Opening Day


Call it what you will. Renewal. A new beginning. A second chance.

It’s not a day for lineup construction concerns or fixating on the state of the franchise. Is the window still open? Hey, unless you’re Bob “the Builder” Castellini, let it go for a day.

So what if Mr. Zips is down on Joey Votto and the Pecota brothers won’t give the Reds so much as a sniff of a chance in the NL Central? So what if they mock the Reds and their pretensions to the NL crown?

That great English king born of the fertile mind of William Shakespeare–Henry V–upon demanding certain dukedoms from the French Prince Dauphin, was mockingly offered “tennis balls” instead. The brash, young king responded thusly:

Tell the pleasant prince this mock of his
Hath turn’d his balls to gun-stones; and his soul
Shall stand sore charged for the wasteful vengeance
That shall fly with them: for many a thousand widows
Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands;
Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down;

There will be time enough to mock out the Cubs and Cardinals. To mock castles down and take the NL Central crown. Now, 161 days stand between Baseball’s first professional team … and home. But enough of all that for now. April 6th was a day to revel in the sights and sounds of a game gone dormant; now newly reborn. The grass as green as you last remembered it. The sound of spikes sliding in the dirt, warm and familiar. Thousands of friends you didn’t know you had wearing red, red and still more red.

Forget Kevin Gregg’s sad outing. His effort is no more a referendum on the state of the 2015 bullpen than Johnny Cueto’s performance informs us about the state of the starting pitching staff.

It was a day to watch Joey Votto move at full speed, to watch new Red Marlon Byrd run down a ball over his head just below my vantage point in left field the way a thoroughbred runs down the field in the home stretch. It was a day to watch Jay Bruce pay homage to the back of his baseball card, not the outlier year of 2014. It was a day to watch Johnny Beisbol take that hill that belongs to him and him only for one last Game No. 1 and deliver us from the evil of defeat. It was a day to watch Mr. 106 snuff out all hope in the 9th before it could find oxygen.

It was a day to remind oneself that the long winter was over. It was a day to take back the sunlight even as the rain came down. Baseball is back in Cincinnati.

It’s Opening Day.

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