I normally try to put baseball life in perspective.
It is just a game, just a diversion to real life. Ultimately, what I do for a living is just that, a job. At times, a very cool job and at times, an absolute disaster. Regardless, I try not to make it define me.
All that said, Opening Day is special for me. It always has been. It is rooted in tradition, which is rooted in Baltimore.
This will be the 40th Opening Day of my life (but I am not yet 40, for the record) and I bet you I have been to a major league ballpark for at least 25 of them, probably 30. My current streak is at 13, though not all Camden Yards.
Last year, I opened the season in Seattle watching Erik Bedard. Boy, that seems like a long time ago.
Anyway, Opening Day was like a holiday in my household growing up. My parents didn't think twice about taking us out of school and writing a note that said, "Please excuse the Connolly children for their absence. They got Opening Day tickets."
I remember at one point in the early 1980s that our ticket source dried up and my sisters and I were going to lose our Opening Day streak. So my oldest sister, Ann, took a heroic shot at history.
At the time, she was a bank teller in Lutherville and Hall of Fame broadcaster Chuck Thompson was one of her customers. She told him our predicament and asked if he could help us. We weren't looking for handouts, just a ticket connection. And just before Opening Day, the golden voice of Baltimore sports came through. For a teller at his bank.
Now that I am on the other side of it, I can't imagine how many ticket requests like that Thompson fielded over the years -- one of the reasons he is so unforgettable. That story sticks with me because it just reminds me how much Baltimore valued the start of baseball season back then.
I'm not sure that sentiment remains. But part of me hopes so. Because when I was a kid, Opening Day and the day we were loaded into the station wagon at 6 a.m. for our week "down the ocean" were by far the two best non-holidays of the year.
That's my story. What's your best Opening Day story?