Opening day is more than providing the regular opportunity for a family to drop hundreds of dollars at the ball park. It is more than hoping that the mighty Casey might not strike out yet again. It is more than singing, mostly out of tune, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with thousands of strangers and liking it. It gives you the opportunity to explain to the youth of America all that is good about Cracker Jack (starting with what it actually is since they probably don't know) and all that is wrong with the designated hitter rule. Don't even get me started with the condiment of choice for hot dogs: Mustard or Ketchup (in case you were wondering I'm completely in the Gulden's spicy brown camp - as all of you should be as well. Don't get me wrong, ketchup has its place in the world but that is only on cheeseburgers and fries, not on Sabrett's finest).
Opening day is about beginnings - it is the de facto start of spring. Some may argue that Easter is the unofficial date of spring sprunging or the Sunday of "The Masters" but neither, while they have their own place in the calendar, compares to the sound of the first fastball hitting leather, the first crack of a bat, or the first roar of the crowd. All the teams are in first place and all of them are in last place. Hope springs eternal.
But, gasp, as hard as it may be to believe, Opening Day not an official national holiday. It is clearly in the second tier of holidays where most don't get off from work but all should (other examples include St. Patrick's Day, Valentines Day, Halloween, my birthday - you get the point). I'm sure I am not alone in believing that we all should at least get a national floating holiday for this event. After all, what do many think are the last two words of the anthem?
PS: No, "the home of the brave" has nothing to do with Chipper Jones since he named a child after a stadium, Shea, that doesn't exist anymore. Really.