Let's take a break from our regularly scheduled political scrum to celebrate a national day of regeneration. In my own twisted mind I like to consider baseball's Opening Day as akin to the weekly sacrament. In both cases the regularly scheduled event is a way to brush off the unpleasantness of the past and look with new hope to the future. In the case of the sacrament we put an end to the previous week's sins and sadnesses and look forward with renewed hope and strength to the new week. In the case of Opening Day we put behind us the fact that the Red Sox did not win the previous World Series (or whatever other team you happen to follow, excluding the Phillies, of course) and the long, cold, baseball-less winter and look forward with renewed hope at the upcoming season. Is this a sacrilegious analogy? Perhaps, but aptness demands its expression.
Opening Day marks the beginning of spring and the end of winter. And for the next seven months baseball will be played every single day. You can no more hope to escape the influence of the game than you can the influence of the sun itself. Not only in the shear number of games played, but in its ubiquity in our culture. Think of the all the baseball phrases we use on a near daily basis: "Out of left (or right) field" for something unexpected, "Safe at home," "Hit a homerun" for doing something well, "Strike out" for failing to achieve a goal, "Three strikes" for giving a person three chances at anything, "Southpaw" for a lefthander, and so many more. The game is engrained in our national psyche and you have no choice but to embrace it.
Our nation has been celebrating Opening Day since around 1876. Opening day 2009 is just another chain in the link between the early game played by teams such as the Cleveland Spiders, the Detroit Wolverines, and the Providence Grays in the 1800's and the game that will assuredly be played in the afterlife in its celestial form (see: no steroids and Yankees go winless year-in year-out).