We’re almost there. (Image from Michael Cook)
It’s finally here. Opening Day! We’ve survived another winter without baseball. All winter long, we look forward to pitchers and catchers reporting, not because we really want to see starting pitchers throw two innings and call it a day, but rather because it means that opening day is another step closer. Spring training has always seemed like a concession to me. The fans would rather have more “real” baseball, but the players can’t be expected to just jump back in without a little bit of warm-up first. Actually, I bet some players wouldn’t mind a little less spring training either, but instead we all settle for an appetizer of spring training before we get to the good stuff. So, as has happened for years upon years, we eagerly await the team coming north to start the season.
That’s the thing about baseball. It is history, one of the joys of being a baseball fan is relating stories of the awesome feats that we witnessed. Whether it was Johan’s 17K game, or the 2006 miracle run of the Twins, we’re saving those memories for people who come after us who didn’t get to witness them in person. The coolest thing is that baseball history is getting longer and longer. Every year we add another season, and sometimes we find that baseball goes back a little bit further than we originally thought. Here’s a story of one of the oldest known baseball games, which occurred in 1843 and was hosted by the New York Magnolia Ball Club, not Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright. It includes this image of a baseball game from around the same time, and this quote from Michael Walsh, one of the founders of the New York Magnolia Ball Club:
[P]arties of whole-souled fellows are going to express their gratitude to Heaven for its manifold blessings, to-morrow, by playing ball and eating chowder. They could not have selected a more appropriate and sensible method of doing it, as a man is never on so good terms with his God and fellow men, as when he is enjoying himself in healthy and rational manner.
So, grab a bowl of chowder and let’s start this thing off with a look at the Twins first opponent of the ’08 season, the LA Angels.