Today is a beautiful day.
(No, it’s not because someone is going to prank you at work or somewhere else with an April Fool’s Day joke. Those people are the best.)
Twenty-four Major League Baseball teams will throw the first pitch of their respective seasons on Monday — the annual tradition of Opening Day. It’s a return to a sports fan’s childhood, but it’s also a return to the ballpark after an offseason that seems to get longer every year.
For the Atlanta Braves, it’s a return to the glory days of the 1990s, because it’s postseason or bust.
Braves fans already know what happened in March — their team looked sharp. It’s not always accurate to base regular-season expectations on Spring Training, but the team’s marquee players hit the ball well against starting pitchers. It’s a promising sign for a squad that should be good considering all the money they spent on free agency in the offseason.
Tonight will be your first chance to see the Upton brothers in the Braves’ outfield, but it will also be the first chance to possibly see a young man named Evan Gattis behind the plate. Hopefully, we’ll get to see him at the plate as well, because he’s becoming something of a folk hero, before playing a single Major-League game, because of how far he hits the ball. There’s youth all over the field, but if there’s one true worry, it’s where the leadership will come from after the retirement of Chipper Jones.
However, today isn’t about worrying, even for the worst team in the league. Today is about hope, as is every Opening Day. If you’re going to the Ted tonight, enjoy the Rodney Atkins pre-game concert. Enjoy the sight of Chipper Jones throwing out the first pitch. But most of all, enjoy the rivalry that is Braves-Phillies. We only get to see it 18 times a year!
Keep your chopping hand strong.