I won't bore anyone with the details, but I'm having a bit of a hard time lately. It's nothing like what H.B. has been going through (and for that I count my blessings), but generally, it's been a bummer.
But today it was 65 and balmy, and I went out front tonight in the soft night breeze and watched the world go by, comfortable in my Red Sox jacket and sweatpants, and at least for a minute, I felt ok.
I wasn't going to watch the game, but I remembered what my friend at work had said as I came back in, about baseball lifting the weight of the world off my shoulders in the spring. I sat down and turned the game on.
Daisuke is struggling again as the game opens. Not as badly as he did at the Tokyo Dome, but his location seems off. Still, there he is in bright colors on the screen, pirouetting through his delivery, and even though he's a little wobbly to start things off, in my low mood, he looks beautiful.
Every time Joe Blanton delivers a pitch, I think for a second he's caught his spike. What a weird delivery. The Sox go down in order. Again.
I click the TiVo button at a commerical and flip through the pregame show. Josh Beckett threw 64 pitches today in a spring training simulation and could be slated to start as soon as the Toronto series. Dennis Eckersley, in a pinstriped suit and dashing pink tie, gets glittery-eyed and excited about Manny.
I pause while fast-forwarding through the pregame show at the "Tickets Still on Sale!" false-advertising commercial where they show the four home runs in a row from last year.
"That one's headed for New Hampshire!"
"Number four in a row!"
"They're playing Home Run Derby early this year, at Fenway Park!"
Next pregame segment. A soggy-looking Opening Day at Wrigley Field. Sake Fukudome (!) clubs a three run homer off none other than a wooly-bearded Eric Gagne, looking sullen in a Brewers uniform. Wrigley rejoices. I pause for a moment to be happy for my friend Brian. And for myself, because Eric Gagne deserved it.
Flip back live. In Oakland, they're booing the umpires. Boo, evil Red Sox. Getting guys out at second base.
Back on the pregame. Pedro Martinez gives up a two run homer. Pedro Martinez gives up a solo homer. Pedro Martinez grabs his hamstring. Theo Epstein looks like a genius.
Flip back live. Daric Barton flubs a routine popup, but Lowell is victimized by a "wide strike zone," as Don Orsillo puts it. They're roaringly happy about this in the Oakland stands. Mike Lowell turns to argue as the inning ends.
In this new season the echoes of last year are still heavily present. Just seeing Daisuke's windup carries the same nostalgia as the first breath of spring out on my front porch. Memories of May.
Some of those echoes are bittersweet just now. But even in the slow early innings of a West Coast start, baseball is fundamentally, reassuringly, the same.
Happy Opening Day, everybody.