Each year the major league baseball season concludes with the World Series in late October, and when it’s all said and done, just one of the 30 teams is able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy and douse each other with champagne as World Champions.
For the fans of whatever team had enough luck, skill and resilience to be crowned the champions this represents a time to celebrate. For the other millions of fans whose teams were not able to reach the promised land, this represents a time to complain to their friends for the next five months about which pitcher should have started in game six of the National League Championship Series.
What many don’t immediately realize, though, is that as one season ends, a new season begins; and it is for this reason that Opening Day is the best time of the year for all MLB fans.
Let me explain.
October is definitely a great time to be a baseball fan, but it is significantly less enjoyable if you don’t have a horse in the race. True baseball fans will continue to watch and follow the playoffs if their team is eliminated or didn’t qualify, but even the biggest MLB fan will tell you that it just isn’t the same as being able to cheer for your own team. The fact is, at the end of the regular season only eight teams make the playoff, which means a lot of disheartened fans who aren’t invested in the resulting matchups.
Opening Day, though, which began Monday, features all 30 teams playing their first game of the season on a completely level playing field.
No matter what a team is projected to achieve in the upcoming season, it takes the field with an even 0-0 record. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of the Red Sox – who finished last season winning their eighth World Series title – or if you are a fan of Astros – who brought their 2013 season to a close as the worst team in the league – on Opening Day, all fans are overcome by a feeling of hope that this season could finally be “the season” for their team. Win or lose, every MLB fan is happy on Opening Day, because either way it’s just one loss or one win in the big picture of a 162-game season.
Most of all, though even if you take away that feeling of hope we feel for the forthcoming baseball season, what makes Opening Day so exciting is how it symbolizes a transition from winter to spring.
For many, including myself, this day signifies the beginning of a shift from constantly sitting inside to finally being able to enjoy great weather, grilled food, good beer and Phillies’ baseball with my friends. After a long, cold and snowy winter, it’s nice to have Opening Day to remind me that nice weather and good times are in the near future.
In its simplest form, Opening Day is the first day of play in the MLB. For the fans, though, it represents so much more than just a bunch of baseball games.
Opening Day symbolizes hope and excitement not only for one’s favorite team, but also for the upcoming spring and summer, and I think it’s this natural relationship between baseball and the changing of the seasons that makes it such a special day for fans nationwide.