My plan was to write something sanguine and sincere and profound about Opening Day, as the Reds ready themselves to take the field on Monday in the town where professional baseball was born. Where Pete Rose drilled infinite, hopeless pitches onto empty outfield grass. Where Barry Larkin conquered the space up-the-middle like a magnetic drainpipe. Where Jay Bruce launched division-clinching bombs over the centerfield wall. Where Joey Votto graces us with his hitting acumen. Where Aroldis Chapman redefines the word “fastball.” I wanted to write something hopeful and proud about a city whose teams have been defined by cynicism and disappointment for over two decades, even when things went relatively well—sure, we made the playoffs, but there goes our QB’s knee…sure, we made the playoffs, but we couldn’t even muster a single hit…sure, we made the playoffs, but the Texans have our number…sure, we made the playoffs, but we blew a 2-0 series lead in front of our home crowd. I wanted to write something about how things could be different, should be different, and, if nothing else, will be fun to watch.
And then the great Paul Daugherty—proverbial scribe for the Cincinnati sports fan and his or her generally anguished outlook—did it for me, with all the optimism and anxious anticipation one could want.
The window to the radio booth will be open and the sounds will pour in, timeless. Teams will have been introduced, jets will have flown over, the Anthem will have been delivered with heartfelt precision. Things will be right in the world, and Marty will offer this:
“If you’re ready now. . .’’
Are we ready?
Who wouldn’t be?
Read it. Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps things will turn out better this time. At least for today, we can believe that much.
And if Doc’s sunny assurance isn’t enough, this dude totally griddled up a pancake with the Reds “C” directly in the middle, the emblem of our hometown ballclub perfectly crafted by Bisquick and non-stick spray and powers beyond our comprehension.
If you aren’t convinced by optimism, the prophecy of a celestial flapjack shall surely do the trick.
Opening Day is upon us. At least for today, we have that much.
Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds