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Memories Of Opening Days Gone By

Baseball Opening Day never gets old for me.

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I’ve had the opportunity to be there in person for three Opening Days, but never a Seattle Mariners opener despite the many years I lived there.

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In 1999 I was at Dodger Stadium for the opener between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. It was Kevin Brown (overly priced, oft-injured) starting against Randy Johnson of the D-backs. Neither figured in the decision as L.A. came back to win with a walkoff homer by Raul Mondesi. It was pretty amazing.

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In 2008 I was in Pittsburgh for Opening Day at beautiful PNC Park. Temperatures in the high 70s, perfect weather and the only sellout crowd there would be all season, I was told. I spent more time walking around the park and snacking on famous Primanti Bros. sandwiches and admiring the views from the outfield decks and watching the afternoon turn into twilight than watching the game, which the Pirates won over the Cubs.

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Pittsburgh is lovely in the sunshine.

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The following year I was in Toronto for Blue Jays Opening Day at the Rogers Centre. Big domed stadium and thank goodness, it was raining and 36 degrees outside. I saw a few Mariners games in the Kingdome back in the day and this had a similar feel. Small concourses, dimmed lighting but the pregame ceremonies were good and the Jays won, so all were happy.

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There's an excitement in the air at Opening Day even if you are resigned to believing your team is going to have a bad season or if it is a perennial loser. It's a special day, and the first chance to see your hometown or favorite team toe the line (all 25 players and coaches and staff) and be introduced.