

There is no Padres game today, so I have extra time to bask in the glow of a classic victory. Thomas Boswell wrote a book, "Time Begins on Opening Day." Vivian and I like to say that life begins on opening day.

It is a day that should be declared a national holiday.

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