Don’t get me wrong. I really love my job. But as that old saying about the worst day of fishing goes … even a bad day of baseball is better than a good day of working. Opening Day for Major League Baseball finally arrived yesterday, on a perfect blue-sky 68 degree day at Petco Park. And it was a good day of baseball.
I’m a big fan of the personal holiday. I’ve always enjoyed the tradition of taking my birthday off of work in grand fashion – a day when the banks are still open, mail is delivered, and the buses are running on schedule, but I get to carry around the secret knowledge that it is, in fact, a Very Special Day. As it turns out, however, I was born on the date that the World Health Organization designated as World Alzheimer’s Day, and now that I work in a community education capacity at a non-profit that serves people living with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s not really reasonable for me to take the day off for my own personal holiday anymore. So in recent years, Opening Day at Petco Park has become that day.
As soon as the date is announced, it’s on my calendar and the PTO request is in: a sacred date that my co-workers are willing to help me protect as we schedule spring programs and events. My office mates look the other way as I dust off my creepy collection of bobbleheads and put them back out on display. The neighbors turn a blind eye as I unfurl my long-neglected bunting and hang it on our condo’s balcony, a clear violation of the homeowner association’s regulations. Baseball is back, and that’s something to celebrate.
Especially this season, for fans of the San Diego Padres. For the first time in a generation, the lineup is filled with some big names and a lot of excitement. Petco is famous for pretty lethargic fans who seem to be out there just as much for the sunshine and beer as they are for the baseball, and for often having equal numbers of fans from the opposing team in the stands as hometown supporters. We are a city of transplants, and don’t have rich sports traditions. Also, our team has sucked for a long time.
But yesterday felt like a new day at Petco. The park was awash in Padre blue, the cheers were loud, and the field had an energy and athleticism that in my tenure as a season ticket holder I have rarely seen before. It was fun. (Oh, and we won.)
So the season is back upon us! If you’re headed to a game at Petco this year, let me know. We have seats in field level 114 for every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday home game, and about half of the Monday games. And we’re happy to move tickets and seats around if you’re coming, because baseball is always better with friends.