An Ode to Opening Day


The grass is a radiant green as it sparkles in the glistening sun.  This is as green as the grass will be all season, so savor it.  Your team has not lost yet.  Enjoy it.

Bud Norris

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Ignore the critics.  Honestly who cares what they have to say?  It is Opening Day.  Astros and Rangers.  That is it; they are the only two teams playing.  All eyes in baseball are on Houston.  When Bud Norris takes the hill and peers in to Jason Castro for the sign and fires the first pitch of the baseball season, the possibilities are endless.

Nothing will feel as good later in the season as it will tonight.  The hot dogs will not smell as good.  The ballpark will not look as nice.  Unfortunately the stands likely will not be as full.  And unless something changes, it will be increasingly harder to watch the Astros each night for a multitude of reasons.

But tonight, forget about it.  Who cares?  Opening Day is here, we made it.  Think nothing but good thoughts as you settle in to enjoy the game.  You have 161 more games to fret over, dissect, and worry about.  Just take the first game of the season for what it is, a beautiful thing.

However, this season it takes on something more than that.  We are all embarking on a new era together.  It is almost fitting that it will be done as members of the American League West.  Whatever your feelings, thoughts, and emotions are about the move, lose them.  Now I am not saying you have to like it, or can’t be upset about it.  This is certainly a forum for you to vent.  But it is done.  There is nothing we can do about it.  The only thing to do is embrace it and move forward.

Being an Astros fan in 2013 is almost like getting in on the ground floor of Apple, Microsoft, or Google.  You will look back on this moment fondly.  Sure there is pain and suffering now, but it will be worth it.  The Astros are building something special here.

I know it is quite difficult these days to buy into anything the Astros are doing thanks to Jim Crane and his apparent lack of public relations acumen.  But we don’t really have much of a choice.  We are stuck with Crane, and aside from his multiple blunders in the fan relations department, I think ultimately it will be a good marriage.  But that depends more on the success of the stable of prospects Houston currently has and the execution of Jeff Luhnow’s plan.

In some ways this season is quite liberating.  Nobody expects the Astros to do much of anything on the field.  If they end up finishing with less than 100 losses the season is a success.  We do not have to stress out each night on individual results.  Instead we can focus on the minor league exploits of George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, Carlos Correa and many others.  And then hopefully in September, Springer and Singleton will be in Astros’ uniforms.  That is what this season is about.

Jason Castro finally being healthy.  Chris Carter slamming 30 home runs.  Jose Altuve returning to the All-Star game.  Bud Norris growing into an ace.  Brett Wallace fulfilling his potential.  That is what I am looking forward to this season.

Emotion in the dugout.  Aggressiveness on the base paths.  Playing the game the right way.  The leadership of Bo Porter as we all embark on this journey together.  The enduring plan and vision of Luhnow.  That is what this season is about.

Ultimately just remember, baseball is back.  Scream it from the rooftops.  Take in and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the ballpark.  It is time to bond with your April to September family.  No longer is there a void in your life at night.  It is like the return of an old friend.  Instead of talking about what might or could happen, you now get to talk about what is happening.  To say I am excited would be an understatement.

And do you know what?  I am not going to let Jim Crane ruin it.  Comcast Houston does not get to ruin it either.  Nor does Peter Gammons or any other members of the media who have been overly critical.  Houston Astros baseball is back for 2013 and regardless of anything else that is a good thing.