It’s getting to be that time when I start the countdown to Opening Day. Officially it’s the first game of the season but the most anticipated date will be the first game at AT&T Park when the 2014 World Series Championship flag will be raised. That’s less than 120 days from now. But who’s counting?
I am. And so are my baseball friends. It’s time.
The desire to return to the sights, sounds and smells of my second home hasn’t been as intense as in previous years. Having a month of post season play helps. I also did a good job of distracting myself with a 12-day trip to Maui. I brought some baseball with me: a Mad Bum t-shirt and my orange Giants hat, and pictures on my phone. I saw little kids with Posey or Lincecum shirts, and a fair number of Giants shirts walking on the beach. Shane Victorino, former Phillies star most recently with the Red Sox, was on the island interacting with a youth group. I was happy to talk to anyone who was more interested in the World Series than whether the surf was good that day, but there weren’t very many of them. Surfing is king in Hawaii.
Now that I’m home, I’m slowly gearing up for the big wave of anticipation that should hit around the second week of January. Right now, I’m trying to find just the perfect shirt to wear for my picture with the THREE World Series Trophies scheduled next weekend. Yes, that’s three trophies. That never gets old. I’m getting used to these championships in a way, but the first one in SF in 2010 will always be my favorite.
The other night I watched ‘Legends 2010′ and relived that season and the selfless team that would go on to win 2 more championships in only 5 years. I found myself choking up as the emotion of 2010 came tumbling back. My mother had passed away in January, and we’d gone to many games together over the years. Watching the Giants win in 2010 was difficult not having her to share it with, but I’m sure their win was due partly to her heavenly intervention. Her memory was with me at many games that season, along with her hat and favorite Giants aloha shirt.
The emotions of 2010 also included my father, who taught me about baseball and would share the previous night’s game results with me every morning as I was growing up. He and my 4 uncles taught all of us cousins what it meant to love baseball and to be Giants fans. (See Baseball Dads) The 2010 championship was bittersweet for those of us whose parents were intertwined with our love of the game. Baseball is definitely handed down through families.
Those emotions carried through to 2011. At the Junior Giants lunch, I got to look into the eyes of about 12 players and coaches and just say ‘Thank you.’ It was hard to do without choking up, so I came prepared with a note explaining how I felt. It came in handy with Andres Torres. I looked into his eyes and tried to thank him, but couldn’t talk so I handed him my note. He looked at it quizzically and asked, ‘Do you want me to sign it?’ I replied, ‘No, just read it.’ When he looked up from the paper, he had tears in his eyes. He grabbed both my hands and simply said ‘Thank you” back to me. I’ll always treasure that moment.
I think of the emotions of 2010, and of the teamwork and joy from the 2012 and 2014 seasons, and I know that I’m getting closer to missing baseball. Hopefully those 120 days before Opening Day will go very fast.
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby