Opening Day

Here in the Midwest, the first really nice day has an almost sacred sort of quality to it. When the thermometer creeps above 60, it compels Midwestern homeowners to journey outside and commune with their little piece of earth. There’s something sacred about all of it; you feel the warmth of the sun as you gather up all of the limbs and brush that fell over the course of the winter. You marvel at the greenish hue returning to the grass as you tidy up the flowerbeds where daffodils poke their colorful heads out. Neighborhood kids knock the cobwebs off of bikes and scooters and spill into the streets. That’s what yesterday was like in my neck of the woods, and I took full advantage. My dog Charlie did as well.

All of this is wonderful, especially during a worldwide pandemic. I forgot about that for a while today, and everything felt almost normal for a minute or two. At least, until I remembered that today was supposed to be Opening Day.

Ordinarily, I’d be making plans to tune in. Preferably on 700 WLW, and ideally in my car, out for a country drive. Or maybe out in my garage, working on a project or two. Baseball really sounds best on AM Radio; it’s the format that offers the sharpest contrast between the steady buzz of the crowd and the telltale crack of the bat. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to baseball games in person, and I’ll tune in on TV as well. But radio will always have the softest spot in my heart.

MLB is going to re-air the Reds 2019 Opening Day game, which was a great performance by Luis Castillo. I haven’t decided if I want to tune in or not. Baseball has been a part of my spring ritual for a decade, since I was a teenager. The fact that it won’t be there today, or tomorrow, or the next month, or maybe not at all this year, makes this COVID-19 crisis hit home as much as anything else I could imagine. I like minor league baseball too, and we were planning to take Charlie to one of the “Bark in the Park” games that the Indianapolis Indians put on. Like so many other things, that is on hold indefinitely.

I know that there are many more important things in life. But today will be a tough one for many of us as we lose another layer of normalcy. If we want any shot of baseball coming back anytime soon, we HAVE to stop the spread of COVID-19. So be kind, stay safe, and STAY HOME. This virus is a strike we can’t afford to take.

About Brian Keith Wallen

Singer-songwriter and guitarist from Indiana. Proud dog dad.
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