The Magic Returns on Opening Day

April 1, 2011

The Magic is back.  Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. For a baseball fan Opening Day starts a new year. It’s history, hope, loyalty, and fulfillment. Magic.

It was a full Opening Day with games on ESPN beginning at noon and ending 10 hours later. It was a telethon. In addition the local club – the Brewers – was on against a tough division rival. I planned to enjoy all of it. 

The ESPN lineup included the Tigers v Yankees; Padres v Cardinals; Giants and Dodgers. The Brewers would be visiting the Reds. 

I was born in Jersey and a Yankees fan.  The game was a yawner. But the Pinstripes had to start hot or the hated Red Sox would clinch by Memorial Day.

The Cards-Pads game was starting. The Red Birds have Superman, Carpenter, and what? Still, they would whack San Diego.

But it was all about the Brewers. The Crew was starting the season playing the Reds. Cincinnati had owned the Brewers in the Queen City but many experts thought the two teams would battle for the division and a playoff spot. Sure the Reds looked good on paper, and had last year to show it. But they had won more than 40 games in the 7th or later. Certainly they wouldn’t be able to do that two years in a row. 

The Brewers were ready. They came out hitting, scoring 3 runs in the first inning, including back-to-back homers by the first two hitters. And they were up 4-1 when my son Andrew came home from school. 

I was on the computer when he walked in and we quickly moved to the couch to get a better view of the victory. My son and I were experiencing Opening Day together. Magic.

It was going as planned. The Brewers had received a quality start, hit the long ball and got two good innings from the pen. Axford was on in the 9th to close out a 6-3 Opening Day win.  Then the roof fell in.

Axford wasn’t sharp giving two straight hits. A force out was botched. And suddenly it was 6-3, bases loaded and no outs. Ouch. They couldn’t blow could they? Axford got a strike out for the first out. A long line drive resulted in a run with the second out. Still, the Nicol boys were confident. One out to go.

And it never came.

The Reds catcher, Ramon Hernandez, hit a 300+ foot rocket to right field. Game over, 7-6. The Reds had done it again. This time against the local boys. On Opening Day. 

I used a word I shouldn’t with a kid around. Andrew said “Stupid Brewers” and left the room.

Ten minutes later I heard him going through laundry. I called, “What are you looking for, pal.” “Nothing.” He was down to the basement, then upstairs. Then he was going to the back door. “Where you going?.” “Out side.” He’s 11. I went to the windows in the back.                     

Andrew was wearing his Braun jersey, Brewers hat and batting gloves. There was a ball on his batting tee. He cradled his Easton while consulting a Sporting News issue. With confidence he walked up, took his stance, swung his hips and lined the ball into the neighbor’s yard. He trotted around the imaginary diamond. 

It was Opening Day. The Magic was back.


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