It’s hard to believe, but it’s here. No, I’m not talking about the day that my students in History of Pennsylvania get to take their second exam. It’s Opening Day for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.
Now anyone who really knows me knows that I am an avid baseball fan. When I lived in Houston, I attended a few Opening Day games. The most memorable was in 1994 with a group of history graduate students from the University of Houston. I was the only female in the group (big surprise there), but I also was the only one who knew how to complete a scorecard. Yes, you read that right. Barbara Bush and I do have something in common–we both keep score when we attend baseball games (we also have something else in common in that we both know the 41st President of the United States, but she has known him a long longer than I have and under different circumstances–and I know he remembers her, but he certainly doesn’t remember me). It really wasn’t that memorable a game; I do recall that the Astros won in extra innings, but I don’t remember the final score–mainly because I wasn’t there when the game ended. See, I had a Monday night class that semester (my final semester in graduate school), and Opening Day was a day game–so I left after 9 innings to get to class on time.
Two other thoughts…first, about completing the scorecard. When I was younger (back in the dark ages, when we wrote on slates, carried our lunches in metal pails…well, not quite THAT long ago), I used to keep score when watching baseball games on television, when playing Strat-O-Matic, when playing dice baseball…keeping score was just something I did while watching baseball or playing baseball games (which is slightly different from actually playing baseball). I even would calculate batting averages, earned run averages, etc.; the math of baseball always fascinated me. For me, then, completing a scorecard at a baseball game is almost like a ritual; it’s something that provides an historical record of what I saw at that particular game. Second, the opening of the baseball season is a sign of a new beginning, one that means even the Pittsburgh Pirates (who have not had a winning season since Barry Bonds patrolled left field) have a chance to win the World Series.
So to me, it’s time to play ball. And, for anyone who cares…I follow the Red Sox in the American League and the Phillies and Astros in the National League. I have never seen the Red Sox play in person, but I have seen the Philllies and Astros play each other at the Astrodome (I can’t recall how many Astros games I have seen at the Dome or the Juice Box, aka Minute Maid Park). And, if most of the projections hold true…I’ll really enjoy watching the World Series this year.