Welcome to Opening Day — on a Thursday?

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I love baseball. I wish I could throw and therefore play the game, but I grew up watching the New York Mets with dad, being taken to Old Timer’s Day for my birthday, and enjoying the entire experience.Some thirty-two years ago, Bob Rozakis invited me to join his Federal League, in the early days of Rotisserie Baseball (now known worldwide as Fantasy Baseball). I co-owned a team being run by Mike Flynn, who felt he couldn’t manage the weekly requirements and then renamed it the Final Frontiersmen to welcome me aboard.I have been an active member of the Federal League ever since, relishing Auction Day as a highlight of the year. Back when stats were handled with bubble sheets and mailings, I was the statistician, managing the flow of activities. We welcomed newcomers as we bade farewell to others and when Bob retired, he spent the next several years as our auctioneer.It was tremendous fun and I would devout Baseball Weekly and similar publications, staying abreast of the comings and goings of prospects and stars in the making.I finished in the money just once, but it felt good. Since then, though, it’s been a downward slide, largely because the influx of younger, hungrier owners were mainlining ESPN and other online sources. I got busier and couldn’t maintain the pace, still having fun, but finishing lower and lower in the standings.As the last season ended, I realized, it wasn’t fun anymore. I couldn’t keep up, I couldn’t muster the same enthusiasm. After months of deliberation, I finally chose to retire from the last activity I could honestly call a hobby.The pace of teaching while also managing the book projects has left me in such a mental fog that the idea of another season wasn’t appealing. As it is, I woke up this morning, a Thursday, and suddenly the papers were filled with stories about Opening Day. But it couldn’t be. Opening Day is always the first Monday in April, and it used to mean the Reds would start the season with a Noon game to honor their being the first pro ball team. (I grumbled when ESPN’s contract forced a Sunday night game prior to that tradition.) Now, all of a sudden, we’re starting on a Thursday and its March.My Mets kickoff their campaign at 1:10 against St. Louis and I’ve barely paid attention to their horrible spring, Deb and I will hope for the best, expect the worst, and plan to be pleasantly surprised.Sadly, this morning also brought the news that Rusty Staub passed away. I enjoyed watching him play and met him once at an event I was covering for Starlog. It was at FAO Schwartz and he was there as a celebrity to add some local glamor to whatever the toy introduction was about (long since forgotten). We chatted briefly about the event, the current state of the team, and that was it. I suppose it’s apt he leaves us as everything cycles around, and everything is possible.

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One thought on “Welcome to Opening Day — on a Thursday?

  1. I shall miss Le Grand Orange. 🙁 Dellin Betances’ brother (with whom I work) told me the season started early so that the teams could get more days off during the season due to their grueling schedule.

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